Do You Hear What I Hear?


It’s Monday. The first day of the first week of the new year but it doesn’t feel like Monday. New Years Day was on Saturday so today is a quasi-holiday and while I’m hungry for routine, we’re not there just yet. At least we’re past the turkey-eating stage and there’s just a few more shortbread cookies left in the freezer. We’re getting there.

Two years ago on this day I was packing. Gerry and I were getting ready to spend two weeks in the Mayan Riviera. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go because I was still recovering from surgery but, man, am I glad we went. Those two weeks worked wonders. We would return feeling refreshed and ready to dive into the new year then—boom!—the world came crashing down around us. Ah, but that’s a story for another day.I’m tired of writing and reading about COVID.

Anyway, here we are again at the start of something new and I read something this morning that gave me pause: “Pay attention to how you hear.” I’m chewing on those words and pondering the ways I hear. Note that I didn’t say listen. It’s not the way I listen, that I’m reflecting on, but the way I hear. There’s a subtle but distinct difference.

I listen half-heartedly or with my full attention or somewhere in between, but I hear through the filter of my experience, assumptions, and beliefs. The things I consume by way of news, current events, conversations, and other things colours the way I hear. Maybe I’m firm in my opinion about something and am less likely to hear a different perspective. Or I feel a certain way about someone and am less willing to hear what they have to say. Hearing takes more effort than listening. I wonder: Is the level of effort required to hear well proportional to how important it is to do so?

As I said, I’m chewing on it, and if I have any amount of wisdom at all, I expect my rumination will translate into hearing something I might otherwise miss.

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I’m a writer, reader, photographer, and gardener. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things.

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