Listen to listen and not to respond….awhile back I read this quote on Facebook and it really stuck with me. Before this it never had occurred to me. I think it reigns so true and powerful because that’s the reality for many of us. Most of us hear what is spoken but simultaneously are actually preparing to answer. Sometimes we truly don’t listen just to hear but to respond.
All my life I’ve had the gift of gab, even as a young girl I talked and talked and I’m sure I drove people crazy! I can’t help talking about my life and experiences and when I’m listening to others, sometimes honestly I’m thinking of my life connections and responses. So if I am fully aware of this behavior, how can I switch my brain?
It might help to write in your journal what you notice when you really start observing your behavior. In this case jotting it down could be a learning experience and a good reminder to truly listen to others. By being totally aware and encompassed in spoken words, you may find that you grow to be an avid listener.
Why not really listen to someone? Friends and family don’t always need advice or suggestions but an interested listener.When participating in a conversation I am trying to listen now, really lending an open ear. It’s harder than one thinks, it means clearing your brain of come backs and thoughts.
Listening without thoughts of replies must be an art. I personally know many people who could learn to listen, including myself! If you wish to better yourself in mutual caring conversation, practice listening with a genuine interest to listen and not to respond.
Many times we simply want to be heard…are you all ears?
Here I am drinking my morning cup of coffee…watching snow fall out the window! It’s late April, on the cusp of May, robins have returned and lilac bushes have sported tender buds. Despite all this, the white stuff falls! Mother Nature has plans to wreck our carefree spirit, the wonderful feeling we have here when spring arrives.
Just yesterday I walked down the road with bounding joy, watching all the birds fly in circles and noticed tiny buds on bushes and plants. The sun warmed our house and yard and I opened windows to invite the fresh spring air in.
As I get ready to go to school, I have to say weather in New Hampshire is tough, but the people are tougher! We will wake up tomorrow with the snow all melted with rings of laughter and head shakes.
Most evenings Tom and I gaze at the celestial sky through the window while lying in bed. Just across our bed a small window serves as a makeshift skylight. This particular evening a cloud cover hid the bounty of twinkling stars but instead there was a natural melody playing.
A beautiful chorus of peepers traveled from the pond. We spent several minutes listening to these nature calls, a comforting song of nature. These sounds are actually male frogs calling their female mates. It lulled us to sleep, as sweet as can be. The cheeping sounds reminds me of past nights with open windows and cool air wafting in. They are a sure sign of warmer bright days and a gracious hello of spring.
Across our yard, bordering our property line is a small pond. Sometime in the past ( the 50’s or 60’s) a local ROTC built the ponds barrier.A steady brook from the woods empties this body of water. The run off rushes into a culvert under the road.
When we first acquired the home, the pond was in good shape and healthy. Years of non maintenance has left overgrown weeds and water plants, shrinking the pond itself. We’ve concentrated on our home renovation, not really having the time to maintain it. Our goal is to dig it out with a backhoe and cut back all the plants and weeds that have taken over. I dream of a little dirt path to it, as well as beautiful flowers on its edge.
I expect to hear the peepers tunes hum for a few weeks. Their beautiful croaking is surely a gift for us to enjoy …the sounds of spring.
What signs of spring are you seeing? If you are experiencing a different season, what do you see or hear now?
B chose his college this week. We all patiently waited for it as he struggled with his heart and brain. His brain told him one thing while his heart said another. My advice is always go with your heart when making a tough decision because you want to be happy. Choosing a college with your heart means you’re listening to your desires….choosing your happiness.
Life is all about taking chances with decisions at every turn. Like any major decision in this life, there’s a distinct risk. Instead of focusing on what could be a negative experience, why not peer at the positive side and think, what are all the magnificent events that will happen? Most of us could say that without taking risks, our lives would be quite different. I wouldn’t be employed by the school or hold my degree without them.
Looking back on my life, there were many times I made decisions with my brain and not my heart. Obviously I can’t go back and redo those times, but over the years I’ve learned that listening to your heart and your inner most desires is the key to happiness.
Another important point I want to mention is to make decisions for yourself and not to make others happy. Everyone in your life won’t always support your decision but it doesn’t matter at all. You’re not living to impress them…you’re living your life and no one elses! B had this huge weight on him and in the end, he decided for his life and personal goals.
