Thursday, January 10, 2013

A wholehearted year: listening

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Yesterday I shared my year-long and life-long goal. I've decided against lists that can be ticked off, but knowing myself, I need some sort of accountability, or I'll slack on it. It took me a while to figure out what kind of on-paper accountability I could set without it becoming a to-do list, but I *think* I figured it out.

On the next couple of days I'll be sharing some strategies I have chosen to focus on in order to work towards my goal. Again, it's not supposed to boil down to forcing a routine or checking things off. I'll let God prompt me in the frequency, time spent and focus for each of these. However, I do believe they are all good things, as Martha Stewart would say.

The first one, in a random list with no particular order, is listening. I am good at talking, I am good at figuring things out, I am good at being distracted. Not so much at listening. 

Listening to God

Sounds obvious, right? But for me most of the time it is so hard. My thoughts get in the way. My feelings get in the way. The business of life gets in the way. So I'll work on listening to God as I'm in the middle of a busy activity, as I sit quietly by myself, as I lay down to sleep. Everywhere and anywhere. 

Listening to others

Do you spend more time thinking about your reply than listening to what someone is telling you? Sometimes I feel like that. I am too busy figuring out how to gently disagree, how to point out a flaw in a line of thinking, or wondering what is the next load of laundry I need to do, that I miss what people say. How people say it. Those in-between the lines that tell us more than the actual words. 

Listening to myself

I was a strict vegetarian for a year and a half, and the best thing out of it for me was that I learned to listen to my body. I may walk up to my fridge thinking I want some milk to go with a cup of tea, only to drop it for a carrot instead. I may feel like taking a nap, only to realise I won't sleep well at night if I do. I may drop what I am doing to run to the grocery store to buy some eye drops instead of letting it go. I firmly believe our bodies are constantly sending us signs, and it is important that we listen.