I write this post from one of my favourite places in the world. A rather windy campsite on the Gower peninsula. As campers slowly awaken, pockets of blue try to push through a grey and cloudy sky. And yet my mood is dark. I feel angry, hurt and unheard having read an e-mail from an old friend. Wow. It’s brought me to a place of wondering…as we talk about being kind and doing kind things, surely one of the very first acts of kindness is to truly listen.
The wonderful Otto Scharmer talks about the ability to put aside one’s own perspective, to choose to take off your ‘perspective jacket’ and put it on the back of your chair for a while. After all to truly make time to listen from the heart, we need to put aside all of our own views, opinions, feelings, experiences. To offer up a sacred and safe space, to give freely the gift of time, of really being heard by another. We may choose to put our jacket back on afterwards, but that’s not the issue here.
And of course, this listening has to start with ourselves. Only then can we truly be present to another. And only then do the real gifts of kindness come to bring about hope and meaningful change.
My simple guide to good listening:
(I fail often but the awareness and intent is there!)
- Put aside time to speak to a friend, a colleague, a family member and don’t try to multitask. This includes driving
- To really hear someone, find a place where you yourself can be still and quiet to hear the subtle, the unspoken
- Read an e-mail slowly, properly, maybe even a few times. Can we respond without wearing the jacket?
I love the word of Julian Treasure. As an expert in sound (and a sound expert) he lives to listen. His TED talk is quite old now but I believe will always be so relevant and needed in our world today. Check it out here, it’s 7 minutes long.
Yoga is at the heart of listening, for it begins with awareness and connection of and to our own being. Enjoy the music you hear. x