Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

Monk to share listening lessons with lawyers and other professionals

ST. PETERSBURG

A monk will teach the art of listening during a visit today to St. Petersburg. Brother Curtis Almquist of the Society of St. John the Evangelist is visiting at the invitation of the St. Petersburg Bar Association.

Lucas Fleming, a lawyer, attests that Almquist practices what he preaches.

"I have been amazed over the years (and it has been 15 that I have known Curtis) at how well Curtis remembers conversations we had 10 years ago," Fleming, who is running unopposed to be the bar association's next president, said in an email. "It really confirms for me that my time with Curtis is time that he takes seriously. Imagine if every client felt that way when they left our offices?"

Besides lawyers, Almquist, who has been a monk for 25 years, also works with students, psychiatrists, psychologists, business professionals, teachers and clergy.

The self-described 1970s radical worked in international development and was a parish priest before joining the small Episcopal order, which has a monastery near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., and another, Emery House, in West Newbury, Mass.

This week Almquist answered a few questions about himself and the art of listening.

How has your vocation prepared you to teach others about deep listening?

Monks have sometimes been called "professional listeners." Monks live under a vow of "obedience," which comes from the Latin, obaudire, to listen deeply. The monastic "default" is silence, not because there's nothing to say, but because there's so much to be heard if we listen deeply. Listening is a learnable skill.

Do you spend a certain amount of time daily in prayer and contemplation?

Yes, daily. We have a daily cadence of corporate prayer and worship; however the real quest is to learn to "pray our lives," that is, to practice God's presence, not just when we worship, but as we work and walk, talk and listen.

Is there a spiritual element to being a good listener?

Live in the "now." Be really present to life — not the life you once had, or think you could or should have, but life on life's terms, now.

Do our ubiquitous technological devices hinder good listening? Is there a solution?

There's the seduction to be "virtually present" in all kinds of places and platforms and thereby miss being really present in the moment. The presumed ability to "multitask" is greatly overrated; meanwhile you miss the real deal of life. Doing one thing at a time — at least some of the time — will help defrag your soul. Presuming that you must be available to others 24/7 is an invitation to get lost. Putting boundaries around your availability to your own self and your availability to others is crucial. You're worth it!

Are you paid for your work and does that conflict with your vow of poverty?

No, I do not receive any personal income.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother is going viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Updated: 14 minutes ago

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

Lane closures at Interstate 75 and State Road 50 start Sunday

BROOKSVILLE — State transportation officials announced a series of potential road closures related to the Interstate 75 and State Road 50 widening and construction project for the next week beginning Sunday.They include:e_SBlt One lane of I-75 in eac...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
In tree-loving Davis Islands, residents bring new life to where a grand oak fell

In tree-loving Davis Islands, residents bring new life to where a grand oak fell

TAMPA — The people of Davis Islands lost a dear friend to Hurricane Irma in September — a grand oak tree that had resided at the Suwanee Circle median for as long as many residents could remember.To commemorate Florida’s celebration of Arbor Day on F...
Updated: 1 hour ago
See how bus rapid transit would work in Tampa Bay

See how bus rapid transit would work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The next, best hope for bringing mass transit to the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel, attract 4,500 new riders and cost about half as much as a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

CLEARWATER — From the moment the title character takes center stage, Mike Hammer — Encore for Murder is sold. Rarely does one actor own an entire production the way Gary Sandy owns this world premiere, and it’s a pleasure at watch, in large measure t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Hogs are coming to MacDill

The Hogs are coming to MacDill

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying Hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

Tampa Bay schools warn parents about flu activity, dangers

The Florida Department of Health has reported a sharp increase in flu activity in the last several weeks, prompting area schools to send out letters warning parents about the virus. At least two districts, however, say that flu activity in their scho...
Updated: 2 hours ago