“I was born this way.” The perfect explanation when someone questions your greatness, quirkiness, belief system, or some facet of your journey here. You were put on the spot, so you need to respond, but there is no point in explaining…unless the other person is listening. And, by listening, I mean, wanting to hear. Can’t you feel when another is not really listening or not interested in your answer? It’s uncomfortable. And, beyond not wishing to trigger that discomfort in another, we wish to avoid shallow life-dulling experiences. To sharpen our life, we must first sharpen our listening skills.
In the afternoon, I listen for sounds from the bedroom…my daughter’s “rah rah rah” baby ramblings and the soft ringing of her rattle as she seemingly signals, “Room Service, Mommy!” A reward, I think…or, at least, a pleasant contrast. As a newborn, she would wake me up with a piercing cry…a cry biologically designed to pierce my heart and propel me into quick motion. “You have to let her cry it out,” some would say. Instinctively, I knew better…she had no idea. She believed she was crying for survival. And, her cry told me everything I needed to know. As long as I listened to it…and not to anyone else.
Even now it tells me what I need to know. As I was gathering Desiree from the gym childcare last week, I discovered her sobbing in the childcare lady’s lap. “She just started crying. I think she’s teething.” I listened and said, “Are you sure she is not just hungry?” Handing my daughter her half-drunk bottle on the counter, she instantaneously calmed down with a look of “Thanks, mom. I needed that!” relief.
Listening is intelligence. Building awareness. A tool to strengthen. A secret weapon in a world infiltrated with noise and self-absorption. When we recognize that our outer world brings us clues and guidance, we recognize the importance of listening.
When another speaks, do you catch yourself thinking of something you want to say? It’s natural. It’s also impulsive. Conversations with my mom. We both have lists…mine in my head, hers on a piece of paper. Or something a new acquaintance says reminds you of a personal experience. So you share it. It’s relationship-building to search for common ground. But, it’s dangerous if we don’t keep our propensity to talk in-check and balanced with our willingness to listen.
We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.” ~Susan Cain
Last week, I spent a few days in San Francisco. By the morning of the second day, I felt a strange pang of hunger. I wasn’t hungry per se, but my stomach was not satisfied. I listened for the internal guidance…yep, I needed protein. Years of nutritional conditioning. Some call it good genetics. At the time, I called it a little annoying. But, I do agree with the notion of genetics…mind-altering genetics, that is:
Genes are physical memories of an organism’s learned experience.” ~Bruce Lipton
Learned experience becomes bodily wisdom. We have to condition the body so there is wisdom to listen to. Then, we train the mind to listen to the body. Close the loop. Oh, and, when traveling, pack some protein in the baby’s cooler!
Cue this week’s Top 10 audibles…
1. Listen to the wholeness of the orchestra…or the person standing in front of you.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ~Mozart
2. Listen as you become one with the situation. Right action always emerges from that space.
Satori is a moment of Presence, a brief stepping out of the voice in your head, the thought processes, and their reflection in the body as emotion.” ~Eckhart Tolle
3. Listen to your self-talk. Do you have a “sad story” you keep repeating? What are you creating with it? Does realizing this inspire you to speak differently? Lose the story and gain a life!
4. Listen with alertness, stillness, and presence. Be there for another’s benefit and watch what opens up in your world, in your body, in your heart.
5. Listen to your higher self and cut off your ego. How do you know “which one” is talking? Easy. The higher self is the voice that is always patiently encouraging…always in your corner…yes, listen to that one. Hint: you might need to meditate and eliminate the noise to hear her.
6. Listen for the beat, the chorus, the crescendo. Life is better when you move to a beat…obviously. Have you ever danced?! We develop our ear when we listen for the nuances in the music. It helps us recognize and soar with the crescendos in our own lives.
7. Listen to the traffic…the background noise…the wind…the rainfall…the birds. Notice how your obsessive thoughts about past or future melt away when you anchor to the simplicity and beauty of the present.
8. Listen for messages urging you here, guiding you there.
They can come from the lips of a stranger we suddenly and mysteriously encounter at just the right instant. If we listen carefully, we always hear the right words, at the right time, to dazzle us into a realization of something that we may have failed to notice only moments before.” ~Gregg Braden
9. Listen during moments of personal turmoil or crisis.
Underneath all that we are taught, there is a voice that calls to us beyond what is reasonable, and in listening to that flicker of spirit, we often find deep healing.”~Mark Nepo
10. Listen to your soul…it is whispering something to you…right now.
Listening is more art than science. And, at times, the goal isn’t to get the perfect play, it’s to get out of a bad play…right, Peyton Manning?
Do you want to explore LISTEN further? Click here for quotes, mantras and our willPower dedicated weekly exercise!