Creating Connection Through Listening

 

Creating a deep connection with someone is probably one the most satisfying things we experience as humans. It is so powerful because we are, in actuality, creating a deep connected relationship with ourselves. We all come from the same source, so we are all linked. Because of this, we feel an elation when we relate to another…through intimacy, business, parenting…in all areas of our life.

On the flip side, that desire can cause a great obstacle in our journey to awakening, because of our ‘need’ for acceptance. We want to have connection so badly, that we may mold ourselves to the ways of another. This desire is so strong that it can feel like a necessity of survival.

However, once we wake up to the beauty of our individuality AND unity, we begin to remember that no matter what it looks like on the outside, we are never alone.

At this point, having a connection with someone becomes a matter of creation, rather than life or death. And, we can choose how we want to experience it. How do we do that? One way is through our listening. When we listen and interact with intention, we create the space where worlds are made. Our world.

Compassionate listening is a tool we can use to build a close relationship with another. A connection where they can feel heard and accepted and fully expressed. It is important to note, that we are not responsible for the feelings of others. We can only control 3 things in our lives…our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. This is a very freeing realization in the sense that, if we are not in control (responsible) for anothers feelings, then they are not in control of us…and our feelings.

That being said, we ARE responsible for the energy we put out into the world. A perfect example of that is with our children.

Our children learn by modeling our actions and behaviors. This becomes their baseline. How we relate to them is how they learn to relate to others. Compassionate listening gives them the space to express themselves, as well as, to see how we unconditionally love them.

There are for main points to keep in mind when using this tool. Before that, however, we decide to have the intention of using it. Once you have stated your intention, it begins to integrate. And, soon you won’t even remember the mechanics of it, only the feelings.

The first is to listen intently.

The second is to listen without judgment.

The third is to refrain from interrupting.

The fourth is to refrain from comparing.

This system benefits both involved.

The listener experiences expressing unconditional love, true presence, the freedom of living in non judgment and without comparison.

The listened to, experiences unconditional love, release and safety.

They both benefit from a true connection. This results in a more authentic relationship with themselves and each other.

I always know when I use this with my children because of how they react, and how it feels when we are together.

The other day my son wanted to make a fort in the living room. This is a huge undertaking in our house. We use every piece of furniture, plus the dining chairs. There is never a place to sit because the cushions are off the couches and chairs and the whole thing looks like a huge mess to me. Not to mention I am the one that usually cleans it up after he goes to bed.

I was a big fat NO to this request. I was tired and didn’t want the hassle of it all. He was a big fat REACTION to my no. And why wouldn’t he be? Building a fort is super cool and fun and expresses his desire to build and create. It is the perfect kid thing.

It is the perfect kid thing. Then I started to realize that this was the conversation I always had with my mother around doing anything messy. And, I remembered my commitment to do things differently with my children. So I said…ok lets talk about this.

And he did…he must have talked for 10 minutes about what he wanted to do and how it would look and what we could do in it and how sister could help. I listened intently. I let go of the judgment about the mess and I didn’t interrupt. I also chose to stop comparing my experience with his. And things shifted.

There are so many seemingly unpredictable outcomes when using compassionate listening. One, is that the listener expands….expands in their perception of what is really going on for themselves and the other person. Another, is that an understanding emerges, one that can only come through aligning with another.

When I said ok, and we started to build, you would have thought that heaven had dropped into our living room…the funny thing is…it had.  His face lit up and his body moved with such freedom and grace. I had so much energy and we played and built and i’ll never forget it.

This experience benefited both of us equally. I don’t always say yes to forts…but I do more now than I used to. I was even able to express my feelings with him on the clean up situation. Since then, he has taken on helping to put everything away, and we make a game out of that,too.

This is such a small example of how compassionate listening can shift your experience and the experience of others. I use it with my clients, my husband, my family, my children. It works, and when I don’t use it..I can totally tell. Things don’t flow and all involved feel stuck.

When we open up to new ideas and fill ourselves with tools that align with universal laws we see magic. This world is a beautiful playground. Apply this and watch how much more fun it can be…..LOVE.

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The smile that rocked the world…ok my world.

It’s 3am and I hear Mila crying on the monitor. Chris is working out of town this week and I’m snuggled up to Nick in a king size bed which he has completely taken over. Nicky has always slept with us. He sometimes starts out in his bed but rarely sees a sunrise from it. Even though I started chemo again this week, I’m doing good. I feel unnaturally awake and peaceful as I walk to her room. As she whimpers softly I reach down to get her and feel a wet sticky area on her pj’s. I turn on the light and look at her. She is a mess. Something she ate earlier is all over her little body. She must have been rubbing her head with those chubby little hands because her hair is sticking up everywhere. She looks like a miniature twisted sister without the shredded neon leggings or the make up. And she is smiling.

I strip her down and wrap up the sheets like the super hero mom I am with one hand while holding her on my hip. Now, she is laughing. And then I notice something…I’m not upset. I’m not angry or frustrated that the sheets had just been changed. And the biggest thing is that I’m not upset that I’m awake. I’m laughing with her. This is huge for me.

I look in her eyes and at that beautiful little face. She is lit up like I have never experienced seeing her before. It was as if time stopped as we were looking at each other. She was free. She was safe. She was totally and completely feeling loved and cherished. And I got it…that beautiful a ha moment when you see the results of the Work… every tear you have ever cried, every fear you have ever faced has been worth it.

It sounds small doesn’t it? Such a little thing…a fleeting moment. But to us it was a moment of connection that I will continue to build on for the rest of her life. My old patterning would have look something like,… completely exasperated, angry, even victim like… Doesn’t she know I need to sleep? Why did she have to throw up everywhere? Every single button I had would have been pushed. That’s not to say I don’t have my moments. But for this one, I was present. Present to how she might be feeling, what she might be needing. And she felt that. She felt me holding the space for her. I was able to truly see her because I wasn’t in the way.

As parents we have been trained through all that we have experienced or felt or heard in our lives.  So, when similar situations or feelings arise we react as we did then….but with our child. Have you ever been in a situation where you see your son or daughter do something, and you tell yourself…I’m not going to get upset, I’m not going to get angry… and then you find yourself screaming? Hmmm.

That’s our brain pattern. All of our unresolved issues from our past start seeping out when THEY think it’s time. There is nothing wrong here. It just is. For those of us though, who want to increase our connection with our children, reacting doesn’t work.

So how do we get to a place of responding instead of reacting? It takes something that’s for sure. It takes a lot…I guess that’s why I call it The Work. The first part is to become an observer of YOUR thoughts, feelings, and actions. What are my patterns? Where do I flip out?…(and this can also look like withdrawing, pushing down the feeling) Is my frustration true or reasonable? Do I immediately punish or give consequence? Do I ignore?

Very few people I know get excited about this next piece, but here it is…Journal. Write it all down. Its the only way to start seeing more clearly. And now you have begun.

Mila’s waking up again…hopefully the sheets are clean…….