Archives for posts with tag: i hear you

It’s just a thought, on a Monday morning; communication is a pretty big deal. It changes the map, changes the journey, and changes the experience – shared or individual. The magical thing about communication is that it does not have to be weaponized and hurled down range as a hurtful salvo of toxic waste – ever. It can be shared gently, with great care, and received with great tenderness. Ideally… it is useful, enlightening, and promising of a better future moment once considered.

The flip side of using words, of communicating with consideration, is listening – deeply, fully present. I’ll note this is the greater challenge for me, personally, although making considered, authentic, use of communication opportunities does require some verbs, itself. Listening seems to require a few more.

Communication is useful for analyzing patterns – and breaking them. (image credit to my Traveling Partner)

It began simply as a weekend at home, ill. It ended feeling re-connected, deeply involved, wholly committed, and very much in love. The power of words should not be underestimated, Friends. The conversations that walk that mile, however, are not necessarily the “easy” ones; small talk isn’t going to get it done. I’m sipping my coffee and appreciating my Traveling Partner’s willingness to talk and listen, to “go deep”, to share intimate details of that most private personal space within each of us; thoughts and feelings. Wow. It got real, and it got deep, and things were shared that perhaps would have benefited from being shared sooner, together, and a few that presented profound healing opportunities to be shared at all. It was powerful.

…It still is. 🙂

…Worth it. 😀

So… here it is Monday. I’d so much rather stay home with my Love than go anywhere else, right now, but there’s a job to be done, and I’m being paid to do that. So… coffee at hand, dressed for work, and smiling, I prepare to begin again.

…Really, though? I’m sitting here sipping my coffee thinking about love, and how much I enjoy this partnership. How much I’ve grown – and feel that growth supported. How much he’s grown, and how much I enjoy supporting his growth, too. I even feel, fairly literally, wrapped in love; most of my selections for work wear today were suggested by, or gifted to me by, my partner. There’s something magical to that. My smile deepens. I think that I smell his cologne in my studio… I think, too, that it makes my coffee taste better. lol Love is a hell of a flavor enhancer. 🙂

I smile, and finish my coffee, and let a new day begin untouched by old troubles. Use your words. (So worth it.) Then…? Begin again. 🙂

 

 

Sometimes, being heard seems to be a study in actually listening, myself. Sometimes it is about speaking more clearly, more simply, or more explicitly. Sometimes being heard is about being the person listening most carefully to my own heart, my own voice; when I am “unable to hear myself think”, this is a real experience of being unable to hear myself. Sometimes, I am so attentive to the matter of “being heard”, myself, that I overlook the urgent importance of listening deeply. Thoughts over coffee.

The breeze from over the marsh and meadow is scented with flowers and although I have headphones on, as if listening to music, somehow I haven’t yet gotten as far as turning any on. lol It doesn’t matter. This morning, I am busy keeping track of other details – like the precise moment I can start that one load of laundry I need to do before I depart to meet my Traveling Partner at the designated rally point before a final gear check, and departure. Being late would be beyond rude; it would throw off plans and timing for other people, too. I’d like to avoid that. I’m good at deployment. I’ve had a lot of practice. 🙂

There’s a certain uncomfortable free fall in letting other people handle planning. I’m really good at it, and have learned over the years to uphold a high level of self-reliance, generally. It’s not explicitly stated, so I’ll out myself now; I am not so skilled at, or comfortable with, letting go and allowing someone else to plan and lead. So, this weekend – adventure, love, and all – is a complicated bit of life’s curriculum – advanced coursework, even. This weekend I learn to manage my anxiety around loosening my grip on the details, and allowing other decision-makers, other planners, other leaders, to step to the forefront, call the shots, and let the fun of our time together be truly collaborative. Wow. I break out in a literal sweat thinking about it, and I feel my core tighten a bit with anticipated anxiety (which is like, the dumbest and most annoying anxiety, ever).

I didn’t end up, in prior relationships, overburdened with planning and managing life events, travel, and adventure, because no one else was willing to adopt mannerisms indicating they might handle it – it was more because, at least at the outset, I simply couldn’t allow it. I had to have the control. Not knowing all the details of everything could really freak me out. I had to have things done “right” – admitting, even as I type the words, that my notion of “doing it right” was every bit as subjective and centered on my own thinking as anyone else’s would be. Of course, if I offered to do all of the things, the answer would be a relieved “yes” and we all moved on to our chosen roles. The resentment over time was just “a free service I offered” or… an unrequested… enhancement. LOL

