A few months ago I was on a date with someone who I quite liked. One of the first things he said to me was that nobody listened much anymore. I took that to heart and it stuck with me even though the relationship didn't! My intention for 2015 is to listen. Sounds simple but it's not that easy, at least for me.
I am beginning first by listening to myself while I am listening to others. I notice that instead of actually listening to the person speaking I am often...
- judging myself
- judging the speaker
- thinking how I should respond
- trying to make a good impression
- fixating on a particular outcome
- feeling defensive
- making the speaker wrong
- looking for evidence on how I'm right
- busy trying to protect myself
- feeling self-conscious
- trying to control the conversation so that it will go a certain way
- trying to fix a perceived problem
- thinking of advise
- daydreaming and thinking about myself
I am by habit preoccupied with one or more of these things INSTEAD of simply listening to the speaker with out any other agenda. This is mind blowing!
I am noticing my preoccupations and my urges to interrupt, and I'm stopping myself. Suddenly people are opening up and revealing things to me. More importantly we connect on a deeper level. They feel good, and I feel good. It's really amazing. I'm able to understand situations and relationships with more clarity. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out.
Often I find myself not knowing what to say to someone and I feel awkward. Now I realize it's because I wasn't really listening. I've noticed that when I really listen there is no awkwardness or anxiety about what to say. The conversation unfolds easily, honestly, simply. People like being heard.
So my focus for 2015 is to listen, hopefully more than I talk. Not only will I be listening to others but I hope to employ the skill of listening in my creative practice. As the patchwork unfolds I will listen without agendas of planning, perfecting, judging, or pleasing. Instead I will allow the patchwork to show me what it wants to become.
I'm very excited about this revelation because it's a New Year's intention that I may actually be able to keep for a lifetime. Listening is fun!