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An Open Heart January 10, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.

I’m reading An Open Heart ~ Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama.

Just looking at his smiling face on the cover makes me smile.

Smiles are contagious.

Make it a point to share your smile with the world at every opportunity.

Doing so creates ripples of positive energy, benefitting both sender and recipient.

What a simple and effective way to make a difference to those around us.

Another easy way to spread loving kindness and compassion?


The first duty of love is to listen. 

Listen to others and let them know they have been heard.

Taking the best within us and sharing it with others benefits everyone. Nothing is too frivolous if it stems from loving kindness and compassion.

Making others feel good is NEVER a waste of time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  So?  What Exactly Do You Admire? (Creating Reciprocity) * Problem Solved.  Path Revealed.  (Creating Reciprocity) * Please, Show Me You’re Listening . . . With Your Eyes (Pocket Perspectives)


1. Andra Watkins - January 10, 2012

The first duty of love is to listen. I love it. So true.

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

Thanks, Andra. When I ran a domestic violence program, I spent a fair amount of time with a victim of abuse one day . . . exploring options with her, but not finding any viable solutions to her untenable situation.

At the conclusion of the conversation, she thanked me. Frustrated, I replied, “What for? I was unable to help you find a solution.”

“That doesn’t matter. I feel better just because YOU listened to ME. No one has listened to me in some time.”

2. Pocket Perspectives - January 10, 2012

Nancy…This is a wonderful post! So many terrific insights and ideas!
: ) I just used your/those ideas in school today..to explain to a teacher’s aide how I’d like her to show the kids that she is enjoying them…to let them see a twinkle in her eyes, happiness and presence in her face and voice… and to let the kids see that she enjoys and appreciates them…and how much they need to see that from her. What a simple way that was to explain that shift that I hoped for..and I think it helped…so thank you so much for pointing that out! so simple and so powerful… : ) I’ve heard it said by a friend who has spent a lot of time with the DalaiLama that he absolutely oozes love…you can see that from the photo on the cover of that book.

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

I agree . . . the Dalai Lama radiates Joy, Peace, Love, Kindness, and Compassion. What a legacy to leave!

So glad that you encouraged the teacher’s aide to show the kids how much she appreciates them! 😀

3. Jackie L. Robinson - January 10, 2012

Yes, that does feel better. Your posts are really growing on me, Nancy. I look forward to seeing what you’ll have to say each day. xo

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

Thanks, Jackie. Normally, I post a bit earlier. Today, I took advantage of the lovely weather to bike, walk, swim, and read on the deck. As a result, writing got put on hold.

4. walterwsmith3rd - January 10, 2012

I just love the writings of the Dalai Lama. He is definitely my inspiration.

nrhatch - January 10, 2012
5. creatingreciprocity - January 10, 2012

Listening is so important. Not being listened to is like being non-existent. Thanks, Nancy.

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

When we feel that we have been fully heard . . . we’ve received a GIFT of ATTENTION.

And the message is that WE MATTER.

When I talk with young children, I get down on THEIR LEVEL and really LISTEN to what they have to say. It’s usually both precious and priceless.

6. suzicate - January 10, 2012

Thank you for this lovely post today…I’m trying to learn to talk less and listen more.

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

When we take the pressure off ourselves to have an instanteous response, we can LISTEN without formulating OUR next thought.

When they finish, we use the PAUSE to decide whether and how to respond. As a result, our comments are more THOUGHTFUL and RELEVANT . . . making them feel HEARD.

And we develop PATIENCE with ourselves and with others as a bonus of not always rushing on to the next thought and the next and the next . . .

Like all valuable skils . . . LISTENING is hard work that takes LOTS and LOTS of practice and patience. But it’s worth it!

7. libraryscenes - January 10, 2012

Lovely reminders, Nancy. I had the honor of seeing the Dalai Lama two years ago. It was an amazing experience…the energy, the smiles; truly that room could have powered a small country with its positivity! I get a shiver (in good way) just remembering. Namaste ~

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

Oh, how wonderful!

And how fantastic that the good thoughts, good feelings, and good vibrations have not dissipated over time . . . you are still able to tap into that positive energy he and other attendees emanated because it became a part of YOU.

8. Pocket Perspectives - January 10, 2012

Nancy…I got brave and pulled together a post that I’ve been trying to figure out for several months… I’d like to link your post at the end of it…it’s part of what you’re writing about here…about another perspective on “listening”…with the eyes

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

Absolutely. Link away!

I was just headed around to comment on it.

9. Carl D'Agostino - January 10, 2012

I had open heart in Mar 2006. No picnic. But feel 15 years younger.

nrhatch - January 10, 2012

I HEAR you, Carl! 😉

Glad that the doctors knew what they were doing.

10. Tammy - January 10, 2012

What’s also great is that you can talk to someone while smiling and they can hear the smile in your voice. It’s an age old call center trick but it works.

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

If you have an outgoing message on your answering machine, try laughing about something BEFORE recording the message to get the positive endorphins flowing. Then record a light-hearted greeting for callers to hear.

Positive endorphins from mirth enhance our outgoing messages.

11. Please, show me you’re “listening”…with your eyes | Pocket Perspectives - January 10, 2012

[…] to a wonderful post by Nancy Hatch on Spirit Lights the Way… “An Open Heart” (I can’t seem to add the link…I’ll put it in the comments area…it’s […]

12. souldipper - January 10, 2012

One of the greatest displays of love is listening. Imagine a face as sincere as that listening deeply with such a smile. Looks like a very good book, Nancy.

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

My great aunt Edie had a face like that . . . she really LISTENED. And SMILED. She exuded loving kindness and compassion. Being with her was like being in a warm embrace.