I’m okay with learning another way. It’s been a really long time since I participated in an event of this sort – I have no idea what to expect, neither from the event, nor, frankly, from myself. I don’t even know what I want, beyond spending time chilling with my Traveling Partner, making memories. This could be an amazing shared experience…I have to be willing to allow it to be. (I am.) I have an opportunity to connect really closely with my Traveling Partner for a few days, and an opportunity to listen. (Which is, frankly, both more difficult and more important than talking.) Being heard feels really good. Like happiness, it somehow tends to skitter just out of reach if I chase it. On the other hand, in building the skills I need to listen deeply to others, to listen non-judgmentally, to really hear what someone else is saying – to meet that need to be heard for another – I bring profound new opportunities for intimacy and connection into my experience… that results in greater potential for being heard, myself. It’s my plan to practice listening more than talking, this weekend. There is much I do not know, and I won’t learn it by talking continuously. 😀

I heard my Traveling Partner last night – he communicated concern about his own readiness, and mine, and things he hadn’t thought of, and although he didn’t use simple frank language to get those points across, because I was listening deeply it was not so necessary that he communicate completely clearly. It was late. We were both tired. It would be very human and common and understandable if drama had broken out, or strong emotion, or missed understanding – instead, I listened. If I didn’t “get it”, I asked a direct question, no baggage. We narrowed down needs, wants, and expectations very quickly in this way, and my developing anxiety around letting go of control of all the details and all the knowledge quickly gave way to feeling prepared, content, and… ready for bed. lol

Assuming positive intent is a big help. Not taking things personally is a great approach, too. Understanding we are each having our own experience is also definitely an important tool in the emotional intelligence toolbox. Avoiding contradicting or disagreeing with people’s emotions is something I find useful as well (there’s just no disagreeing with emotion, people – those are facts of their own sort, and very subjective). So… here I go. It’s nearly time to load the car (my dining room is currently my “staging area” and everything is ready but the laundry), to do that one load of laundry, to meet my Traveling Partner, check gear and if necessary make a pass by an appropriate retailer for missed this-or-that we ought not do without (totally necessary; I’ve already made a list)… then… the journey. A destination. A weekend. Love.

54 and still daydreaming about love. 🙂

…The Love part is my favorite. 😀

It’s time to begin, again. See you on Monday.

 

This weekend is planned to be about listening. Well, listening, and catching up with an old friend. I typically don’t listen as well as I could, I think, but as with so many other sorts of things, I suspect practice may help.

I’ll be intent on avoiding some of the massive pitfalls of listening poorly (which is to say, not listening), like…

  1. Waiting to talk (instead of actually listening).
  2. Hijacking the conversation to talk about me (instead of actually listening).
  3. Defending myself or making it ‘all about me’ (instead of actually listening).
  4. Trying to fix things (instead of actually listening).
  5. Making corrections to someone else’s perceptions, emotions, or understanding of themselves (instead of actually  listening).

Listening well, listening deeply – really putting my attention fully into what someone else is saying – isn’t one of those things that is difficult from any practical perspective. It is sometimes not the thing I am actually doing. So – a visiting friend is a choice opportunity to practice listening. 🙂 (Besides, he’s a gifted storyteller, why would I miss out on listening!?)

Every day a new journey.

Every day a new journey.

So… it may be that I write less for a day or two, making room to listen a bit more. I hope you don’t miss me… quite likely there is someone around who might enjoy a bit of listening, as well. 🙂  If we really took time for it… if we listened well and deeply each and every day, in every conversation, would it change the world to be so well heard?

I was sitting on the patio with a coffee in the cool of evening. The sun sets on the other side of the building, and the patio is shaded and comfortable even after a warm day. A neighborhood child at play wandered near and steps closer to see the roses after asking her Mom if that would be okay. She glances my way, I smile. It’s enough – and rather suddenly, instead of the quiet evening, birdsong, and breezes, I am confronted with the whimsical chatter of a child, eager, enthused with life, and curious about… everything. “What are you doing?” she asks, looking up from smelling each and every different rose in bloom. “I’m listening.” I reply. “To me?” she asks quizzicially. “To the evening.” I smile, she smiles back, and for a moment, she is quiet too; listening to the evening. “I hear birds.” she observes somewhat impatiently, and seemingly eager to move on to more active things. “Why are you listening?” she demands politely. “I’m not very good at it,” I admit, “and I need a lot more practice at giving other people – and even the creatures of the world – a chance to say something.” She sighs, and gives me a look of sympathy and understanding. “My Mom says I don’t listen, too.” I laugh, her Mom chuckles, too. “Well, ” I suggest gently, “you can practice. The birds don’t mind if you are not very good at it, at first.” She skips away, chattering with her Mom about birds, birdsong, roses, and listening. I am left with the stillness of evening, birdsong, and breezes – and a smile.

