Thursday, May 3, 2012

listen up!


What kind of listener are you? Turns out, I'm pretty much of a crummy one. I know this because I ask people to repeat things all the time when I've been mentally multi-tasking and not retained a word they've said. I honestly don't know how they put up with me (Mike, the kids, friends, Arkon and on and on). But I sure do know a few gold standard listeners and how good it feels to be heard by them. I never realized that they possess a highly refined gift, I just thought they were full of love. Maybe that's what good listening really is at heart: an act of love. Did you know there are different levels to this critical life skill? That's what I learned in a fascinating article by Hope Martin and David Rome. And now that I know better, you better believe I'm going to listen better: 
Active Listening  is the practice of repeating back or paraphrasing what you think you are hearing and gently seeking clarity when the meaning is not clear.
Good Listening is giving open-minded, genuinely interested attention to others and allowing yourself the time and space to fully absorb what they say.  Seeks not surface but where the speaker is coming from. 
Deep Listening is more contemplative than active listening and involves listening from a deep, receptive and caring place in oneself to a deeper and often subtler level of meaning and intention in another person.  It is listening that is generous, empathetic, supportive, accurate and trusting - trust that whatever the other says comes from something true in their experience. Involves opening one's awareness to the unknown and unexpected. Deep Listening is a way of being that is sensitive to all facets of our experience: external, internal, contextual.

(image: Etsy.com)

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