This week’s challenge is to listen mindfully.
It looks like this….
When your spouse or child wants to talk to you, let go for a few moments what you are doing and give that person your undivided attention. As you do that take in a breath maybe two and feel yourself letting go of what was taking your full attention and feel the brief disconnection to that task. Feel that sense of letting go of your mind activity and sense your body instead. As your look at your spouse, your child, take another breath so that you can sense within you that you are present to the conversation.
As you listen, listen without interrupting. Wait for the person to pause before speaking. Meanwhile become aware of the activity of your mind. If you are preparing your response while the person is still talking, try to let that go and go back to being present with the conversation. Trust that you will know what to say when it's your turn to talk. As we listen mindfully, we will experience more space within the conversation and, more importantly, the person speaking will feel that they are being heard.
The key to being more present in a conversation is to feel yourself deeply residing in your body and breathing helps us to do that. As we shift from being in our minds to being in our body surprisingly this simple shift can help us to be more present with our conversations.
Be patient with the person speaking and challenge yourself to listen with a more open mind and without judgment. Do not be in a hurry to respond and when you do respond do so with awareness and mindful speech.
As a reminder for this practice, write on a sticky yellow note pad “listen” and place it on your bathroom mirror or the refrigerator or set up a reminder on your cell phone. Every time you see the word “listen” ask yourself if you have been listening mindfully today, could you have done better.
“I discover that what I assumed is quite different from what the speaker intended. “
Kay Lindahl, Founder of The Listening Center.
Deeper Meaning of this Exercise: When we are listening mindfully, we feel a deeper connection with that person. A deeper connection leads to more tolerance, understanding, and compassion. As we breathe and reside more in our bodies, we will feel calmer and peace starts to arise within us. The benefit we derive from listening mindfully not only benefits us by making us calmer and more peaceful but the person speaking will also feel the calming effects as well.
Massage Day, it is my favorite day of the week