This powerful little insight about listening woke us up:
When the two ears are put side by side they form the shape of the heart.
Interestingly, the word ‘ear’ sits right in the middle of the word ‘heart’ (h-ear-t).
The ear is the way to the heart. So, if you want someone’s heart, learn to listen…
So we tried making that h ear t, using a beautiful study of an ear from Giovan Francesco Barbiere, il Guercino in the 1600s… placing them… heart to heart.
Listening IS probably the single most powerful way to connect, feel engaged, inspired, understood, connected, loved. And yet many of us aren’t very good at it.
It got us rereading Celeste Headlee’s remarkable Ted Talk and what we learned when we distilled her 10 Ways to Deepen Conversation + the Crap Advice You Should Forget:
I cannot tell you how many really important people have said that listening is perhaps the most, the number one most important skill that you could develop.
Stephen Covey said it very beautifully. He said, “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.”
…which reminded us of Stephen Nachmanovitch’s writing about listening in the Art of Is.
Listening is touching. The hair cells in our inner ear feel the vibrations that move them; it is not a distance sense, not abstract…Active listening flowers in the present moment, utilizes all the senses: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, sense of humor.
…And Anne Sexton’s words on listening to ourselves…
Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.
Starting right now, our intention is to listen…
h ear t