Friday, November 6, 2009


I tend to be very careful with my words. I have always been a fan of language - reading, writing, speaking, performing... words

I love talking and relish in the art of communication (it is important to note I attach "art" to speaking... telling, in fact).

I am attached to language. Sometimes to the detriment of my understanding others. Of course, this can sometimes mean I am also too attached to words as well. My husband has a somewhat different approach to communication and often has to remind me to listen to what he has actually said and not what I infer from his speaking.

I am a user of subtext, I have come to realize. I look for the message beneath the words... which, in some cases, helps me understand and empathize a bit better. It also means I sometimes overlay my own interpretation and assumptions onto someone's hoped-for and intended message. That can be messy or even embarrassing.

My communication style - and more importantly the way I communicate - has become more noticeable and on display since having a child. She mirrors my speech patterns and habits, echoes my sighs and phrasings... even - at times - reflects my cycles of impatience or anger, my tendency to forget communication must still contain compassion if we are to be mindful of the receiver.

The great book I am reading (I will mention it again: Momma Zen...) has a beautiful chapter on this very exchange process. She has a great suggestion, which really rang like a wake-up bell for me, which is essentially... when you notice your child starting to forget their manners or speak to you in ways that don't fit with how we talk to each other in this family - listen to yourself.

See if you have forgotten some of those shared rules... children reflect what they see. They mimic what they experience. In terms of our evolution and growth, they can be amazing mirrors wherein we see all our blemishes, deserving of attention and focus.

This week, I have been very mindful of my communicating. Mindful of my choice of words, mindful of my tone, mindful of the ways I do and do not use please and thank you - despite my faith in their necessity and usefulness. Mindful of my bossy-ness... echoed by my daughter like a little babbling brook providing me the chance to see (and hear) my reflection.

Most importantly, and with all people, I've striven to be more mindful of ulterior motives, hidden questions, or ego-driven reaching in my conversations. I have been practicing direct communication - saying what I mean, meaning what I say - which is sometimes quite scary and often yields unexpected results.

It is a constant practice, this act of simple speaking. How funny that the mind, ego, and heart (full of insecurities and dreams and expectations) could take something so potentially direct and sure... and instead tangle it all up in a tightly wound ball of half-spoken, half-honest, half-meant, half-minded prattle.

And so I re-learn what I hope my daughter will learn for the first time: There is strength in stating your feelings directly and honestly. I'm upset. I'm scared. I'm sorry. I love you. There is love in using words of kindness. Please. Thank you. I'm listening. I'm watching. And in order to be a good communicator, we must listen as well as we speak - perhaps even better.

May you choose your words with care. May you listen to others with a full and open heart. May your communication be mindful, honest, and simple today.

No comments:

Post a Comment