River of Hope Enterprises

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Vist my new Blog page, Spilt Milk

Posted on 7 July, 2016 at 20:50 Comments comments (1)

There wasn't enough room here to continue writing blogs so I have moved the blog to a new space called on Word Press.  My blogging efforts are sporadic though there was a time when I blogged every week day for a year.  Please feel free to browse.  Some of the more recent blogs have to do with my new vocation as a spiritual director.  

Journey Group Invitation

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:40 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on July-15-14 4:17 PM

 Join me on a spiritual pilgrimage, an opportunity to explore your own life experience in a safe group with others who want to be listened to deeply and explore the deep journey of the soul.

As a student in the Ontario Jubilee Program, I am required to organize and lead a spiritual journey group as part of my first year of study. The “purpose of this group is to learn to listen deeply to one another, to ourselves, and to Divine Presence. Each participant in the journey group is invited to share from his/her spiritual journey – what is sacred and transformative in their life. Sharing ranges from how you experience and know Divine Presence over a lifetime or simply about life experience of the past few weeks or days.”

I am to choose three or four people I know who are on a spiritual journey and invite them to join the spiritual journey group to practice sharing and listening.

Ideally the group will meet, in person, for 1 ½ to 2 hours – about once a month – from September through May. Once we have found the group members we will agree on a suitable time and place to get together.

In a peaceful, quiet meeting space, we will gather around a centerpiece and maintain an atmosphere which is contemplative and spacious (no judgment – no hurry).

A structured and proven method of sharing, listening and offering feedback provides a rich experience of caring and exploration of our experience with the divine and with life.

As a group we will:

· Set a time line for the meeting

· Review guidelines which must include absolute confidentiality

· Each session one participant will be given opportunity to share their pilgrimage.

· Listeners will listen with honour and intensity, without judgment, advice or rescuing. They will have opportunity to offer reflection and insight and to share the affect of the other person’s story in light of their own experience.


The prayer of the Jubilee training and myself for this group is that, “… you remain open to surprise and tuned into your heart on this particular pilgrimage...”


Relevant or Ridiculed - Freedom of Speech

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:40 Comments comments (1)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on May-15-14 11:33 AM

Building a new business is proving to be an adventure in balance but perhaps the most difficult fulcrum so far is the one between the need to become relevant and the danger of being ridiculed.


That is a danger we experience every day in our private lives to some degree. “Will they like me if I say that? Will I be part of the group if I do that?

The issue with doing it in business is not only a social one but a financial one. If they don’t like my view they won’t want to do business with me. If they do like my views they might even recommend me to someone else.

In the past few weeks I have been warned by well -meaning friends to keep my politics to myself because it will be bad for business. It began when I took a stand for students at our local high school when they “bullied” into quitting their protest about the school closing.

Now when issues arise which make my blood boil, as that one did, I hesitate, wondering if I should say anything.

In my pursuit to develop some social media savvy and become “relevant” on the internet I spend many hours a week scouring sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. In these cyber travels there are many discussions and issues which are close to my heart. Some even provoke rather strong emotion and raise my blood pressure a bit.

One thing I try very hard to do is look at both sides of the question. A peacemaker at heart and a journalist by trade I want to be sure I understand all the angles and take into account all the opinions before I make a decision about an issue. Other times I just see purple and my opinion rushes out of my fingers on the key board like a tsunami. One thing I do know about myself is that I’m always willing to change my mind if the case is strong enough.

An issue about eagle’s nests being removed in lieu of wind turbines this week really got me cranked and once again I “blew off” about it before giving it much consideration. In retrospect and with more research I still believe my view is valid and right but should I say anything at all?

What is the cost of having political views when you are in business?

When my friend told me in the fall that it was bad publicity my immediate response was “Good or bad publicity is still publicity.” I still believe that to be true.

As a coach I am asked to remain neutral and I have a proven track record in this regard. It is something I have learned and have also taught others. When I cannot bear the opinion I find a way to pull myself out of the conversation and try very hard not to hurt or harm the person I am speaking to by discounting their beliefs. They have a right to their opinion and as a counselor or coach it is not place to change their mind. Rather, if their mind needs changing, it will be better accomplished when they arrive at their own conclusions.

I still believe in democracy and freedom of speech when it’s done properly.