A recent evening visit from a different neighbor.

An evening visit from a different neighbor.

I do practice listening. It’s one of the more challenging things I work on. Stand a human being in front of me, and often – even in the utter absence of desire to do so, or something to say – I start talking. Sometimes I even manage to crowd my own consciousness with too much talk – I know it is frustrating for people who would like to be heard. It builds a problematic cycle over time, where I talk too endlessly and am eventually ‘tuned out’ or silenced and subsequently don’t ‘feel heard’, myself. It’s not a good way to treat love, or friendship, and it’s less than ideal for any other sort of positive interaction I hope to have. So. I practice listening. Really listening. The sort of deep listening in which I am specifically and only attending to what I am hearing, without queuing up other thoughts, replies, rebuttals, counter-proposals, action plans, or questions. Just listening. Hearing. I make the effort to refrain from verbally replying or responding, aside from acknowledgement when appropriate, and give the moment time to finish saying what is being said – whether it is an evening of birdsong, or a moment of real conversation with an actual other human being. I don’t always manage it. Sometimes I interrupt. I keep practicing. Everyone wants to be heard, and there are few things more precious than feeling that we have been. I continue to practice, because I’d very much like to be known for being someone who ‘really listens’. 🙂

It’s no longer evening. I woke this morning, too early, and returned to sleep quite easily – then ‘overslept’ my usual time by nearly two hours, waking feeling deeply rested and content to start the day. I’m pleased that the apartment is comfortably cool. I am untroubled by how dreadful my coffee is, and continue to sip it contentedly, thinking about cups of coffee in life that have been notably worse – and sometimes still ‘good enough’ in spite of that. There aren’t many things in life that seem to work that way… maybe just two, for me: sex and coffee; even when they aren’t awesome, they both manage to be [for me] generally quite acceptably satisfying…although I am more likely to finish a dreadful cup of coffee than a sex act that might qualify as ‘dreadful’, so… perhaps not so similar as all that? lol I find myself distracted by the comparison, and the implications, which hint at the chaos and damage. It’s just an emotional shadow passing over the delightful landscape of the day, and it passes quickly. I don’t find that I am scurrying to run from what could be revealed about the woman in the mirror, instead the observation is noted, to be considered gently another time. I’m okay right now.

Today is a good day to listen.

Yesterday was fantastic, end to end. There isn’t much more to say about it; it was that rare and lovely day without one flaw or noteworthy challenge. Celebration-worthy, and certainly worth the pleasure of lingering on the recollection for a few quite moments this morning, before moving on.

There was something about yesterday that felt ‘filled with light’, and around midday I couldn’t continue to gaze at the sunshine out the window – I took my lunch break on the move, intending initially to ‘get lunch’,  and quickly found that what I wanted most was simply to walk in the sunshine, unfettered by expectations, or purpose. Seemed harmless enough; I indulged myself, to my own great delight, and the entire resulting day unfolded like a lovely flower.

I took a path that was new to me, and found myself in a lovely place.

I took a path that was new to me, and found myself in a lovely place.

The sensation of remoteness and of stillness must have come along with me; this is no wilderness.

The sensation of remoteness and of stillness must have come along with me; this is no wilderness.

I didn't have to travel far to find delight in the day, I only needed to allow the feelings to make a home in my heart.

I didn’t have to travel far to find delight in the day, I only needed to allow the feelings to make a home in my heart.

Beauty doesn't have to be fancy, or rare, and doesn't require much in the way of 'work'; like change, beauty is.

Beauty doesn’t have to be fancy, or rare, and doesn’t require much in the way of ‘work’; like change, beauty is.

Each flower opens in its own season.

Each flower opens in its own season.

In the distance, the world - and the office.

In the distance, the world – and the office.

For the small price of an hour of my time, and less than two miles of walking distance, I return to the work of the day refreshed, recharged, renewed, and feeling wholly capable and competent, and wrapped in love. A bargain. Seeing so much loveliness so near to where I will soon be living fills me with enthusiasm to greet change as a friend and companion, and motivates me to stride with great purpose toward a future that nurtures me, heart and soul. There are choices involved, verbs to enact, planning to be done – and to enjoy (because I do enjoy the planning). There are sunny days to enjoy, and more long walks on paths I have not yet explored, still ahead of me.

Today is a good day to enjoy standing in the light. Today is a good day to walk away from the darkness. Today is a good day to change the world.