Close your eyes and listen. Name 5 sounds you hear.
Now, close your eyes again and listen a bit more closely. What is the closest sound you can hear? The sound furthest away? What is the quietest sound?
Ok, now that you are in tuned into your sense of hearing, let’s talk about listening.
The off-the-top-of-my-head stages of listening:
- Hearing the sound. Screech! Beep, beep, beep.
- Understanding the sound (prescribing meaning to the sound). The garbage truck is backing up.
- Hearing the sound and noticing the feeling in the sound. Look out! Danger! Alert!
- Hearing the sound and noticing and claiming your own response to it. For me, anxiety, frustration, tension in my stomach. Sensitive Ear Girl hates the abrupt, annoying noise.
In conversation with another person, the stages may look like this:
- She’s speaking. I hear words.
- Oh, she wants me to pick up some eggs at the store.
- Hmmm, she sounds stressed. Her body is tense. I wonder if she is having a hard day?
- Wow. As she is talking to me, I’m starting to feel stressed and tense. This tension and pressure is building in my stomach and chest.
Listening versus Magical Listening
I was in an Ortho-bionomy workshop the weekend before last. We practiced this exercise that really demonstrated the power of Magical Listening.
And yes, I know I haven’t described what makes listening magical yet. I will soon. Rest assured. 🙂
We were in pairs. One person told a story about something difficult or challenging or painful happening in their life. The other listened.
As the listener, I watched as my partner went from being quite upset and frustrated, to being sad and depressed, to being angry and then…. to describing insight after insight into what this event meant within the full context of her life.
Epiphany after epiphany rolled out of her. Her energy went from heavy and stuck to flowing and excited. An injury that was associated with her story released a bit and she suddenly experienced more ease of movement and less pain in that part of her body.
All I did was listen.
Ok, that’s not all I did. We’re still getting to that. 🙂
First, have you ever been in a situation where a friend is coming to you, distraught, with some painful story?
As a listener, what did you do?
Perhaps you listened quietly. Perhaps you interrupted and offered a different perspective. Perhaps you gave some thoughtful advice.
Yes, they did feel better. They were comforted and heard – very powerful, necessary things.
What if, however, it is possible for them to *also* receive insight, resolution and transformation?
That’s the difference between listening and Magical Listening.
Listening is Stage 3 – hearing the words and paying attention to body language and the underlying emotion and feelings as someone is talking.
Magical Listening is Stage 4 – noticing what happens in you as the other is speaking.
Paying attention to yourself and your own responses while engaged with another is what makes Magical Listening possible. It creates this incredible sense of safety and connection.
It allows for the other person to feel heard and comforted, yes. It also allows them re-find their own sense of wellbeing and to receive insights about their stuff from themselves.
(How and Why this occurs is the subject for another time.)
Now, there is a bit more to it than just noticing your own reactions and responses as the other speaks. Specifically, there are 3 parts:
Release (re-find your own sense of wellbeing)
Through reading these words you are, in a sense, listening to me. And, you are likely experiencing some kind of response. Tune into that response.
What do you notice…
…in your thoughts?
…in your emotions?
…in the sensations in your body?
Whatever it is (calmness, boredom, anxiety, tension, tightness, expansiveness…), just notice it. Just allow it to be there.
Notice – Feel – Release
Now that you’ve noticed your own response to my words, you can acknowledge it and let yourself feel it.
For instance: hmmm, there is this pressure in my throat and tension in my stomach. I’m feeling anxious – not sure if I’m doing this right or if I can do it at all.
Often, just noticing and acknowledging your response is enough for it to let go and for you to return to a place of greater calm and wellbeing.
Other-times, it may take a bit more mindfulness to let go of whatever arises in you.
The quickest and easiest way I know to release tension is to exaggerate it, hold the exaggeration, and then let it go on its own.
For instance: I place my awareness on the pressure in my throat and use my mind to consciously increase the pressure there.
For the gripping in my stomach, I can clench my stomach a bit tighter, exaggerating that pattern of tension in my body.
With emotions, I find and exaggerate the physical sensations associated with for example, anxiety, in my body OR I can simply intensify the emotion itself.
What about that urge to help?
Or to interrupt? To offer suggestions? Or advice?
Same thing. Notice the urge, find the physical sensations associated with the urge in your body, consciously exaggerate the urge and then, let it go.
For all of the above, being in Owl Eyes helps immensely – Owl Eyes allows you to feel the feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them.
Magical Listening isn’t easy, at least not at first. It takes play and practice.
It requires listening to yourself through monitoring your emotions, your sensations, your urges, and then not acting on any of them externally.
Instead, all of the work happens inside of you. You notice your reaction, you allow yourself to fully feel it and then… you let it go.
You change yourself.
You return to your sense of wellbeing.
Through re-connecting with your wellbeing, you energetically model how to return to wellbeing for your friend.
A deep sense of safety, connection and comfort is established and your friend begins to experience increased wellbeing simply due to your Magical Listening skills. Insights, transformation and resolution of patterns becomes possible.
It feel like magic. It is magic.
I love to hear your thoughts, however deep or mundane. Just saying hi works too. 🙂
What does this whole concept of Magical Listening spark in you? Have you ever listened in this way (or been listened to)?