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Joy is the founder of Facets of Joy. com– a community where exploration is encouraged and heart whispers are affirmed and supported.
You are worthy and deserving of living a life full of peace, joy, love, wonder, awe, delight and possibility. Joy invites you to experience the feeling of inner peace and possibility, even while the heart continues to heal and grow. She offers a variety of personal sessions and e-courses to encourage and support you on your heart-path.
We each want to feel loved and appreciated as we connect with others.
Regardless of the label we are wearing as we connect – parent, friend, child, student, sibling, spouse or significant other – we intend for our relationships to feel enlivening and fulfilling. When we speak we wish to be heard, understood, accepted and appreciated. We also want the person we are connecting with to feel the same.
Have you ever had the experience of feeling like you had something truly meaningful and significant to share with a person but, as you spoke, you noticed that their attention was on something that wasn’t you? No matter how excited you originally were to speak, your energy deflates and you feel insignificant and small.
It’s likely that you feel neither loved nor appreciated. It’s also likely that you will be less enthusiastic about participating in future conversations with that person, even if they invite you to share.
Because I believe that what we focus upon grows, let’s flip the example around and explore a positive experience of connection. You have something really important to say and the person you wish to share it with looks you in the eye, is in a relaxed position ready to receive whatever it is you wish to say and you feel so comfortable you speak straight from your heart. As you speak, the person encourages you to continue with gestures such as nodding in agreement and facial expressions that convey empathy. They don’t interrupt, they keep on listening. You talk on, often joyfully sharing far more than you intended to.
This is the power of presence to active listening. You feel peace, love, gratitude. Your bond is strengthened. Your heart is happy. And, you look forward to speaking together again. How refreshing!
You can clearly see how active listening can be a valuable communication tool. Simply by making the time to be fully present to what is being shared – as the speaker and as the listener – you are adding value to the relationship. You are practicing being unconditional love!
Often, when we think of unconditional love, our minds create excuses and doubt as to ‘how’ we can experience this energy in our connections, in daily life. Unconditional love feels like an energy reserved for those in ‘special circumstances’, not something we can access today, as we are.
Yet, this simple example of active listening shows how easy it can be to share unconditional love.
Natural Ways to Move Energy While Actively Listening
It is important to move energy while connecting. The intention is to move energy through our bodies and through the room to keep the energy fresh and the conversation ‘flowing’.
Sometimes, a challenge with active listening is that it requires us to be a bit vulnerable as we share from heart space. To listen without judgment or criticism even if what is being presented is something we don’t agree with, touches us in a tender space, or is unfamiliar and requires engaging mind in learning something new.
These tips offer ways to keep energy flowing, even if we feel vulnerable.
1. Have access to plenty of fresh air. This serves to move energy through the space and to enliven the energy that is in it.
2. Ensure there is fresh water to drink. This is an energetic way of ‘tapping into flow’ while also moving energy through the body and refreshing energy in it.
3. Periodically take a deep cleansing breath – restoring energy and ‘clearing the air’.
Presence to Active Listening: Tips for an Enriching Experience
1. Meet in a space that is comfortable and familiar to the listener and speaker.
2. Agree upon a specific block of time for the conversation.
3. Remove potential distractions – such as cell phones and electronic devices.
4. Make eye contact.
5. Take the time to move energy, using the tips above.
6. Receive in the meaning of the words being shared as well as the feeling being conveyed.
7. At the conclusion of the conversation, thank each other for the time, energy and presence that was shared.
As you read through these tips, please remember that you can customize them to any situation. Active listening can be done spontaneously; it doesn’t ‘need to be a formal, planned’ process. If you are engaged in something and a loved one wishes to speak, you may stop what you are doing and begin the process of active listening or you may explain that you may be fully present for the conversation at a future time.
What I find fun about active listening is that it is a gift that can be shared with any person at any time. Sometimes we think of gifts as ‘costing a lot of money’ or something that ‘might not fit the person’s interests’; active listening is a gift that is priceless and custom to each person.
Much peace and abundant love,