Are You Listening To Me?

There is nothing more important in any relationship than feeling like the other person listens to you.

I am sad to say that there have been moments in my life when I haven’t listened as well as I should have.  I have on occasion found myself hurrying someone along so that they would get to the point and I could go on my way many times in the past, especially with the storytelling personality of some people.

My dad could tell wonderful stories.  When I was a child I used to love to sit and listen to him for hours.  My youngest daughter has inherited this gift as well.  Oh, I know you’re thinking I am a story-teller as well.  You are right; I used to sit in groups of kids at different schools telling all sorts of stories each day.  Somehow my storytelling has found its way to the written form more these days. 

My youngest daughter has an imagination beyond compare, the tales she can weave span entire generations and involve so many characters that about half way through you’re wondering how you got from point “A” to point “P”.  She is truly amazing!  Sometimes, when life is hectic, we tend to try to hurry her along so she will find the point, make it, and we can change the subject.  She is hard to get to hurry or change “channels” and often will stick to the rambling until she’s done, you’re frustrated, she’s mad, and the point got thrown out the window. 

 Yet, that is not active listening.  Active listening would involve listening to the story, asking questions if needed, but not to interrupt, putting your own feelings and emotions aside, and allowing yourself to be in the moment and enjoying the conversation.  That also includes turning off the radio, putting down the cell phones and focusing on the person speaking.  The effect is amazing.  The attitude of the speaker improves because they are being heard.  The person listening is learning about the speaker by listening, eye contact and watching expressions, both people gain by the encounter and the relationship is strengthened. 

 Listening and communication have always been the most important things in relationships, but especially now in this high pressured, busy, sometimes almost frantic pace we all keep to make sure everything is done each day, it seems more important than ever to find that person that is a true friend, an oasis in the midst of chaos, that we can turn too and have them just….listen. 

 Cherry Coley ©

I’m Sorry, What? Oh yeah, Focus.

I looked up the definition of scatter brained today.  According to some definitions Scatter brain means a forgetful person, simpleton, flighty and disorganized. 

I prefer another definition that says that scatter brained people are usually highly imaginative people who take in so many details at a time that if the details are deemed unimportant they get put to the side.  Well, it sounds better than flighty and simpleton, as I am neither of those things.  Yet, I have found that I DO forget things and now I am noticing that I forget them.  How weird is that?

For instance, I drive the same way to work each day and both on the way to work and on the way home I go through a tunnel for a bit.  Oddly enough, I remember this and notice it every day on the way home, but in the mornings, most of the time, I will get to work and not remember ever going through the tunnel, yet I had to have gone through it to get there. 

That’s not the only thing either.  Here’s a stupid example, the lawnmower I bought, I took back to Home Depot because I thought the pull chord had broken / pulled out too far and wouldn’t go back in so it wouldn’t start.  It wasn’t broken, it was fine – it had come unhooked from the bar so it just looked different.  Thing is, I didn’t remember it being hooked up there to begin with, how scatter brained is that?

There are other things too, that I will suddenly notice are different and my kids will say – “mom, it used to be this way all the time.” 

“Well, heck, where was I?” I reply.

“Um… put it there,” they say.   Yes, that makes me feel so smart I want to go play ostrich for a while.

I went on and joined up so I could practice brain training games.  Their games are supposed to build focus, hand eye coordination and help with memory.  I pass with flying colors every single time and usually with a high score, so obviously it’s something else, which brings me back to the definition that highly imaginative people basically filter out details that seem unimportant. 

 I have noticed that when I repeatedly do something and it’s the same each time – like going through the tunnel each morning – if my mind is thinking of other things such as getting to work on time, an upcoming meeting, or things I need to do that day, then it just basically dumps the unimportant detail that I went through the tunnel – again. 

 The lawnmower chord didn’t matter, until it wasn’t where it was supposed to be and doing what it was supposed to be doing, stupid chord.  Just like the door knob spinning a bit didn’t matter until the door knob fell off, the nerve of inanimate objects! 

 At least I know I do focus when it counts the most, I might be a little scatter brained at times, but it’s not because I’m really disorganized or simple-minded, it’s just another symptom of juggling too many things in this busy world we live in. 

 I have, in recent days, made more time for self-reflection and meditation.  There’s something about the peaceful calm combined with focused intention that puts things back in proper perspective, and helps me remember the details each day. 

Cherry Coley (c)