This is a great TED talk that is only 7:50 minutes long, and it’s about conscious listening. Granted, its about listening to others, and the world, but when I watched it I was struck by three things. 1. That our listening is filtered by things like our culture, language, values, beliefs and expectations, and 2. That when we lose our ability to listen, we also lose our ability to notice the quiet, subtle, and understated, and 3. Conscious listening creates understanding.
So, if this talk is about listening outside ourselves, can we not apply it to listening within ourselves?
If we look at the filters we experience around grief, we encounter many messages and expectations that sometimes feel contradictory to how we are feeling. For example, societal expectations to “stay strong,” when you feel like weeping, and to ”keep busy,” when you can barely get out of bed, and “keep your chin up,” when everything in your body wants to curl into a ball and retreat. Which begs the question, “What are we listening to?” How we should be? Or, how we actually are?
If we are inundated with messages that feel counter to our natural tendencies to grieve and mourn, and more importantly, if we spend our energy listening to these messages, are we at a loss for hearing the quiet, subtle and understated messages in our grief. So, our challenge becomes starting to listen consciously to ourselves – turning inward and using the signals in our minds and bodies to make meaning out of our experience. Our bodies are wise, and our grief has important messages. Its quiet call that requires us to slow down and take care of our fragile, vulnerable emotions which are painful…and painful for a reason – they invite us to begin to feel our losses and listen to the effect our losses have had on our lives. So, in time our conscious listening to ourselves creates understanding.