Conscious Listening is Active Loving

I admit it, I jump to conclusions. I overlook details. Sometimes I move too quickly. This is the shadow side of my Sagittarian nature, constantly restless, exploratory, on the road to the next adventure. Admittedly, this can have some gypsy magic to it…and it can also drive people nuts.

Listening is a skill associated with the planet Mercury. Paying attention to the details is yet another Mercury function. When we listen, we show that we care, that we have interest in and respect for what others are saying. This demonstrates that we’re truly paying attention.

Most of us have probably had an ultimately frustrating experience like this: You’re sharing a story with a friend that’s important to you. They appear to be paying attention and listening. But when you finish, they look at you blankly. It seems as if they’ve listened, but have actually spaced out instead. Their vacant gaze says it all, or their haste to change the subject. If you’re checking out someone as serious love material, would that response be a turn-on? Not!

Conscious listening requires concentration and discipline. There are a million distractions from sun-up to sun-down. At one point I realized that I couldn’t multi-task anymore. The phone conversations that I used to be able to have while checking email, paying bills or even watering the plants are no longer possible. I wasn’t being fully present. This wasn’t just Sagittarian scatteredness, but the old, bad belief that the person on the other end of the phone wouldn’t notice. When I’d hang up, I wouldn’t be satisfied. The connection hadn’t really been made.

Don’t forget, we’re part animal. Animals know instinctively how to be present. That instinctive part of us tells us if we’re being listened to or not. So even if you find yourself on the receiving end of a conversation with someone who is about as interesting as dirt to you, make their day–for a minute or two, genuinely listen. Ask questions. Take in their answers. There was probably a time in your life when someone felt exactly the same way about you…and perhaps their kindness, their ability to listen, made all of the difference.

The more that we’re heard, the more that we feel connected…to ourselves and others. I know a wonderful man who usually considers himself invisible and unimportant. A group of friends gathered together to celebrate his 60th birthday with a surprise party. He arrived at his apartment that night, arms full of groceries for one, when the lights went on and everyone yelled, “Surprise!”

Here’s the topper: for gifts, each friend had decided to share a memory of why this man was so special to them. Mercury is the storyteller and, as the birthday celebrant listened, he both wept and laughed. He felt seen and acknowledged. Since that birthday, he’s come out of his shell. A woman too shy to approach him before the party was one of the friends who shared. Now they’re together.

So make a difference. Listen. Listen with love. You just might learn something yourself.

Posted By Joyce Van Horn on Wed Oct 7 19:09:21

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