I recall a journalism instructor explaining that freedom of speech is not about being able to say what you want to say, it is about everyone being allowed to have an opinion and to express it openly without fear of reprisal.

Freedom of speech is not writing anonymous letters in a newspaper. Freedom of speech is being able to write letters and have opinions with your name attached to them without worry that you will be discriminated against, shunned or black listed for having them.

As I write I find my own conclusion. In the spirit of freedom of speech I will continue to express my opinions when I believe they must be expressed and I will defend anyone else’s right to disagree with me. For the moment I will continue to respond with passion and commitment when something is happening which I believe needs to be addressed. That is who I am.


I would enjoy hearing your comments on this subject.

A New Journal

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:35 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on May-12-14 7:36 AM

I started a new journal today.


Not everyone enjoys journaling but it is something I have done almost every day since I was in college.


There are many ways to do a journal but I prefer the old fashioned "sit down with pen and write it" sort of journal.

When I get close to end of a journal I become almost anxious to start a new one and invariably leave a few empty pages at the end of the old one because I just can't wait any more.

Each time I begin a new one I wonder where I will be by the time the pages are full. What will be happening? How will my life have changed? Who will I have lost from my life? Will there be new people in my life? Will my career take turn?


Over the years I put journals aside because I could not bear to hold the things that were in them. There was too much pain. Other times I have put them aside because I was beginning something new and didn't want to cloud it with the old ways and worries. I have even put one aside for a while while I went on a journey that needed it's own journal and then picked it up again later to finish it off.

Today I begin again. Clean pages. New hope. Empty pages to fill with life.


If journaling is something that interests you stay tuned to this blog and to my website. It is a topic worth exploring.


The Great Egret

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:30 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on May-01-14 2:36 PM

Some days are just too full of wonder to say anything.

See the entire collection ofhttps://www.facebook.com/peggy.guilerdelahunt/media_set?set=a.10152346225590129.597200128&type=3" target="_blank"> Great Egret pictures we took today on my Facebook page.

How do you Listen

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:30 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on April-07-14 11:00 AM

Take a little survey about how you listen here or on Facebook


Which of the following do you believe is most important to how well you listen?


1. The words

2. The tone of voice

3. Body language and facial expression


An overwhelming number of people believe the words they speak are what is really important in communication but they are wrong.


1. Words represent only 7% of communication

2. Tone of voice equals 38% of the message

3. The body language - particularly facial expression - represents and overwhelming 55% of the message.


With this in mind is it little wonder that text messages are so often misunderstood and even that telephone conversations are often very difficult. In a text you are missing 93% of the message and in a phone call you only have the benefit of 45% of the communication.


Three cheers for the inventors of Skype who managed to marry electronics and the total communication package.


The best listeners are those who listen to the whole package. The best conversations we have are those which involve all our methods of speaking.


Most of us (with the exception of those who are autistic) are very aware of body language. The recognition of it is mastered by the age of six months. It is the single most important element of how we communicate to one another.


You are an expert in body language already. Pay attention to what it communicates to you and about you today.

The Open Ended Question

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:25 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on April-03-14 3:10 PM

Sixth in the Series on "Listening"

Learning to ask open ended questions may be one the greatest lessons to learn about communication. It gets more than grunts out of men and teenagers on most occasions and is a sure way to make people think you are smart. (They always think you are smart when you are talking about their favourite topic, themselves).


Asking open questions is a method taught to journalism students and lawyers for use when they need more information on a subject. It is a method which requires true listening so be sure you are ready to listen to someone if you ask open ended questions.

Question: “Do you know how to ask an open ended question?”

Answer: “No.”

Question: Can you explain what an open ended question is?

Answer: “Maybe”

Question: “Explain what an open ended question is.”

Answer: “An open ended question is a question which has to be answered in a sentence or phrase rather than just a one word or short phase answer.”

That’s it!

If you want to find out what your child did at school today you may say, “What happened at school today?” The usual response for anyone under 21 is, “Nothing.”


If you were to ask a more open question it might be, “Tell me about the things you did at school today.”

My mother actually taught me this method because she used it to find out what her kindergarten students pictures were about. When she asked, “Is that your father in the picture?” she might get a simple, “No.” If she said instead, “Tell me about your picture,” she would get a whole history of the family or discover that the picture is actually supposed to be of the tree outside the window.


