Week 1: Am I listening?
Listen with an open mind and open heart. Be soft ground.
Matthew 13: 1-9
The foundation of good communication is listening, focusing really trying to understand someone, instead of simply listening to respond. Like the parable of “seeds and good ground”, we can practice being soft ground for each other and our words. The best parts of their ideas have a chance to take root and bloom and we can better support and connect with those in our lives.
Week 2: Is it true?
Question your stressful thoughts and find your truth. Sell the junk; buy the pearl.
Taking the time to question a difficult thought, asking, “Is this really true?” can have a great impact in alleviating conflict. This simple act of humility can remind us that we only see one side of things. As our defenses drop, our heart softens and our mind has a chance to open to new perspectives and new possibilities, like discovering a “pearl of great value”.
Week 3: Is it kind?
Identify your feelings and come from love. Keep oil in your lamp.
Truth can’t act alone. When it’s time to speak, the kindness in our tone of our voice and the warmth in our expression can make all the difference. This week asks us to pay attention to the intention and feelings beneath our words. By noticing our intentions and feelings, we have a greater ability to tap into love, like gathering lamp oil to illuminate our way in darkness.
Week 4: Is it useful?
Identify boundaries and make requests. Maintain your vineyard.
Great relationships are built on usefulness – on a desire to do good for each other, and make each other’s lives better. We may have something to say that feels true, and we may be able to express it in a kind way. Asking “Is it useful?” can ensure that our words will contribute to healing and growth within our “vineyard” (our life, home and personal space we invite others into).
Week 5: Am I willing?
When you’re ready, come to the feast! All are welcome.
Willingness means we embrace the challenge because we know what we value. No one is forcing us. We are not obligated; we simply know the value of warmth and authenticity in our relationships. This willingness of heart makes us open and receptive in our communication and boundaries with others.
Like the parable of the banquet, we are each invited to celebrate the wonderful relationships we have in our lives.