February 17, 2013
This week was filled with flowers, hearts and chocolate for all of the special Valentines out there. It was also the beginning of Lent, a thought provoking forty days as we prepare for the celebration of Easter Sunday. The word for this week is Listen.
Listen is a big deal word for me. It is not only the word of the week, but it is my word of the year for 2013. For many years I have selected one word that would be my “go to” word to ponder and intentionally apply each day. Listening, truly listening, does not come easily. It is a skill which needs constant honing. In our complicated world of continual distraction it is a challenge to just listen. Even in a cocoon of enveloped silence the “to do” lists, the “should haves”, the “what ifs” swirl around in our heads. We need to listen with deep and focused concentration.
Listening can involve the different senses: you can listen with your eyes as you observe, or with a tender touch to an aching soul. You can even listen as you drink in the fragrance of a sweet rose, or inhale your mother’s favorite perfume hearing echoes of the past. Listening puts all of the other senses “on call”. It sets the stage for a shared encounter, a coming together of heart and soul.
As we listen to a friend, a child, a spouse, or even a stranger we need to empty our own egos enabling us to fill with compassion, understanding and unbroken attention.
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Karl Menninger.
We should also be aware of the energy we exude… what our “body language” is telling others. Sometimes we are so immersed in whatever it is we’re going to say next, we miss the point of what is being said to us. I’m a great “fill-in-the-blanker”… if someone takes a breath between words I jump in there and fill that gap with whatever brilliant word I think is best… not allowing those in between silences. Although from my perspective I’m trying to show how attentive I am, it’s really neither kind or helpful, and probably an annoyance to my poor friends! I need to work on listening more patiently.
To listen with your heart is a beautiful gift to yourself and those around you; it reflects the Love and tenderness of the one true Listener.
“Great ideas come into the world as gently as doves… if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar… a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope.”
Have a good week…I’ll be listening!