At a young age I think the question that was most asked of me was, "Are you listening?" The attention span of mine hadn't really kicked in, and it was almost impossible for me to truly listen to people. I struggled, but never wanted to admit it. It wasn't that I was as slow as people often thought, it was that I hadn't learned how to really listen.
Of course I was hearing the words coming out of people's mouths, but processing them, understanding them, or absorbing them; that was not happening. I was often sent to this special program in school, because they assumed my home life was too much for me to process which is why I was behind in school.
That may have played a small rule, but truth was I just did not know how to listen to people. It's interesting looking back at my life, as I have been doing loads of to attempt to find any memories relevant for the book. I HAVE NEVER been a good listener. Even when friends thought that I was. Even when I went on to school to have my career to be LISTENING to people.
By the time I was an active counselor, I was able to listen enough to people for them to feel like they were being heard. I had everyone around me convinced that I was a great listener, and really great at helping others. Hell, even I was convinced. Truth is until I truly learned to be okay with silence, is really the only time I began to listen. To sit in stillness and really hear.
I find myself still having to grow my listening skills, as I still have the habit of talking over people. I do it to everyone, without exception. You aren't truly listening to someone if you are thinking of your response the whole time they are talking. You aren't truly listening to someone if you are thinking of your to do list the whole time they are talking. You aren't truly listening to someone if you aren't sitting in stillness and observing the person as they talk.
As I've been working on less talking and more listening, it's amazed me how much I can learn and retain. When I shut up and listen to people whether it's them talking about their lives, doctors talking about what's going on with Steve, people trying to teach me new things, or Steve telling me what he needs; every time I sit and really listen; I learn something new.
When you can start listening with your ears, you can start listening wit other senses, and then listening to the heart, listening to the earth, nature, the unspoken,... How do you think it is now that I know Steve needs me before he rings his alarm? I would say as often as 9 times out of 10 if I'm tuned in I feel him need me, but listening to my gut.
Growing my listening skills is something that I will work on the rest of my life. Learning to listen with everything and not just my ears. Learning to talk less and hear more. The reading from my earth medicine book today, again sparked this blog. It reads, "When you learn to enter the stillness and you sit for hours without movement or sound, you may hear the oneness. From that understanding, you may discover the sounds of the all unfolding."
Are you listening?