For decades, my chosen career path required me to speak, out loud. Talking became a frenetic activity. Fast and energetic, anxiety-driven, at times disordered.
As I’ve transitioned into life coaching, talking is taking a back seat. The beauty of this practice is learning to listen deeply. Listening so well that the questions I’m privileged to ask emerge from what I’ve heard someone share. With no agenda.
This discipline is spilling beyond my work and filtering through my daily interactions. My multi-tasking self now focuses on one thing at a time. I’m immediately aware when I’m not giving someone my full attention, and I quickly know when I’m being heard – or not.
It’s the space.
You know it when you experience it.
Instead of filling up the conversation or dinner gathering or walk in the park with chatter, you listen and think about what someone is expressing. You no longer share a similar experience every single time. You respond to the whole person with whom you’re engaging.
“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.” Henri Nouwen
If you’re like me, you strive to have the right words to say, or write or share.
Maybe what will make the most difference is what takes place between, or before or after the words.