Listening

As a student and a mother, I am often studying in odd places. I am regularly in the local recreation center studying while my kids are in an arts or sports program. I try and find a nice quiet spot, and failing that I put on my headphones and crank up the tunes. This day I got all setup when a group of 5 people sat at the table next to me, and the group quickly expanded to about 30. But it was quiet. With large groups often comes noise, but not this day.

I was quite distracted by this group and they were making almost no sound. It was fascinating to watch the intimate communication shared among this group. They were looking at each other, bodies facing each other as they read lips and signed to each other. I was sucked in by the excitement and emotion being expressed as this group greeted each other.

I can’t remember what I was studying that day, but it was something boring in comparison. It was a good reminder that words are not the only form of communication. We do speak with our bodies, some of us better than others.

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The next time you are speaking with someone try putting down your device or knitting and really look at the person you are communicating with. Look at their eyes, their face, and their lips moving. Pretend for a minute that you can’t hear their words. What are they really saying? What is their body telling you?

I like to talk, a lot. I am not the best listener. I get distracted. I get excited. I disengage. Watching a group of people communicate silently was inspiring. This year my New Years resolution is to listen more and talk less. Wish me luck because I am going to need it.

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