I have always loved to talk (ask my mom, she has some stories).
And I love that I get to talk for a living – radio, presentations, classes - I get to talk about what I love with people I care about.
But that’s why my soul work is listening.
I know the importance of listening - it’s an essential communication skill as a therapist, coach, or parent. But I know I need to check myself every once in awhile to make sure I am walking the walk.
So here is a list of things I ask myself, and I guess now I am asking you:
Can you be quiet and allow your children to tell you something important? Can you withhold judgment or criticism and just be present for what they share? Can you let go of what you need to say next and just listen intently?
Can you be quiet when a friend is telling you a story? Can you allow them to have the floor without needing to come up with an identical or comparative story? Can you be happy for them if they share an achievement? Do you trust that the goodness in their lives affects the greater good and that there is plenty of good to go around?
Can you be quiet when someone – your spouse, a friend, a family member, a co worker, a neighbor, or a politician – offends you? Can you accept that they may not have intended to hurt you? And if they did intend to hurt you, can you accept that they must be suffering? Can you be quiet so you can take a breath and respond without anger or defensiveness, but with calm? You don’t have to agree or give them permission to hurt you, but can you appreciate that coming back with anger harms you? Can you choose to not engage? Can you choose self love and calm over being right?
Can you be quiet and listen to the birds? Can you listen to the train across town or the trees in the wind? Can you enjoy the moment as you listen?
Can you be quiet and allow someone to compliment you? When someone is offering you beautiful words can you receive them instead of turn them away? Can you take them in and allow yourself to fully feel them?
Can you be quiet and listen to the breathing of your significant other, children, or pet? Can you be grateful for their breathing, for their presence, and for their role in your life?
Can you be quiet and listen to yourself? Can you go inside and appreciate the moment? Can you embrace every part of yourself, your light and your dark, and appreciate who you are?