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How to Expand Time: Practicing Quiet and Calm Listening.

Dubbed “extrovert”, I was an expressive enthusiast for many of the first 30 years of my life. I was so familiar with the role, that I was nearly comfortable with the dis-ease it was prompted by. I have been practicing quiet intermittently for a few years. This has opened space to learn patience, calm listening, self-love, and boundary setting. As a beginner with this curriculum, I have come to wonder: how did I survive nearly three decades without these skills?


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Calm listening expands time. One could say it’s mighty generous to be an active, inquisitive listener of a friend, colleague, or spouse. I’ve learned that the calm listener is doing the getting, to be sure! Consider the gifts:

  • The satisfaction of sharing in another’s experience.
  • The intimacy of entering and exploring the maze that the other is mapping at the moment.
  • The richness of observing human behavior, impulse, compassion, and interconnectedness.
  • The receipt of another’s knowledge pool of raw data that is inevitably distinct from my own.
  • The energizing wonderment in another’s attributes that make them unique from any other being, drive their purpose, and shape the lessons they entered this life to learn.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Through calm listening, I learn and share more inside of each precious moment. It expands time.

When practicing quiet, I am not always silent. I do speak! When? What are my words? What is my intention for speaking, and for the message, tone, and delivery I choose? The answers draw me nearer to knowledge of self. They also magnify opportunities for adjustments. Who do I want to be? I get to decide.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

I used to be vocal when I disagreed. In practicing quiet, I explore: what would have been my motive to say something?

    • Would it have been pure?
    • Would it have been to try to change another person… to change their mind? If so, then why?
    • Would it have been to satisfy curiosity, to engage in debate, or test my argumentative prowess? If so, then why?

I observe the result of not speaking up. Quieting when I disagree makes me feel like I’ve deceived another and myself. There must be another option, beyond the saying or not saying, as intention-guiding leaders have shown us. I think of peace-evoking Martin Luther King Junior, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, and the Dalai Lama. Who do you think of?

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Compassion involves seeking to understand another’s opinion, to understand the foundation another balances upon to form their opinion, and most importantly, to understand the experience that may have led another to build that foundation. In this intention, an interaction escalated by differing opinions, likely indicates I have many more questions to ask, and responses to calmly listen to. In some cases, the other’s intentions may be to confuse, harm, or enmesh. The most compassionate practice may be to state acknowledgement of difference and quickly disengage.

I am a beginner in this curriculum. A starry eyed, eager novice, reinforced by the fruit of my triumphs and hiccups. And so, I continue trying.

Silenced Enjoyment, Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Silenced Enjoyment, Iguazu Falls, Argentina

I invite you to join me in my favorite mantra for the time:

“May all beings be peaceful and know they are loved.”

Thank you for reading, beautiful people! Squeeze hugs, from Annie at Biocadence.

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