For those who know me personally, you know I like to post on Facebook all my sons’ accomplishments and what is going on in their lives. Lately I’ve held back due to B’s request, ” Mom, don’t put my college decision on Facebook. ” He’s a humble guy and doesn’t need multiple likes or approval to build his self esteem. I’m proud of him for that, he’s not driven by media attention. He did say I could write about it here and so in the fall B will attend Mount Ida College in Massachusetts, about 2 1/2- 3 hours from here. It’s minutes from Boston and will be great for internships. Tom and I are so very proud of B’s accomplishments and look forward to hearing about his college adventures!
Do you have children making college decisions right now or recently?
A piece of my past that was tucked away in my conscience where remembrances hide, came back to life two years ago. I never would have guessed that my middle school dance memories would breathe life again or would even matter.
Let’s fast forward about 32 years and imagine my intense surprise when my son, D told me that his high school prom was going to be held at the Alumni Hall! It meant nothing to him, as I had never mentioned it to him before. He did know that I grew up in Haverhill but didn’t know that the Doyle ( my maiden name) residence stood on Court Street.
The historic Alumni Hall grandly sits on quaint Court Street in Haverhill, New Hampshire. In the 19th century this grandmother served as the local courthouse and later in the 20th century as a gymnasium for the Haverhill Academy middle school.
This place speaks history to me, as I lived a few houses down Court street from her. I was one of hundreds of students who played organized gym games on its old wooden floor with the historic stage in the background. Our school, Haverhill Academy, stood a few feet away facing one of the commons. From the back yard we could walk on a short path leading to the hall. Years later the town built a tennis court with basketball hoops adjacent to the path and it still stands today.
As a seventh and eighth grader, I attended dances at the Alumni Hall. For me, it was magnificent to live just five houses up on the right. I could walk to the dances! It was especially magical strolling back under a cloak of stars and the cool night air enveloping me. I remember having that dance high from the loud music and people and the adrenaline pushing me back home.
I vividly remember taking my cousin Janice to the dance and the fun we had, walking towards the venue. Loud music belted from its every corner on a fine spring evening. I try to forget that sad sorrowful feeling of waiting to be asked to dance by a certain boy. Although it never happened, someone did ask me to dance…but I refused. I had my heart set on one boy and was stupid enough to not even consider others. I danced fast tunes with my friends but didn’t dance any slow ones.
It was an early evening in May and as my mother in law, Theo and I went to the prom to snap photos of D and his date, my stomach was like jello. It was so many years later after that spring dance in this same building….I had transformed from a young teenager with my promising life ahead of me to now, a grown mama and wife. Now I was going to my son’s dance at the same place. It was unbelievable and will never happen again.
All the boys sported tuxes of black or white with slicked back hair and hopeful smiles. A colorful sea of gowns of teals, peaches, bright royal blues to frosty pinks decorated the front lawn. The girls tinkly little giggles and the subtle clicks of numerous cameras was drowned out by the boys chattering. As we took pictures of all the handsome couples on the lawn, a huge green tractor inched by and everyone laughed.
Inside the hall the tables and chairs were gift wrapped in satin like material and tulle. Little white lights twinkled, shining over the renovated wood floor. This didn’t look like the same place where my dance was, a different Alumni hall in a different time ages ago. I still could imagine what our dance looked like.
Soon after our family moved from Haverhill, the town closed the building. It was falling apart and unsafe and needed an expensive facelift. Years later the funds were gathered and renovations busily began. After the renovation, the historic hall remained with all its splendor but rejuvenated into a fine classy grandmother.
Now the Alumni Hall is a great cultural center for the arts. I have gone to a Betty Johnson Gray show there and it was an amazing night. Betty Gray is a prominent singer who hales from New York City but lives in a sprawling mansion next door to Haverhill Academy.
It’s an amazing circumstance when ones past goes full circle and meets you in the present. Those past moments that rise up and come back to life are staunch reminders that life has incredible connections. As a silly teenager girl, I once attended these exciting dances, now grown into a wonderful woman and being a spectator there for my son. That young girl would never have imagined that her oldest son would dance at the same place and how lovely her life would turn out to be!