I talk a lot. So much so that I often have to be told to shut up by someone. That someone is usually my mother (bless her heart).
But my talking goes beyond the conversational realm. I’m a constant head talker too. Always talking up the next big idea, story, concept, opportunity…in my head. I am so busy thinking and churning out elaborate ideas in my own thoughts and daydreams, that I find myself ignoring the real life conversations that are happening around me. It’s both exhausting and inconsiderate, and it needs to stop.
So I decided to try and turn off the voice and tune up the ears. For a week, I added moments of silence throughout my day, and I was simply amazed at what I was able to hear. I was aware. I was present. I was inspired. I’ve now decided to start each morning off in silence. I wake up, greet Mr. Harvey with a hug and a chin scratch, pour a bowl of cereal and tune out all thoughts. I sit and enjoy the sounds around me, whether they be the loud garbage truck on it’s weekly run or the hum of my neighbors washing machine. I just sit and listen for a bit before the talk of the day begins.
I’m also setting the intention to listen more to those in my life. From everyday exchanges with colleagues and clients, to brunches and drinks with friends and family, I am choosing to listen more than I speak and truly digest all that is being shared. Rather than anxiously anticipate my next move in conversations, I am learning the art of focused attention and respectful silence.
It’s proven to be a serious challenge, more-so than I originally anticipated. But the struggle has been valuable. I’ve learned that even when the most amazing comments, observations, or phrases come to mind (in both the conversational and thought form), sometimes it is more important–and more effective–to sit in silence and listen instead.
While I will never be one to take a vow of silence (there is just too much to laugh about), I am finally learning how to use my ears much more than my voice. There is not much more on this planet that I value more than my words, but as I grow and develop a better sense of self, I am learning the power of those words in the spoken, written, and thoughtful form.
What are some of the things you do to keep yourself aware and listening to the world around you? I’d love to “hear” about them. (See, practicing my listening every chance I get!)
I hope it is a thought FULL weekend for everyone!