The book is a fascinating look at three sacred Buddhist texts:

Eight Verses on Training the Mind
Stages of Meditation
The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas

13. Booksphotographsandartwork - January 11, 2012


nrhatch - January 11, 2012

I see your 🙂 and return the kindness. 😀

14. viviankirkfield - January 11, 2012

Thank you for the wonderful post, Nancy.
When we think of communication, people often mistakenly think it is the art of talking…but instead, it is the art of listening…which needs to be done with patience and compassion.
I did a PTA program last night on developing a positive self-image and one of the key points was listening with respect and attention when our children speak to us…they will certainly return the favor. 🙂

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Awesome, awesome, awesome! If we listen with respect and attention to children, they learn to listen with respect and attention to each others.

What a great way to encourage harmony and promote a positive self-image!

15. Tilly Bud - January 11, 2012

I wholeheartedly agree with that last line. So long as we are sincere and not manipulative.

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Indeed. Unleashing an endless flow of loving kindness and compassion from the heart is the aim . . . not “sucking up” to people to benefit ourselves. 😛

16. ceceliafutch - January 11, 2012

Such a lovely, heart-warming post. While I am very familiar with the Dalai Lama through what others write about him, or quotes attributed to him, I’ve not actually read any of his writings. I think I must do that. Thank you.

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Thanks, Cecelia. My favorite (so far) is The Art of Happiness (links above). Also . . . there is a link on my blog roll to the Dalai Lama’s website. It’s with the links on Happiness.

An Open Heart is a fascinating glimpse at deepening spiritual practice within Buddhism to expand and practice compassion in everyday life.

17. Cat Forsley - January 11, 2012
nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Thanks, Cat! More and more, I’m striving on Spirit Lights The Way to share the light of loving kindness and compassion . . . with An Open Heart.

Namaste. _/!\_

Cat Forsley - January 12, 2012

And an Open heart is the most beautiful thing in the world – at least in my eyes . 🙂 It holds no mind – if that makes sense !!!! much love and
Cat xx

nrhatch - January 12, 2012

Here’s to unleasing our Peace, Love, Passion, Joy, and FUN on the world. Light on!

18. adeeyoyo - January 11, 2012

What a lovely person he is!

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

He IS!

19. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - January 11, 2012

That’s a really nice sentiment, that last sentence.

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Thanks, Greg. We have many opportunities to spread caring warmth as we move through our days.

Doing so is never a waste of time.

20. Team Oyeniyi - January 11, 2012

The first duty of love is to listen. Could not agree more! We know this from practical experience. We don’t always manage, but we try. We know if we don’t listen, we risk to many misunderstandings. Perhaps that is why we are good at it, because we know the risk….

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Some people excel at listening. Others, perhaps due to impatience, listen with only half an ear.

I’m glad you’re listening. It’s the most effective way to improve communication.

21. sufilight - January 11, 2012

Oprah has often shared that she learned long ago that everyone wants to be heard, and how true. And a smile is very connecting, relaxes the space between people. 🙂 Enjoyed reading this!

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

Smiles invite connection and communion. The shortest distance between two people is a SMILE! 😀

22. Life in the Boomer Lane - January 11, 2012

You’ve struck a real chord with people, Nancy!

nrhatch - January 11, 2012

It’s lovely when our words resonate, isn’t it?

23. johnell74 - January 12, 2012

Oh ! How true that the first duty of love is to listen, Nancy.
And to give one another space to live.
Thank you for this post.

nrhatch - January 12, 2012

Enjoy listening to those around you, John. When Kate shares peeks with us . . . I always frind the flowing conversation with Felix and Maddie and Al to be fascinating.

johnell74 - January 12, 2012

I am so fortunate to share these conversations with my childrens’ families, Nancy. I am currently building a crystal set with Felix. Fascinating to see his mind expand. And Maddie has her mother’s (and father’s) way with words.

I could go on……


nrhatch - January 12, 2012

You are very fortunate to live so close to one another.

Our family is so spread out (2000 miles between me and my younger brother’s family), that we rarely all get together to LISTEN in person.

24. bluebee - January 12, 2012

And make sure it shows in the eyes – the DL’s crinkly eyes are the essence of that disarming smile. Lovely post, Nancy 😀

nrhatch - January 12, 2012

A pasted on smile that doesn’t reach the eyes seems far less sincere than the hint of a grin . . . accompanied by eyes twinkling with merriment. The DL rocks!

25. bluebee - January 12, 2012

have no idea what autocorrect just did to my last comment… %-/

nrhatch - January 12, 2012

That was a bit bizarre. Fixed now.

One more example of why computers are NOT fit to rule the world . . . inadequate discernment. 😛

26. sweetdaysundertheoaks - January 12, 2012

Nancy I like to listen but I am told I am one of those annoying interrupting people. Beware. It’s just that when I have a question, I can’t wait 😉 I am ALWAYS working on it! Smiling, no worries 🙂

nrhatch - January 12, 2012

When I get excited about where a conversation is going . . . I interrupt too. 😉

27. spilledinkguy - January 12, 2012

He does have an incredible smile, doesn’t he!
So warm!

nrhatch - January 12, 2012

He looks like he’s just remembered a delightful joke . . . and can’t wait to share it with US. 😀

28. eof737 - January 13, 2012

You are right… I smiled when i looked at the picture of the Dalai Lama.
A smile is a blessing to us and others. 🙂

nrhatch - January 13, 2012

It’s a wonderful way to connect! 😀

29. Julie - January 18, 2012

The Dalai Lama’s smile reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s. Must be a special trait of great spiritual teachers. His laugh is also infectious and as gorgeous of a sound as I’ve ever heard.

nrhatch - January 18, 2012

I agree . . . it touches my heart! 😀

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