without sense, no sense

image

and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

We make sense of our world. With our senses. Same word.

When we remove a sense, the sense we make is different. Developing our ability to use them all in harmony is useful. Don’t just listen, when you can feel what is being said. Don’t just see, when you can hear with your heart.

Make all the sense you can.

this guy makes a comeback

How big are your ears?

I don’t mean are the lobes oversized, or is the general scale of your listening instruments out of proportion to your face.

I mean what do you hear?

Do you hear some of the words spoken to you? Do you hear all of the words? Do you hear the meaning underneath the words? Do you make sense of the meaning you hear? Do you hear the tone, pitch, pace of the speaker? Do you hear the expression, the phrasing? Do you detect the strength or fragility in their voice? Do you hear the colour of their face? Do you hear the eye movements that accompany the sentences? Do you hear the angle of their head? Do you hear their physiology – their arm and leg movements, their shoulders, hands, fingers? Do you hear their breathing? Do you hear their heartbeat?

sitting to hear

I sat the other day with about fifteen like minded people.

We were invited to share something we wanted more of in our lives.

We were sitting in a circle.

I have on several occasions been invited to share my story or something significant about me in a group environment. The most successful of these has always been in a circle, facing each other. It is no accident that village elders often sit in a circle; indeed many cultures do this. Sitting in circles, around a fire, in a yurt, on the desert floor. Children often do it in our primary schools at reading time.

Seeing the faces of the speaker and your fellow listeners builds a bond, draws you to the story, generates a trusting, safe environment. Nobody is in a position of power, authority, dominance. Or in a position of inferiority, subjugation, minority. Everyone is equal.

Strange then that in our places of work, many meeting tables are square or oblong and we are so often organised in rows. Face to face, back to back, side to side.

No wonder we find it hard to be heard.

who do we talk to?

image

In today’s busy world, who is there to listen?

It seems all around the world ordinary people don’t feel heard by their politicians. The people they elect to listen and respond to concerns, to basic social needs, seem not to be listening. For large groups, the church might historically have offered an ear, but many no longer look that way.

There seems to be a void.

In extreme cases it seems terrorism and extremism offer a solution  but what about the masses? The everyday struggling human being seeking something more mainstream? Who will listen to them?

I wonder what new roles might emerge to fill the gap?

Is there a role for business? A role for health professionals? A role for charity? A role for new forms of social collective? A role for individuals?

Someone needs to listen. Society needs to listen.

We all need to be heard.

listening to being listened to

t

Being listened to, has amazing properties.

When we need to be heard, and someone makes time, it feels like a gift. The gift of attention. It makes us feel special. Helps us make sense of our own thinking. Connects us to our own feelings. It’s cathartic. Warming. Connecting. It sets us on an even keel again. Able to move forward once more.

Being listened to, however, requires a listener.

Often a good one. One who listens. One who hears. Little, if any, interruption.

All too often though as the potential listener, we don’t pay attention to this gift giving capability. We are too busy. In our own world. We move on, neglecting. Not because we don’t care, but often because we just don’t value sufficiently the benefit of listening to another person. We are captured by our own selfish need. Our priorities. Our world, in that moment, is worth more than the world of the listened to. So we interject, we opinion give, or we don’t even see that the listened to seeks to be listened to.

We should stand regularly in the listened to space and remember its gifts.

From there, step across. Stand more frequently in the listener space. Give gifts back. Gifts to others. To those who need to be listened to.

 

where does a smell take you?

pasty

There’s a man eating a pasty, maybe fifteen feet from me.

I can smell it. A slightly sweet aroma. I can feel the sensations of a bite of the piping hot food in my mouth. I can sense my slight open mouthed panting, as air is used to cool that bite to a temperature for swallow. I can taste the meaty, gooey mouthful, mixed with crumbly buttery pastry. I can taste the slightly peppery warmth.

There’s something strangely primal about holding your food in your hand.

I am instantly transported to my own specific memories of enjoying a pasty. Walking in the street with my family, grabbing lunch on a shopping trip. Numerous glorious holidays in Cornwall. A rushed snack on the way home from somewhere, late. In each memory, the smell of this man’s pasty takes me there. Fully.

Where does a smell take you and how vibrant is that place?

I’m off for a pasty…