Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair Where they have left not one stone on a stone, But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there. I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each. And some are loaves and some so nearly balls We have to use a spell to make them balance: ‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’ We wear our fingers rough with handling them. Oh, just another kind of out-door game, One on a side. It comes to little more: There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him, But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather He said it for himself. I see him there Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. He moves in darkness as it seems to me, Not of woods only and the shade of trees. He will not go behind his father’s saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Yay! It’s finally Friday. (Did you know my favorite day is actually Thursday?) Anyhoo, I’ve got some favorites podcasts and books to share with you!
My favorite new podcast: Wildly Aligned Podcast with Natalie Brite. Thanks to my friend Britt for sharing a post on Instagram with Natalie’s positive voice. I’ve listened to this episode twice and am going to listen a few times more.
Do you ever get into a funk (aka depression) and just need to renew your mind? Yeah I was in one for two solid weeks and was wondering if I was going to be able to pull myself out or if it finally was time for meds.
Then I listened to this podcast and it was like the clouds parted, angelic choirs sang overhead, and I saw the light. It was as if my whole being was saying a big “Yes!” to every word.
Beyond Aromatics Podcast by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy or NAHA (of which I am a member). On this episode, Tiffany Carole shared about AromaPoint Therapy, which she developed, in which different diluted essential oils are placed on specific energy points on the body. She shares three points where anyone can apply the recommended oils. I applied diluted Bergamot to the Shen Men point on my ears and actually felt a calm release about 10 minutes later. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Visual Marketing With Tailwind is a podcast mostly devoted to Pinterest. Until a few months ago, I was barely using Pinterest and hardly ever for business. Then I started a marketing course and the instructor drilled into us that Pinterest was more important than Facebook or Instagram, and indeed, reminded us that Pinterest wasn’t actually a social media platform–it’s a search engine.
So, I started using Tailwind, which is an app which lets you schedule pins for a month or two at a time. And my views went from 1K-31K in 3 months. You better believe I want to know all I can about how to use Pinterest to get traffic to my website and Etsy shop! This episode is one of many that will provide useful info for those who want to grow a following and get more traffic to their site/blog/shop.
It’s been too long! With all the other things I’m juggling (Ayurveda classes, aromatherapy classes, Etsy, website, blog, social, our music duo) I haven’t been keeping up with telling you what I’ve been reading and loving. But here are a few (I’m currently at 103 books read for the year, so I’m breaking a personal record.)
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbie Waxman was the most light-hearted book I read this year so far! If you like to read about people who love books, this one’s for you.
Nina is a quirky, introverted twentysomething who lives in L.A., works at a bookshop, discovers a family she never knew she had, and meets a very promising man.
The author’s way with words is clever and unusual–no cliches here. And there are parts that made me laugh out loud, which is not something that happens often. (Unless I’m reading David Sedaris.)
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is my top pick out of all the books I read this year. I listened to the audio version read by Juliet Stevenson and I absolutely recommend you read it this way.
The story: one cold Winter Solstice night, a man appears in the doorway of The Swan, an inn on the Thames. In his arms he holds a small girl and nobody knows where she came from.
Three different stories unfold that include a missing child. Which family does the girl belong to? Or is she someone else entirely? And what did happen to those other children? Exquisitely written, woven with mystery, magic, and myth, this book will enchant you.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware was the scariest book I read this year. Here are some of the scary bits: a nanny alone in a house with children who hate her, the house is in the Highlands of Scotland, the house is also a “smart” house so everything from lights, to the refrigerator, to music is controlled by an app and is under constant surveillance from the parents who are away on business. Oh, and there are malicious, ghostly happenings that are directed at the nanny, as they were at her predecessors.
OK, I’m a wimp and don’t read horror, but this came close. I had to read this during daylight hours with people around. So if you like thrillers, this one is for you!
An open door says, “Come in.” A shut door says, “Who are you?” Shadows and ghosts go through shut doors. If a door is shut and you want it shut, why open it? If a door is open and you want it open, why shut it? Doors forget but only doors know what it is doors forget.
The scent of burning wood holds the strongest memory. Mesquite, cedar, piñon, juniper, all are distinct. Mesquite is dry desert air and mild winter. Cedar and piñon are colder places. Winter air in our hair is pulled away, and scent of smoke settles in its place. We walk around the rest of the day with the aroma resting on our shoulders. The sweet smell holds the strongest memory. We stand around the fire. The sound of the crackle of wood and spark is ephemeral. Smoke, like memories, permeates our hair, our clothing, our layers of skin. The smoke travels deep to the seat of memory. We walk away from the fire; no matter how far we walk, we carry this scent with us. New York City, France, Germany— we catch the scent of burning wood; we are brought home.
If there was ever a book that was written for our time, You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Mattersby Kate Murphy is one. It brings to light the modern epidemic of short attention spans and our lack of listening skills, shares why we need to be listening, and offers ideas on how to listen better.
Truth: I am not as good a listener as I thought I was. Sometimes I think about my to-do list when I should be listening. I’ve occasionally texted while someone was talking to me–something I swore I’d never do. There are times I finish my husband’s sentence, thinking I’m helping. I’ve interrupted and talked over the top of him or my kids.
All of this bad behavior has come on gradually, and although I wouldn’t blame my smartphone, I have definitely gotten worse since I started using one.
But I don’t want to be this person and I’m sure you don’t either. I want to show people kindness and courtesy by giving them my undivided attention, not to check out mentally if they meander or take longer than expected to answer a question. The good news is that listening is an art that can be improved upon with practice, just like any other skill.
One of the first things I learned in this book is that when two people are engaged in healthy conversation their brain waves sync up. And that this requires empathy which you learn or don’t learn in the first year of your life, based on how well your caregivers paid attention to your needs. Even if you didn’t experience this kind of attention as a child and develop good listening skills, you can acquire the ability to listen through deliberate practice later in life.
Another thing I learned is that if someone is boring you in a conversation, it’s most likely your fault for acting disinterested, or for assuming you already know what they’re going to say. If you approach every interaction with another person with curiosity, as an opportunity to learn something new, you will be surprised by what people tell you, and how interesting they can be.
One subject that is especially relevant in today’s polarized political climate is in the chapter on “Listening to Opposing Views”. The author writes that when we hear someone talk about something which we disagree on, our natural response is to get defensive because our brains experience this as we would a physical threat. But by working through that instinct and actually listening to the person with another view, we will expand our understanding.
We may never agree, but we can “embrace the possibility that there might be multiple truths” (p. 88), and that another point of view is just as legitimate as our own. Don’t we all need to grow in this area?
I think the other chapter where my eyes were opened to my lack of listening skills was in the chapter entitled “Supporting, not Shifting, The Conversation”.
I learned that a support response is one “which encourages elaboration from the speaker to help the respondent gain greater understanding” (p. 137) which is pretty rare. Most of us take a shift response “which directs attention away from the speaker and toward the respondent” (p. 137).
So, for example, if your friend tells you about something that happened to him, you can either ask him another question about it to get him to elaborate further (support response) or you can say something like “Yeah, I had that happen to me…blah, blah, blah,” (shift response) and put all the attention on you.
One of my favorite lines is “Listening is about the experience of being experienced” (p.32). Listening is about connection, which, as humans, we all crave and need. Connection banishes loneliness and gives our lives a greater sense of purpose.