Real Listening

In Essays, The Daily Drool on July 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm

So the kids and I have been doing a lot of listening exercises, mostly because at 15, 16, 17 years old, your head is flooded with thoughts and ideas and working as an ensemble means leaving those thoughts at the door so you can tune in to one another.   And I’ve noticed, out of these warm-ups, that to really listen- listen with your whole body- you have to leave yourself and step into that intimidating shared space between.

It’s equitable to yon castle keep – You can shout at one another from behind your walls, but it takes a strange kind of courage to step beyond the gate into a border-less landscape and look into another’s eyes.

Because walls = safety (or so we tend to think) But what wealth are we missing from behind them?  The very invention of walls if born of protection, and giving that up (even for a moment) can be frightening, dangerous… or really freaking freeing.

And we’re not talking about anything more than listening.  Because that’s where it starts.

It’s not easy.  It can be really difficult to give someone your full attention!  Not only must you send your ego/judge out to pasture, but to actively listen you can’t just tune in for every other word as you secretly formulate your next speech.  You must really engage in their telling, how they are saying it- their bodies, their eyes, their verve…

And while it’s not possible to be this attentive to every moment in real life, it’s a shame more people aren’t as aware of their own listening habits as these kids are getting to be – because the world around us is just bursting with information, energy, and answers – listening, really listening is just hard enough that we rarely have the genuine experience of ever truly hearing or of  truly being heard.

I imagine if people were walking this earth less immersed in the “Me” and more tuned in to the world, they might be amazed at what they’ve been missing/misunderstanding/ and taking for granted… In fact, taking time to stop, look, and listen might be just the ticket to feeling less outside of things.

And wouldn’t that be lovely?

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