The Art of Listening

This guest post is the next in the TEDx series by Bethany Morton-Rhye.

Listening present participle of lis·ten (Verb)

1. Give one’s attention to a sound.

2. Take notice of and act on what someone says; respond to advice or a request.

We listen all day everyday.  Sounds surround us: music, voices, the hum of the refrigerator, birds, dogs, rustling of the leaves on the trees, cars, TV, even “white noise.”  But are we listening?  When we speak, do others listen to us?  “You’re not listening to me!,” but I am.  We will all have the opportunity to listen on September 10th at The Showroom at Hub-Bub when TEDxSpartanburg presents its first independently organized TED event “Together Creating a New Vision.”  Who’s listening?  We are.

From TedxSpartanburg: “We come together in so many small ways everyday; over coffee, over a film, in a bookstore, or in a park.”  It is easy to miss the small wonders of listening to someone, or of someone listening to us.  “Listening” is another “neutral” word because we can be “bad listeners,” or “good listeners.”  To really listen is an art form.  This goes beyond just having “good listening skills.”

How we process and action the ideas we listen to is very powerful for both good and evil.  It is all too easy to listen to the negative, then act negatively doing harm to others and the world around us.  This past week, in particular, the news of the world has been pretty crappy.  Were you listening?  I couldn’t listen.  Wallowing in the bad news of the world gets us nowhere.  “Actions speak louder than words.”  How did you “act” this week?  The path to creating our new vision is created through our actions.  Let’s listen to one another and act positively.  It sounds so freakin’ simple, but does not happen enough.  Listen, process, act…. It may take a little reflection and time before we truly know what we learned from what we listened to.  Allow that time, plan your actions.

This week, I listened.

I listened to the “Tears for Fears” station on Pandora Radio at home.  Suddenly I was teleported back to the 1980’s when I was a happy-go-lucky, teeny-bopper.  I listened to myself, as myself, back then… what were my dreams, thoughts, wishes, loves?  We loose ourselves when we don’t listen to ourselves.  We get bogged down in the trappings of “adulthood.” We listen to the negative voice inside of our own head.  Tell that voice to shut the hell up! Change the conversation with yourself and LISTEN!

I listened to a friend over a smoothie at Little River Coffee Bar.  He shared and idea to promote a non-profit organization and asked for my help to make it happen.  I listened, I will help.

I listened to a dear friend just sitting outside on the stoop.  He helped me with a stressful issue I’m dealing with right now.  I listened, he helped me.

I listened to an acquaintance at the gym.  She shared with me her story of having to have her old dog put to sleep last week.  So many us have been there, and will be there again.  I listened, I helped her.

I listened to a friend thank me.  He listened to advice from me recently and, based on that, quit his job and is creating a new future for himself.  I helped him.

I listened to the grunts, groans, breath and compliments from the people who attend my fitness classes.  I helped them.

I was listened to as well.  This is something that I am truly grateful for.  People listen to me.  Thank you. You help me.

We will, as a community, have the opportunity to listen to “Ideas Worth Spreading” at the TEDxSpartanburg event on September 10th.  From what we listen to and learn we can “Create a New Vision Together.”

I’m listening. Are you?

–Bethany Morton-Rhye

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Art of Listening

  1. A great reminder ~ thanks, B! And since I knew you back in our teeny-bopper days, I’ll just say I’m proud to know you now. 🙂

  2. If we’re listening, we probably have a story to tell too- about what we heard.

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