Relationships have been on my mind this week. When you think about this, we are in relationship with everything. . .not just another human being, or our dearest pet.
I am in relationship with my body, my mind, the earth beneath me, the food I eat, my thoughts, my husband, my mother, my computer, my conscious dance practice . . .etc etc.
Hopefully you get where I am going with this!
What I choose to bring to my relationship ‘with’ (whatever/whoever) often effects how that relationship grows or dies.
For example, do I bring patience to my relationship with my demanding boss, or do I bring compassion to my relationship with my controlling mother/father?
Even if the ‘other’ is controlling, difficult, annoying…..for your own peace of mind, and nervous system, you can always CHOOSE to bring whatever you wish to that relationship in that moment.
If you bring ‘anger’ or ‘frustration' to your relationship with your demanding boss…..what do you think is likely to unfold!?
In the same way if you bring 'calmness' to the exchange, then this will certainly have a different outcome.
WE CAN BE MORE MINDFUL of our choices. . . .
as Yoda says beautifully "Do or do not, there is no try"
For me the key in any relationship is COMMUNICATION, practising the art of listening.
To receive. and to transmit, as with any balanced relationship there needs to be both parts for a relationship to flourish.
I believe listening is truly an ART FORM, which often gets forgotten about, taken for granted, or not practiced enough.
We often hear what we want to hear, jumble the words and create different meanings to what was truly meant in the moment.
In the heat of any disagreement, are your truly aware of what you are transmitting?
Do you truly listen 100% when another is communicating to you?
Are you a pure and open channel to receive whatever the other is saying (without getting emotional)?
Or are you only half listening. Perhaps sort of listening and at the same time making assumptions, doing another task at the same time as listening, or taking things personally about what the other is communicating to you in that moment, or being judgemental about the other, or thinking about how you will respond, being distracted and tuning out completely.
We are after all only human, and I think we have all found ourselves in situations where this has happened.
When we become aware of this we can then become more mindful.
The relationships we form are so rich in providing us with knowledge about ourselves. One being the relationship that as women we have with our mothers / daughters. I have been fortunate in working with many mothers and daughters during personalised retreat experiences. The bond I witness is deeply emotional and as a result can be very challenging and revealing. Often we do not wish to hurt or wound the other, but things have to be expressed to be understood. I believe if we are more mindful, and learn the art of listening better, then we can avoid many disagreements altogether.
My invitation this week is for you to choose a relationship (within your family circle). Whether that be your partner/husband/wife, mother/daughter, father/son, father/daughter, mother/son or brother/sister. Choose just one that you wish to consciously LISTEN and pay better attention to this week.
You can choose if the relationship is one that you feel comfortable with, or one that you may feel a little stained/ or out of sync with at the moment. There is no right or wrong way here.
Just choose one to pay attention to this week.
Be aware of
1) Listening 100% to what they wish to say to you
Do your best to not tune out, be fully attentive and listen. Get very good at listening to all the details. Listen to the words/ language used/ and to what is that person communicating to you in that moment. Notice if any judgements or assumptions (on your part) surface and make a choose let them go. Just like in a mediation. Thoughts will come into your mind, but just let them pass by, do not get attached to them and create your own story around them.
2) Allowing the 'other' to express themselves without any interference from you (a practice I like to call non-interference)
As humans we can naturally start to interfere (consciously or unconsciously). Again when you become aware of this happening, let it go. ALLOW, be soft, flexible, and not always in control.
3) Do not bring any ‘negative emotions’ to the situation (from your side). Just intimately listen.
If during the communication you feel any emotions bubbling to the surface, just notice and recognise what this is, and again choose to let it pass by, and return to LISTENING. Receive 100% what the other is communicating to you without getting emotional attached.
4) Consciously choose to bring pure compassion, tenderness and patience to the art of listening.
Observe yourself and see what you discover about yourself during this process, and with the person you are communicating with.
The other person that you choose to practise the art of listening with, doesn’t even need to know that you are doing this (you can of course share it with them totally up to you!)
Become aware of your tendencies as a way to gather information about yourself and understand yourself on deeper levels.
As always I recommend journal-ling about your realisations :)
For me, this is an on-going practice, and some days it is more difficult to master than other days. The more you are aware of your listening skills the more you can learn to hone them better. Like any art-form we can become masterful at it when we mindfully practice. Awareness changes everything!
So if this post has ignited a spark of curiosity within you, and you would like to receive more encouragement, tips and guidance please click here>