The results? Not only did I find I listened with the intent to shift the conversation onto a topic more interesting for me, but I found I listened with the purpose of inserting my opinion into the 'conversation' before the other person was done talking.
Ugh! Why is it such a challenge to keep my mouth shut and my mind focused?
I also noticed the negative self-talk going on around me. "I'm so chubby, no one will ever dance with me." "I'm never lucky at these games." "I'll probably get sick after being in such a crowded, smoky place."
What? Did they not understand how they were setting the stage for their future life with those words?
Not being one to shy away from self-improvement, I decided to take action. All week, when in a conversation, if I found I was starting to think of my response instead of listening to what the other person had to say, I took a breath and re-focused my attention. After a few times, I noticed I was much more calm and relaxed in a simple exchange of thoughts and commentary.
And, if I heard someone talking about themselves in a negative way, I changed the wording into a powerful affirmation and held the space for them in that moment.
While I'll never be sure if I impacted the other people's lives in a positive way, for me it felt great. I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm for creating something out of this practice that is proving to be life-changing.
Listening is a gift I and I'm enjoying unwrapping it, one conversation at a time.
Today, I set the intention to listen wholly and completely when in conversation with another person, grateful for the opportunity to share in other's lives at a deeper level than before.
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Taking a breath and going within, there is the stirring of the Presence of Spirit; a light as bright as the sun on a beautiful winter morning. This One Creative Intelligence is felt in each life-sustaining breath and with each beat of the heart - all love, all joy, all power, all peace.
Smiling at this thought, happiness overtakes me as I realize that this Presence lives within me and that I can never be separate. I am a unique expression of the Infinite Intelligence that I call God, unfolding and revealing a glorious, magnificent life right here, right now.
Tuning into the calling of my soul, I welcome the opportunity to be in relationship with others, listening attentively and allowing for conversations that go beyond a surface level. I accept the beautiful transformation that unfolds as I hold the space for other's negative self-talk and turn it around into something positive. With each breath I take, there is a bliss that is revealed with the simple exchange of a smile. I rejoice in the happiness that spills over each day as I see more good revealed in every area of my life.
Filled with joy, I give thanks that my unique gifts and talents shine through as I make time to be fully present in all of my conversations. I am filled with gratitude for the aliveness that flows through me from the simple act of listening. And I say Thank You, Sweet Spirit, that peace and happiness are right where I am as I up-level my spiritual practice of being present in each moment.
From this place of deep gratitude, I release my prayer to the Law of Mind, knowing it is done. I let go and let God. And so it is. Amen.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Sjolund/Flickr