Saturday, April 7, 2018

Shut My Mouth

I’m a very disciplined person. That may come from nearly 8 years of Catholic school. It was there I learned how discipline could work in my favor; because by listening, I was paying closer attention; by paying closer attention, my grades improved, and getting good grades in Catholic school moved me into the “golden child” level – in other words, I could get away with all sorts of things. So,when I embraced the word Listen for my word theme of 2018, it didn’t surprise me how quickly I adapted to shutting my mouth. Interestingly enough, I’m even sitting up straighter! Sister Angela would be proud.

During the first few days of listening, I was surprised by how much quieter I was. When I was by myself, my brain even stopped reeling with a myriad of jumbled thoughts! I like this. I like this a lot. While I try and live a quieter existence in my head, there’s always been a lot going on up there, so the focus of the year on listening will hopefully guide me to a renewed habit and way of being.

So here’s the thing, there’s listening, and there’s intently listening. I’ve been noticing this when engaged in a conversation and other people are oblivious to the fact that I haven’t even finished the answer to their question when they move on and begin talking about something else. Sometimes I’m mid-sentence! Sister Angela would call that interrupting, and you may have to stand in the corner for a time! I used to try and move the conversation back to the rest of my answer to their question, but I’m finding it best to just shut my mouth and see if anyone notices. So far, that hasn’t happened. I find this oddly amusing.

By reminding myself daily to listen, I can see we really don’t listen as much or as well as we think we do. Whether I’m observing, thinking about something, or in conversation - by intently listening, I’m more engaged and paying more attention. I find my mind is less likely to wander away from whatever it is I’m paying attention to. My awareness to listening is guiding me to see and hear things I might otherwise miss. Funny thing, I’m even more likely to shut my mouth. Sister Angela would give me a gold star for that!


Angry Nun photo - I was not able to find a link to credit properly