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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Art of Listening

The Art of Listening is the title of one of the first books I required my students to read in our training Program for Spiritual Directors. It was a simple book by Thomas Hart. The title is what I am reflecting on today. There are so many ways to listen or not listen. I have only lately found that one can direct and be directed through e-mail. I used to think this would not be possible as so much is conveyed through the tone of voice, body language, the speed or words, the pauses, etc. I suspect, since I need to see people in order to hear and rely a good deal on my ability to lipread, that I am more conscious of body language than many. With e-mail, one does not have the help of exterior signs, but there is still a way to grasp what is being said and not said; there is a certain tone communicated and I feel the Holy Spirit is very present in the written word without the distractions often caused by the person when actually speaking directly to you. I guess I am trying to say that I believe that we can communicate very well through words. But we need people who know how to listen. One listens without judging; one listens to what is being said between the lines; one listens with one's heart.
This is all connected with God's message: "This is my chosen one; listen to him."

I am trying to schedule ahead as I will be out of town later this week for five days. It seems strange not to write about the earthquake in Chile as I lived there for 20 years and all my thoughts are with the people there as they struggle to get news of families; we have not yet heard from our Sisters in Concepcion or I have not yet heard, but I know those in Renaca are fine and do not think anything bad happened to any of our communities in Santiago, but Concepcion had much destruction. Our school withstood the great earthquake of 1960 so I suppose it is still standing. I want to hear about my friends and their families so please keep all in your prayer.

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