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Deb Hensley: The Big Us

The Big Listen

Posted on March 27, 2012 with 0 comments
Today I am not dashing off anywhere again. I've been not dashing more regularly than usual. I have been trying to givie myself more time for staring out windows and painting what passes for an art journal these days (a watercolor sketch pad) and thinking about my past, present and future. Not necessarily in that order. And writing things down as they occur to me. But here's the hardest thing of all--HARD HARD HARD: Listening. All by myself listening. Oh it’s so hard. I think it's harder than giving birth, or being lonely, which is also hard but in a good-bread kind of way. Harder than frozen groves of mud in my mile long driveway. Harder than missing my grandchildren because I don't live nearby. Harder than missing my mother, whom I still miss a lot.
The listening thing. That's the REAL hard work. I did it for about 5 minutes a few days ago. I mean REALLY did it. The 5 min was all I could manage honestly, before the flood of lists and people, old resentments, fears, wonderings [...]
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The Big US

Posted on November 14, 2011 with 0 comments

I recently read David Brooks' work "The Social Animal" in which he discusses the body of research around what makes people happy.  A control group of elderly people near the end of life were asked this question: “What was the happiest day of your life?
Interestingly, what the research found was that for many of these folks, the happiest day of their life had absolutely nothing to do with them. In fact, for one person, followed closely throughout the book, the happiest day of his life was the day his wife received a special recognition award in 5th grade. THAT, he told them beaming…was his happiest day. It was not about him. He wasn’t even there. He didn’t even KNOW his wife then. But at 90 years old, THAT was the happiest day of his life.
That story touches me because of the collective oneness of joy it stands for…the utterly un-selfed joy it is possible to feel about another’s particular happiness and achievement, [...]
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