Friday, October 21, 2005

Listen Up

Last night, our training covered listening. I consider myself a pretty good listener but after the exercises, I got a reality check. Like most things in life, there is always more to learn, more room for improvement. We've got two ears but only one mouth. I suppose it goes we should listen twice as much as we talk. But do we?

The first exercise had us paired up. The question posed was, "What gets in the way of your listening?" And one person would have the floor and say their answer. When they were done, we would ask it again. And again. Each time we thought we were done answering, we were asked again, to go deeper to the bottom of the truth.

For me, like many, feeling fatigued, overburdened, bored, disinterested, letting my ego rule, wanting to share my story with them- all those things get in the way. Sometimes all we really need is a good listening. Someone to sit in rapt attention, without the TV on or the radio blaring or the cell phone ringing, and just listen to what is being said. To what is being said beneath the words. It is amazing, that feeling of really being listened to without interruption, without being taken off track, to just unload your truth without being judged.

That's how it felt in the second exercise. Again, we chose partners and shared. The question this time was, "What comforts and sustains you in difficult times?" As I spoke to my partner, she said, "I hear from what you are saying that your intent means a lot to you." Bingo! I was really touched that she heard that under what I was saying because it IS true. Part of what comforts me when things get rough is the knowledge that I try to live my life with integrity. My intent every day is to be a good person- to be open, compassionate and communicative.

Of course, some days I fail miserably at this. But aren't those bumps in the road just jolts to wake us up? I'd like to think so. I'd also like to believe that there is an innate goodness in each of us. It can take a bit of digging to unearth but it's there. And it is worth the effort every time.


sue said...

I was going to leave some smartassed remark, then decided I probably shouldn't. My gosh you're getting a lot of training! When do you actually start working?

Bill said...

The art of listening really is an art because there is what people say and what people mean and they aren't always the same.

I think I use to be good at listening but I also think I've gotten worse at it in recent years. Not really sure why.

Listening isn't just speech, either. It's in e-mails, blogs, everywhere people communicate. And yes, there is way to much noise. Way, way to much noise in the world.

TheSTEVEDAQ said...

Being a great listener is a virtue that doesn't always come easy. I sometimes think the busier you, or the person you're in conversation with is, the harder it is to have a conversation where you're not overlapping. I try and listen to myself and avoid doing that, but when people have grabbed just a moment to discuss something it's tough. As for being open compassionate and communicative it's a shame the opposite grab the headlines ;)

Jenny said...

I think you are a good listener, you have good advice and I feel heard when we talk. I envy this in you because I don't think I am quite as focused... it's a gift, really.

BullysE said...

I know exactly what you mean.How validating, your friend "heard" you, in that Intent!

goldmoon said...

You're definitely getting some excellent training! I think every human being needs 'training' like this!