With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.
— Catherine de Hueck Doherty
All human beings deserve to be heard from a respectful, compassionate and non-judgemental space. However, listening attentively (with an empty mind minus the internal criticism, dialogue or distractions) is easier said than done.
To listen well is to let go of the mind. To listen well with empathy is to listen from the heart. We can learn so much about ourselves simply by being willing to observe our listening habits.
As my one word mantra for the year is “connect”, my inner gaze is gently focused on the lost art of listening at the moment.
I’m observing the effectiveness of my listening habits with a desire to connect more meaningfully and authentically to the world around me. I’ve discovered the more stressed or rushed I feel the poorer my listening skills.
I kinda like the idea that being more relaxed makes us better listeners.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d share a simple ritual I picked up about 4 years ago from my restorative yoga teacher, Judith Lasater.
If you’ve been following Rejuvenation Lounge for a while now you’ll probably remember me talking about this profound little habit/ ritual a few years ago. It’s simple. It’s fabulous. It’s worth repeating.
You might even like to take a moment now and tune in with your own inner gaze and quietly observe your listening habits. What do you do or don’t do when listening? This simple practice alone can be potentially life changing — if you want it to be, of course.
Imagine what life would be like if you listened to the world around you with a deeper listening presence.
I’m sure you’ll discover new things about yourself (as I most certainly did) simply by noticing your listening habits.
A simple ritual for listening:
When someone is speaking, simply clasp your hands together. It acknowledges you are present and prepares your body and mind for authentic listening.
By clasping your hands you help shift the energy out of your head and down into the palms of your hands. You’ve energetically made a conscious choice to become more present when listening. It’s a beautiful thing.
No answering in your head
No interrupting with something more important about yourself to add
No finishing their words
No dismissing their words with weird facial expressions
No checking out
No face in screen and nodding, pretending to hear them
No looking around and thinking, “When are they going to stop talking?”
… Simply listen in quiet stillness and with compassion
Peace, love and chocolate, Carole
Art of Listening appears on Midlifexpress with Carole’s kind permission. You can read more of her wise words at her blog thehealthylivinglounge.com