21-Day Kindness Project: Day 8
– Rachel Naomi Remen
Make Time to Listen to Someone Today; Increase Your Receptivity:
D J Kaufman wrote, “Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening…when you’d have preferred to talk.” When we truly listen to others, we can hear what is being said underneath the words. Simply remaining silent and paying close attention to what is and is not being said, and withholding judgment, can have a profound effect on our relationships.
So today, give the gift of deep listening to someone in your life. Focus on listening with total presence and without judgment, to whatever they have to share, whether to their personal struggles and worries, greatest hopes and aspirations, or whatever is bubbling up. You might find that an opportunity just presents itself to listen, or you might want to reach out to someone who you think needs a listening ear.
You might want to carry this forward into all your conversations today. Be watchful of how we tend to mentally start forming what we want to say next, while we are still listening to another speak. Try to clear your mental chatter that clamors to be heard, and just listen. Watch how it changes the conversation, how much deeper it becomes and how much more you learn about the person you are listening to. Quite often the “gift” of listening will be given back to you when the person you are talking to feels deeply heard.
The humble act of listening in caring silence and with real interest, sometimes has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well intended advice.
You can apply this same idea in listening to silence, or the sounds of nature and life around us. Georgia O”Keefe wrote beautifully about this: “To see takes time, like having a friend takes time. To listen takes time too – to hear and befriend the world within and the world without, to attend to the quiet voice of life and heart alike.”