discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

Here’s An Idea

According to NPR, the day after Thanksgiving is the National Day Of Listening.  The concept stems from their highly successful StoryCorps Program, and the theory is that the most important way to honor someone is to listen to him/her.  To hear a story with full attention, so intent that you could integrate it into a memory worth saving.  Listening with your mind free of anticipated responses, shopping lists, wandering thoughts – can you quantify the value of such a gift?  Can you imagine how much it would be appreciated?

Ask someone to tell you a story.  If you are indulging in some quiet after the deluge of family and friends, listen to the silence.  It too has a tale to tell.  Our stories matter, they are our perspectives of personal history and seminal moments,  unfettered joy and unhealed wounds.  They define us far more than adjectives.  They shape us far more than any exercise regimen (which is not a knock on exercise).  Yet, when was the last time you heard a tale?  And, what would be the story you would tell?

To me, that is where the wonder of this season is – in the giving of one’s heart while lending an ear.  And in being awed by the gift we’re given every time we  listen.  Happy Friday everybody.





38 thoughts on “Here’s An Idea”

  1. Love the quote. Read it and had one of those “ah ha” moments. In our crazy, busy world, silence is very often silenced which is so sad. It is those moments of quiet, of calm, of reflection that, as you so rightly said, shape us. Beautiful and thoughtful post for Black Friday. I much prefer the idea of spending a day in silence, listening, than to spending a day in the mall!

    1. I’m with you Laurie..in fact, I am one who prefers to stay as far away from the mall as possible. I think they’re over-stimulating on a regular day – I can’t imagine what they must be like today!

  2. Love, love, love StoryCorps and listen to it religiously. :-). Active listening is truly an art, and so very important. Thank you for this timely post, sweet friend. I think that listening to someone and letting that person know that he/she is truly *heard* is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow. Xox, l

    1. Me too…:-) I had to take classes in active listening in grad school – I’ve never forgotten the challenge of it. And the enrichment. I’m with you – as always – truly listening is an act of love and a gift of inestimable value..xox

  3. I always know a friendship, or relationship, has reached one of it’s finer points when silence between two people is golden, safe and comfortable as opposed to awkward, ore empty, and I couldn’t agree more, than listening to another person, in such a way that they can’t help but know you really heard them is one of the best gifts you can give to another. I won’t be anywhere near a shopping mall today, nor making lists, just trying to enjoy the space in between with a friend headed over for a visit today. Enjoy the peace and quiet of a day just for you… xoxo me

  4. Thanks Mimi! Your post was so much more meaningful than the Black Friday ads that so quickly replaced the campaign onslaught!

    I hope that pretty jaw of yours us feeling better!


  5. Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    This is interesting after watching the Black Friday crowds and some of the lack of listening. This morning I watched a PBS show and was introduced to the work of Harvard neuroscientist, Rudolph Tanzi. His work is done under the rubric of contemplative mindfulness. Listening and being present, an essential component of mindfulness, work together.

  6. A very strange idea, Mimi. I’ve always thought that listening was in my interest, more than in the interest of anyone else. When I listen, I learn… and at the same time get to know the person who is saying something. I don’t have to work much… just to open up. The more I get to know the modern western culture, the more everything seems upside down. And now I find, that by listening, I’m giving something to the story teller? I’ll have to think long and hard about that one…

    1. You are giving the gift of yourself – just as you are receiving the gift of ther knowledge, their history, their perspective, their heart. I can’t disagree with the point that many things are upside down with the western culture – but the concept of recipricioty is not lost to me when it comes to the benefits of truly listening to another.

      1. Okay, I’m listening. It’s just that I think a person listening, who thinks he’s giving a gift takes himself a little too seriously… but I’ll think about it. Thank you for widening my horizons…

      2. I’m smiling…My hunch is that your horizons are quite wide and that perhaps on some level you are humoring me – which I appreciate. My background is in psychology, my experiences largely with people who feel both misunderstood and not heard. I don’t think of it as taking one’s self to seriously – I think of it as seriously giving others what they deserve of me. My attention – that’s all. Have a good remainder of your day..Mimi

      3. I’m very glad that I was able to bring a smile to your lips. Here it is night time, and I just finished a late dinner, and am waiting to see the results of a political primary that is almost over. Before that, I gave a lecture on aesthetics. My students listened, and some of them were furiously writing notes… on paper, little lap tops, and tablets. I didn’t feel like they were giving me any presents by listening to me. Actually, I felt like an entertainer… and it was my job to keep their minds working… it seems quite true that we are influenced by our professional experience. I’m not really humoring you… I know that I’m old and old fashioned… and I have a fascination for western view of things. Sometimes, the conventions seem a little painful, but I do try to understand new (for me) ideas. The idea that listening is a gift to the person who is speaking is a new idea for me…

  7. wow great point here. I didn’t realize the letters were the same in each word. It really is a gift when someone chooses to listen to me (a story, an idea, w/e), so how can I not give that gift to someone else? Listening is maybe the only gift that is appropriate to re-gift. Haha is that fair?

  8. Good observation. There is a saying that one gains a lot of knowledge by LISTENING with out causing hindrance in between.
    Probably for that reason the words LISTEN and SILENT just exchanged beautifully.

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