Shhh! I’m Listening!

Mindful communication includes careful attention to both speaking and listening in order to be more fully connected in conversation.

In a recent monthly meditation group at a senior retirement community, we focused on mindful listening. Communicating clearly is so important to the mental and physical health of these wonderful seniors!

We played with two activities to bring awareness to listening deeply. In the first, we passed around a conch shell. Each person was invited to listen closely to what they heard as it was held up to their ear. The look of intent focus on each person’s face as they listened was memorable. When we discussed the activity, I asked not what they heard or did not hear, but instead, “How would your conversations be different if you brought the same quality of intention and focus as you just did to listening to the shell?” The ensuing discussion was lively as people acknowledged how they are so often not present while in conversation.

In the second activity, we used Wikki Stix (a kind of modern day pipe cleaner made of uniform lengths of yarn encased in sticky wax). These are bendable and can be molded easily. In pairs, the elders held a “silent conversation”. The first person used one of their three sticks to create a shape, then offered it to the second, who took it in silence, then paused to consider how s/he wanted to add to it in some way. The emerging shape was passed between the two people, in silence, as the “conversation” continued. As each pair finished, there were many smiles.

Reflecting on their experience, the group noticed how each person often began with an idea of how the “conversation” (shape) would look and grow. One person said, “ I started out knowing what I wanted, then she threw a monkey wrench, doing something entirely different from what I expected.” They discussed how it took a willingness to be curious and open in order to keep the “conversation” going and flowing.

The shared wisdom was happily received, and people said they planned to carry what they learned into their real conversations with family and friends.

What is your intention when you are in conversation? Are you busy rehearsing what you will say next? Thinking about something you need to get done tomorrow? Or are you able to be fully present, listening to what is being offered and how it is being said?

As we move toward the fall season, there are three openings in my private Mindful Awareness Coaching practice for women who are looking to bring more mindfulness into their lives. If you would like to work with me, please be in touch right away!

To what one breath can do,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Bloom Connolly, Founder

 

 

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