The Gift of Silence and the Joy of Listening

Listening to your being and gifting it the feel of what it wants to experience

Today, I listened to what my being wanted to experience – which was time, energy, space and freedom to be – and I gifted that to myself, by ‘throwing out’ my to-do list and tapping into the flow of the day. What unfolded from there, so far, was the joy of a home-cooked, and delicious, breakfast with friends; the pleasure of reading some emails, spontaneously Skyping with a friend, and writing this.

Listening to my being and honoring unfolding is a practice. When it flows like this, with joy and peace and ‘goodness’, that motivates me to keep on practicing. And, it usually flows like this. (Tension typically happens when I don’t listen to my being or honor unfolding.)

One of the emails I read was a newsletter from Cynthia Lee at Restoried Explorations, in which she shared some of her thoughts about listening. And, that she feels curious about exploring and/or weaving a vow of silence of some sort into her day/life (my words, not hers). She ended the newsletter with this invitation “more than sending out words to you, I want to hear your words. I want to listen.”

After reading it, I went about my day. And I thought about her invitation.

I was actually going to post a status update on FB asking how people feel if they read a newsletter invitation like that, if they would respond or not. I decided not to post that, though, because my heart was speaking very clearly with its own guidance. I chose to listen to my inner knowing.

I often issue similar invitations in my newsletter, and I love when people respond and share. (And when people respond and share from their lives, after reading my posts, here and on social media, as well.)

Since I love the connection, why not follow through?! No need to gather other’s opinions when my own heart guidance was so clear.

That’s its own lesson. It’s great to do research and gather guidance from others; I learn so much when I do that, and often different opinions expand my own understanding of something.

But, when I have crystal clear guidance from within, there is no need to ask others! (Plus, following through with what I’ve ‘heard’ regarding my own heart guidance builds inner trust, which can be heart-healing and opening.)

A Bit About my Practice of Honoring Silence, and the Magic and Peace in it

So, I responded to Cynthia. That’s what prompted me to write, here, with you, to share a bit from what I wrote to her.

Many of you might be familiar with me from my previous blog, which I wrote while living aboard a sailboat with my two kids, who were 5&7 when we began that adventure.

I shared with Cynthia that when we lived on the boat, I had a practice of honoring silence for large blocks of time. Usually when the kids were at school.

I will expand upon that with you:

I would choose to intentionally be silent. Not filling space with music or podcasts or anything on in the background. Not going online. Not even writing. I would take those moments to simply be. Of course, there would be the sounds of the wind, and of birds, and of the water lapping at the boat hull. Sounds that invited me to notice, connect with, and celebrate, Source energy, Mother Earth, the natural rhythms of the space I was in.

I would breathe, deeply and intentionally, feeling into the moment, simply being.  Being present to what was in the moment. In silence.

To be clear: I love music. I love being online. I love talking. I love movies and podcasts. Woven into and through daily life, with intention. It can all be, and is to me, inspiring, encouraging, faith-building, soul medicine. And, I love the feel of silence, woven into and through daily life, with intention. which also feels to me inspiring, encouraging, faith-building soul medicine.

I’ve written a lot about the practice of *simply being* in the moment. It’s become how I choose to live, and at times I share those practices with others through writing here, ecourses and personal sessions.

One article from my previous blog, that you might be interested in, that speaks to the power of presence, is “The Magic of the Day“. The article opens with this:

“When we stand in stillness and turn to the sun….We are offering Self to World. When we close our eyes and breathe in the fresh air, We are opening our heart to this very moment, exactly as it is.

I remember those blocks of time filled with silence feeling like a gift to my body, to my being. I became incredibly comfortable with, and in, silence.

I think it was there, in this practice of honoring silence, that I learned how to hold space.

I remember that once, during those boat years, I visited family friends at their home for a vacation and we decided, together, to honor an entire day of silence. It felt like such a beautiful gift!

In this remembering (which fits right in with this current Mercury retrograde energy!) my entire body says ‘yes, please’ to bringing this practice back.

(And, remembering was possible only because Cynthia chose to listen to her heart and to write and I chose to listen to mine and make time to read!)

The Joy of Listening: Sharing one of my Favorite Activities I do with the Toddler-Love

Something else I shared with Cynthia, that I would like to share with you, too, is this:

I am a caregiver to a toddler (if you follow me on social media I call this toddler ‘toddler-love’).

One of my favorite activities to do with him (when he’s in the mood) is to listen to him talk. There is a hammock in the backyard, and I like to sit in it sideways, like a swing, and he climbs in and sits next to me and, as we rock, he picks something he wants to talk about. He says “I want to talk to you about this”, and he talks about the most random stuff, but whatever it is feels important enough for him to say he wants to talk.

My second favorite place to talk with him is my room. I have very few personal possessions; what I do have are ‘tools of magic and presence’ – crystals, my drum, a bell, a glass star, etc. and he’s the only one who can touch them. Sometimes he comes into my room in the morning, or after his nap, and chooses his favorite item to hold and we sit and talk.

