A single thunderstorm upended Gordon Hempton's life. While on a cross-country road trip in his mid-twenties, he decided to pull over in a field to get some rest.
As the storm rolled in, he simply laid back, listened, and began to hear things he'd never noticed before: chirping crickets and the way the thunder echoed across the valley.
The experience made him realize that his understanding of listening was all wrong. "I thought that listening meant focusing my attention on what was important even before I had heard it," he says. "But I really hadn't been paying a lot of attention to what is all around me."
Filled with the sense that he had been living his life "incredibly wrong," Hempton dropped out of graduate school and became a bicycle messenger with one goal: Become a better listener.
Shifting from inattentive to deliberate listening can be a vulnerable act.
True listening is more than being quiet while others have their say. It is about presence as much as receiving; it is about connection more than observing...it involves vulnerability - a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity.
When was the last time someone listened to you?
Who was it?
How did it make you feel?
Remember, listening with your heart is the best gift you can give someone. Give this gift to someone today.
~ Peace out, beautiful human ~