Now Listen Closely…

                             Investing vs Not Being Able To Afford Something
The older I get and the more I talk to people, the more I realise that it’s the small differentiations that make up 90% of the misunderstandings and conflicts in the world. I’m not even exaggerating.
Someone posts against animal cruelty on Facebook. Someone else will jump in and say: “It would be better if people cared for starving multitudes and people who are tortured and war victims and and and…” Now if you look at it, this statement makes NO sense, because it assumes that to care about one cause must mean one can’t care about anything else.
I care about people AND animals. I care about all living things equally. Some people might only care about one or the other, but you can’t possibly know this from just one post on FB. D’oh!
Then there are the many, many people, from atheists to pagans, who denounce “religion” as the root of all evil. It’s a wrong statement. What they mean is “organised” religion. Indeed, many hierarchical religious organisations have problems with too much power on certain levels, and abuse of power on all. Religion, however, comes from Latin re-ligere which means re-connection, or connecting back. That’s exactly what I’m doing. I am religious, not just “spiritual” which by its name refers to the spirit. My religion encompasses body, soul, mind, and spirit equally.
Don’t get me wrong, please: I’m not saying everyone needs to agree with me. What they should do though, is use the correct term when complaining about something. It would prevent a lot of misunderstandings.
A while ago, I wrote on this blog that Samhain/Hallowe’en isn’t actually proven to have been the “Celtic New Year”. People came back protesting that they “could celebrate the New Year when they chose”. You know what? They’re right, and I never said otherwise. If the 1st of November makes sense to you as the New Year, by all means declare it your New Year, and more power to you. However, please don’t say it’s the “Celtic New Year” because we don’t really know whether that’s true. A lot about the Celts is still in doubt.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Small differences. Try relationships: how many times have you argued with an “other half”, only to find that you had misunderstood each other, and jumped to conclusions? I believe I’m noticing these things more now because of my training as a Coach. Coaching is all about a deep, inner listening that has to be learned and practised. My clients often wonder how much of our conversations I remember – well, it’s because I’m really really listening. It’s a skill that can be learned and practised, and one of the reasons why I recommend to get Coaching from someone who has a recognised qualification. It’s also why it’s not recommended to do more than 3 sessions of Coaching with clients a day; you just couldn’t keep it up. It eats up a lot of energy.
We can’t all become Coaches, but to listen more closely is something everyone can do. I am so invested in this that I started a new series of very short videos (around 2 minutes each) called “The Sparkly Difference”. Every weekend I publish another video explaining a small but important difference. The first one is posted above; check out the latest on my website or on YouTube and let me know what you think!
It’s astonishing what a shift it is to listen more closely. Incidentally, it’s also one of the skills I’m training as a pagan. Inner listening, intuitive listening are things I employ when I’m in nature. It’s different from listening to words, of course, but the idea is the same: I aim to see what’s there as it is, not as I interpret it after only half-perceiving it. I can only tune into the energy of a tree or a brook when I don’t push my pre-conceived idea of the tree or the brook on top of it. I need to employ this unfashionable quality, humility, when approaching them.
Maybe a little more humility in general would do us humans good in our interactions?

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8 thoughts on “Now Listen Closely…

  1. Patrizia

    Beautiful post and very true. We don't always listen to others; we're too busy thinking up our own response. You're right that this does leads to misunderstandings. It's definitely a skill I should work on.

  2. I think we're all guilty of this a lot of the time! I know for me it's especially when I'm angry or impatient – I just want to make my point and screw the other person, haha 🙂

  3. Hi Sibylle,

    communication in general is something a lot of people could work on 😉 If not everyone…
    My boyfriend and I sometimes have firy discussions about semantics lol… It's all about the right words. That is something, women are generally better in than men.
    In any argument it is so important to listen to the other party, and actually trying to genuinly understand their point of view…only then can the solution be found.
    But your point about nature is so true, too. How can anyone feel anything, or see anything, if you don't open up to it, without prejudice.

  4. It is important to speak precisely, as well as listen. Although sometimes we need to listen with goodwill, too – especially in arguments it's usually not conductive to split hairs and call the other person out on every bit of imprecise language. I know because I've done it, lol!
    Thank you for, well, listening 🙂

  5. Spot on! My boyfriend and I had this conversation last night, actually. How we've misunderstood each other on a certain topic and when that happens blame comes out and the topics just keep coming up because we never really stopped to listen to each other. What a relief to finally get it all cleared up!

    Oh! And I didn't know that little fact about the word “religion,” Love it.

  6. It happens soooo quickly, that we *think* we got what the other person is saying, and then we build our entire idea and argument on that, although it isn't actually true! I do find it helps though to have an awareness of that happening, then we are less likely to insist on our version of “the truth” forever and it doesn't take as long to clear up misunderstandings ❤

  7. Language does so much for shaping our perceptions of the world, which don't necessarily coincide with what's real. I was chuckling last night at someone making the comment “we won't have any weather until later in the week.” Um, when don't we have weather? Another favourite of mine is “when the sun comes out.” Actually, the clouds move away. Or the concepts of sunrise and sunset when really the earth is rotating to take us out of view.

    Listening to others and ourselves for what we truly mean is so critical, and really worth the effort often required to get to talking about 'apples and apples'.

    Oh, great distinction on investing vs not affording.

  8. Haha, I love your examples – so true! Language is often imprecise, but at least in cases like “the sun comes out”, we pretty much all know what is really meant.

    In individual conversation it's not always this clear. And like you say, it's important to be on the same page if we want to understand each other.

    Glad you like the video! 🙂

    Much love xx

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