Learning how to ask the right questions to a kindergarten student can be an open window to their life and can also spare teachers from being yelled at when they are way off base with their idea of what a picture is.

If you are trying to sell something to a customer and you say, “May I help you?” the response is likely to be, “No.” If you really want to engage with that customer and help find what they are looking for you might rather say, “Please tell me what you are looking for and I will see if I can help you find it.”


If you work at McDonald’s and you say, “Do you want fries with that?” it is because you don’t want to engage with customer. All you want is a one word answer. A McDonald’s customer could be in line all day if the cashier said, “Explain your reason for wanting or not wanting fries with that.”

So you are catching on aren’t you? Oops. Wrong again.

Now please explain to me what an open ended question is.

“Why” and “How” are good ways to begin an open ended question although you still have to be careful about wording.


“Why are you asking open ended questions?” could evoke, “Because I can,” which is not much of an answer but most people will find themselves opening to a question like that and perhaps explain, “Because asking closed questions doesn't encourage conversation.”

The open ended question doesn't make presumptions but allows the person to give thought and substance to their answer.

One of the most annoying closed questions people ask is, “How are you today?”

The reason this is annoying is not just because it is closed but because, in our society, it has come to imply the answer, “Fine.” If you really want to find out how someone is try something different. This could include things like, “How was your day after you left here this morning?”, or “What has been going on your life since I saw you last?” Asking "pat" questions gets "pat" answers. Working at changing your usual questions will get you much more interesting answers.

Closed questions are like multiple choice questions on a test. The better method, if you want to have meaningful dialogue is learning how to ask the questions which get the essay answers.

I promise it will, open doors, enrich your life and your relationships if you learn to do it well.


Wiki has a great explanation of open ended questions at: http://www.wikihow.com/Ask-Open-Ended-Questions

Don’t miss the video: it’s Hilary-ous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x90A9sd-c8k


An excellent list of open questions to help you get your head around the idea can be found at: http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/fd/Open%20Ended%20Questions.htm

10 Things to Change if you want to be a good listener.

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:10 Comments comments (0)

Posted on March-31-14 6:32 PM

5th in the Series on Listening


Most of us believe we are listening to people when they speak to us but if listening falls short in any of these 10 ways consider improving the skill.


Rate yourself with a simple 1 to 4 (4 being best) on the items below and come back to it from time to see how you are doing. I am reminded of something I need to work on every time I look at these.


When I listen I...


