Being a listener

I like to tell myself that I have become a great listener(after years of practice)– very present indeed, says the ego.

And it is true, my mind used to be on near constant fast forward– worrying about what I would say next, completely unfocused. I am sure I was quite annoying with my constant interruptions. One of my favorite benefits of mindfulness meditation has been improved relationships as I continue to enjoy conversations that dive deep.

But unfortunately it was just a few months back that a dear friend shared something very shameful and I actually changed the subject.  But the oddest part for me was that I wasn’t even aware I did it, until hours later in meditation.  While my friend was speaking I was actually tuning him out and pretending I couldn’t hear him.  The following is a general and shortened recap of how this conversation played out.

You: an uncle hurt me in the basement. I was just a helpless child.

Me: pass the bread please

You: it was a pattern. The men in my family passing on their pain this way.

Me:  isn’t the coffee good here?

You:  yes, this breakfast is great.

I sit and I recall on my meditation cushion (as the spaces between the breath remind me)  all the times I could not/would not be present to your pain.

Inhale: density molds my heart. It’s strings tightening like the lacing of a shoe.

Exhale: stay.

Inhale: breath transcends my shame softening and loosening the ties that bind.

Exhale: my mind softens.

Inhale: my sense of failure forgiven

Exhale: God smiling in my heart!

Inhale: it bubbled up to spread across my face

I texted you a sincere apology for my rudeness. You extended a very gracious, “you are forgiven”.  I am blessed to have friends who give me many chances to be better.

Have there been times you were faced with an awkward situation and found yourself handling it really poorly. Did you beat yourself up? I’m curious…

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