He likes having my full attention.

What he chooses to talk about isn’t always interesting to me and is sometimes silly; for example, one conversation started with ‘do you like to eat bugs?”. As long as I listen, though, and nod encouragingly or say a word or two to confirm something, he’ll keep talking. Sometimes for an hour.

I love it! I love his sense of wonder, curiosity, his word choice, his enthusiasm. I can tell that in those moments my listening is a gift to him. It lights my heart, and I will hold space for him as long as he wants, so happy to hear what he has to say.

When he is done, he ‘wraps it up’ and he either chooses something else to do, or leaves the space. And, I think, how special that we share this ‘talk’.

Sometimes his parents will check-in to make sure he’s not ‘bothering me’. I tell them each time that it’s joyful for me. It really is!

I think the greatest gift a person can give another, an act of love, is to truly listen, to the words and the energy in them, to the message underneath what is being spoken, and to clearly hear what is being said.

Both of my children have said that’s something they like that about me. Most of my friends and many of my clients say the same.

I think listening matters a lot to me because I wasn’t listened to as a child. There are many times I wasn’t listened to as an adult, either. Often when I did speak, both when I was younger and in later years, I was criticized or ridiculed because what I spoke of was so different from what others believed in or were comfortable with (like my fascination with sky-gazing, or believing in infinite possibility).

From that (not being listened to), I learned not to listen to my inner knowing, as well (or if I did listen, to question the inner guidance that I heard).

It took years of focused healing, and practicing presence, before I learned to listen. It’s a practice, and it happens to be one that I love.

I’m going to close with this noticing: It’s common for people to apologize for talking or sharing or ‘taking one’s time’. (I sometimes still apologize.) Even if someone asks to hear what we wish to say, and is a good listener and/or great at holding space.

We want to be heard, then we sometimes apologize to the listener.

We can substitute any word for ‘heard’: we want to be loved, then we apologize to the person loving us…..we want to be appreciated, then we apologize to the person appreciating us….we want to collaborate, then we apologize to the person collaborating with us…etc.). If you notice you do this, you might want to think about or feel into why, into where this pattern seeded, then do some inner work on pulling up those roots so that you can more fully enjoy being and experiencing (whatever it is you want to be/experience).

One last note: If you are a person who is a good listener and/or great at holding space, thank you! You might not directly experience that your time listening mattered, but it does. Often the person you listened to will have a positive energy-flow or experience or shift because you listened, and they will thank you in their mind.

And, if you are a person who is listened to, please take a moment to thank the listener. Since they often don’t directly know if listening mattered, they sometimes feel discouraged about spending time and energy listening. Although, if they are like me, listening lights their heart, and gratitude simply amplifies that!

Dear Reader: Have you experienced the gift of being listened to? Have you experienced the gift of being the listener? How does either, or both, feel to experience? Also, what are your thoughts and feelings about silence? (please remember, it’s a space of non-judgment, and whatever you share is probably something another reader either experiences as well and/or will be inspired or encouraged by)

Thank you so much for your time and energy in reading through and being present! Blessings as this week unfolds <3

Much peace and abundant love,

Joy

Also, since I’ve moved, I have more time in my schedule to offer guidance and support via personal sessions. When I share my experiences, like this, I am giving you a glimpse into how I work with clarity and energy movement in my life, which is the same style (very gentle, compassionate, intentional) I share when working with clients in personal sessions.

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Comments on: "The Gift of Silence and the Joy of Listening" (6)

  1. One of my favorite verses is from Psalms — “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence.”

    I never really listen to music anymore at home or in the car. I like to listen without the added sounds that I’ve added.

    Silence is a big part of my life — listening, waiting….

    • It lights my heart, Galen, that you prefer, and enjoy, silence, too! Reading your words reminds me that when I sailed frequently, I would ‘listen’ to the wind and ocean currents and that’s part of how I sensed sail placement.

      Yes, to waiting, although that’s something I’m practicing, not as easily or patiently as I normally do! Thank you for the nudge to hold space for this.

  2. Thank you Joy for the reminder to be quiet and listen. I have a habit of filling up space with things to do and social media and now I will pay closer attention to when I truly need quiet.

    • I think lots of people share that habit with you, Tanya! And, also, I know you ‘listen’ probably more than you give yourself credit for; for example, to your creative nudges when taking photos and editing them into powerful pieces!

  3. Catriona said:

    Joy, I love this! And I adore the way you listen to your toddler-love :-) In reading this I feel empowered to honour my body’s need to be listened to, and to follow when my inner being asks me to simply ‘be’, in silence, and without the need for outward, or inner, activity, except an awareness and a listening :-)

    • I love listening to the toddler-love, so it’s ‘easy’, Catriona. But in reading your words, I realize I don’t listen to *my* inner toddler as attentively or joyfully, as I do to him, so that’s an area of opportunity for me to practice.

      I am so glad you feel empowered, and are following through when your inner being nudges you. I find it fascinating when you share parts of your journey! Thank you!

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