As much of the country is blanketed in snow and ice, this is a perfect time to pause… to take a deep breath, notice the beauty of our surroundings, and slow down. Yes, the snow wreaks havoc on our well-assembled plans. School is canceled, day-care is closed, meetings and appointments are pushed aside, our travel plans are either rescheduled or delayed.
Fortunately for most of us, however, the winter weather is nothing more than an inconvenience.
Two of my favorite things about the snow (besides snow angels) are the way it falls in solitude, and the visual effect it has on our landscape. Both of these gifts are actually deceptive, for beneath the snow lies Spring. While we are in the moment of the winter solstice, we shift focus away from the fact that just beneath our feet, and also just above our heads is growing grass and budding trees & flowers. Even in the stillness and solitude of a snowstorm, Spring life continues to push forward.
There is a big difference between “hearing” and “listening.” We often hear the people around us, whether engaged in a group dialogue or one-to-one discussion, but we don’t always “listen.”
Especially in today’s environment where there are so many platforms to speak, we are bombarded with noise and messages that dissolve into useless babble.
Ideally, the art of conversation is an intentional exchange between two like-minded individuals that is mutually beneficial, and creates connection and harmony. In this circumstance, the two participants are equal partners. The speaker is active, and the listener is receptive. A conversation in which someone is speaking but no one is listening – either intentionally or non-intentionally – creates disharmony in the conversation and the relationship.