The theme for our silent women’s retreat weekend was Sacred Speaking, Sacred Listening. Some of my preparation for this weekend included an awareness of kinds of speaking I do. There are instant reactions, quick responses, hurried answers, instinctive decisions, and questions that are heard as challenges. The awareness is now that all of these affect the people and environment around me. Words once spoken are forever out there, and I recall being told as a young person to “watch your words, they cannot be taken back any more than the feathers released from a pillow”.
In the listening reflections, it is that greater awareness of being focused and attentive to a speaker that is very difficult. We usually listen with our thoughts ready to change the conversation to ourselves.
In a recent issue of the Spirituality & Health magazine, an article by Maria Shriver titled “The Power of the Pause,” practical suggestions of how “Pause” creates a sacredness of speaking and listening are offered.
- “We all have the power to change the way we, as a nation, a society, speak to one another.”
- “I’m hoping you’ll dare to bring change to our community by pausing and changing the channel in our communication.”
- “Pause – before you report or pass along something you ‘heard’ but you don’t know is absolutely true.”
- “So pause – before you put a rumor out there as fact.”
- “Pause –before you hit the Send button…”
- “Pause – before you make judgments about people’s personal or professional decisions.”
- “Pause – before forwarding the untrue and inflammatory tidbits…”
- “Pausing gives us the power to change direction…”
As we enter the Easter Season of 50 days, perhaps in that time the power of a pause and a greater awareness of our speaking and listening can be more sacred.
Dear God, I need to slow my life down to see, really see, the people in my life. Help me to be so conscious of them that I take the time to look into their eyes and connect with the person who is right there in front of me.
“We all have the power to change the way we, as a nation, a society, speak to one another. We can change our national discourse for the better,” writes Shriver.