  1. Make premature decisions - If you have already decided what is going to be said you may not be listening. The old adage about ASSUME holds true. " It makes an ASS of of U and ME," but mostly you. (1 2 3 4)
  2. Pretend to hear - The classic examples of this are the man with the newspaper around his face saying, "Uh Uh" to his family or the Mom doing dishes while the child tugs at her clothes. If you can't take a moment to really hear what someone is saying perhaps you would consider telling them you can't or just take a few seconds and really listen. As discussed in a previous blog, listening is a sacred art. (1 2 3 4)
  3. Easily get distracted - Everyone has distractions but noticing you are distracted and doing something about it is essential to good listening. Perhaps you are waiting for someone and when footsteps come down the hall you listen to them rather than the person in front of you. A simple acknowledgement would help. Just say to the person with you that you are waiting for someone and that they can either stay and talk or you could talk to them later when you are less distracted. Perhaps you are more interested in the birds outside the window than the conversation in front of you. Be courteous enough to say that you just can't listen right now or ask them to watch with you for a minute. Then you can go back to your conversation. (1 2 3 4)
  4. Get bothered with people’s peculiarities - It drives me around the bend when someone chews gum when they are talking to me. I have choices: learn to bear it and listen anyway, ask them to stop chewing so I can listen, or say that I can't listen to them right now. (1 2 3 4)
  5. Write as I listen. - Note taking is very distracting to the person being listened to and even to the listener. If you are a scribe it 's not an issue but most of us are just listeners. In a classroom situation it is expected but consider you may not actually be listening to the words if you are trying to write them down. Doodling might be more productive to your listening. When you listen one on one, consider asking permission to take a few notes because it will help you remember things without interrupting. This is a technique used in coaching. (1 2 3 4)
  6. Avoid difficulties - There are some things people just don't want to hear. Maybe you have trouble listening to the same story over and over from someone who is in a rut. Maybe you have had some trauma in your life and hearing about similar experience is very difficult for you. Find a way to deal with it. Acknowledge your lack of ability to listen and ask them to find someone else who can be a more helpful listener. Perhaps you can develop the skill of listening in the moment and put your own baggage on hold. (1 2 3 4)
  7. React to offensive language - The short answer, if you really want to show people you care is, "Get over it." If there are rules in your location about language it's OK to say some language is inappropriate. If not try to take it in stride. Some people just talk that way. They are not trying to offend or shock you so don't be offended or shocked. If you listen with an open and caring heart the language will eventually begin to fall away. When you respond, you will speak the way you like to be spoken to and they will begin to adapt to your style. If you are a grammar nut and cringe when someone says, "I seen it," you might want to swallow your pride and just listen. (1 2 3 4)
  8. Prejudge - Judgement is a gift we have been given as humans. It helps us determine danger and make good decisions. It can also be an enemy to us when we use it to evaluate things that we really don't need to know about. In the training I do we play a game called "I see - I assume". For example when you see some one has a wedding ring you assume they are married. If you are trying to "hit" on them that might keep you from being embarrassed. If you are trying to make conversation you might want to ask about their family. If you see someone wearing dirty clothes you might assume they didn't care enough to dress properly. You may not be know they were splashed by a bus on their way in to visit you. If someone is of a race you have heard bad things about you may lose the opportunity to have a great friend because you couldn't hear past the colour of their skin. (1 2 3 4)
  9. Want only the facts- Listen to hearts not facts. What, for example, is more important about the party your friend went to? Does it matter who and how many were there or is it more important to find out if they had a good time and what made it good or bad for them? (1 2 3 4)
  10. Wander in the conversation. This is similar to distraction but just a bit different. This is when you find yourself actually moving the conversation in a different direction. They may be talking about a bad day and you suddenly go off into a different line and talk about Mary's birthday party. (1 2 3 4)



Underlying in all of these issues is the basic commitment to listening. If we are not committed to a conversation we waste everyone's time and are devaluing the person we are listening to.


Take time to really listen. It will have great rewards.


Training available - If you are interested in becoming a better listener or having your staff become better listeners River of Hope Enterprises offers a course in listening. The training is usually offered in a six hour training, which can be broken into segments of given all in one day. The material is easily adaptable to different venues of service. Please inquire about rates and availability.



Eternal Sound Waves

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:10 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-27-14 10:42 PM

Everything I've said

is floating around in space

one word

can be heard

years later

out of place

like a ghostly notion

of someone

whispering my name.

by: Jackie (with permission)



Discussing what I might write in this blog over dinner, some friends and I came upon a notion that sound waves are eternal.


When a word is spoken it travels to eternity on a never ending wave. It may not be true but this old fable warms my heart. The idea of the prayers whispered by those who have loved me continuing to resound in the ears of a hearing and loving God reassures me. It causes me to wonder, if I listened deeply, carefully, would I still hear their love for me.


The down side is that hurtful and harmful words full of anger and hate, spoken by myself and generations of others, also float in that same space. If so, can those vile things still be heard by the innocent and hurt those who do hear deeply.


Perhaps in a perfect economy of sound the good words spoken would have more power than the bad ones. Maybe by some Peter Pan spell we could eliminate the bad and bring new life to the good by saying, "I do believe in magic."


True or not the notion makes me think we all need to be much more careful about what we say. Even if the waves do not go on for ever the words we speak have an eternal effect on the ears and hearts of those who hear them.


With special thanks to Barb, Cindy and Jackie

Listening - A Spiritual Experience

Posted on 21 April, 2016 at 0:05 Comments comments (0)

Peggy Guiler: Posted on March-24-14 8:07 PM

Third in a Series on Listening


"...listening is a sacred act...beyond technique when two or more people are deeply listening to each other...not only are we present to each other, we are present to something that is spiritual, holy, sacred."

Kay Lindahl, Founder of The Listening Center in her book, The Sacred Art of Listening


Consider for a moment that when someone speaks to you they are giving to you a part of their spirit. Their life is in their words. Their heart is feeling something or experiencing something they want to share with you, or need to share with you.


If you think of listening as a sacred response to a sacred gift how affect the way you listen?


Let's talk about it. Comment below.