How often do we yell out the phrase, “open your eyes”, when we are frustrated with someone? I am writing this blog to ask you to close your eyes and this time, just listen. Listening is fast becoming a lost art in our communication with others. We take in with our eyes all the nonverbal communication. How the face looks, how the person is standing or sitting, what are they doing with their hands or their eyes. We rarely listen to what a person is actually saying and instead are quickly formulating responses and stories of our own. Perhaps stories of our accomplishments, woes, better than you stories, or I don’t really care stories. Now close your eyes but, not before you hear what I have to say in this blog.
The technology we use in our daily lives makes no allowance for listening. We simply read and reply with emoticons. Come to think of it, what do we hear when we read? Is it our own voice or no voice at all. Is it monotone or rhythmic like the voice of angels.? Is it a male or female voice? If Siri is reading for you, then you do have a choice of gender. Sometimes when I am speaking with the generation of today, I find their speech lacks any kind of emotion, somewhat like the Kardashians on their reality TV show, although tears escaping from the corners of their eyes does denote sadness, I think, not sure, well maybe.
When we come across individuals who have a disability, disfigurement or handicap, this becomes the focus as we converse. For some of us, conversation is difficult as we squirm and fidget and don’t know where to cast our eyes. Sometimes we even speak in loud tones as if the person were unable to hear us. The same can be true for exceptionally beautiful people who catch our attention and make conversing with them equally as difficult as we become overwhelmed with excitement, nervous agitation, and panic. At times not able to speak at all. Do we pay attention at all to what these individuals have to say or do we instead laud the beautiful and dismiss those we deem less than deserving of our time? Does beauty or disfigurement define the quality of the spoken subject matter?
There is beauty in the gift of a voice, in the coo of a baby, in the delighted whines of a pet greeting you at the end of your day, in the love expressed by your significant other, your children and grandchildren. Words echo the emotions we feel and express. There is beauty in the voice of nature. In the fall leaves and acorns that plummet to the earth. In the winter winds that move the snow. In the rain drops that nourish the earth. In the crackle of fire that warm our hearts. To see is divine, to truly listen and hear waves amid the spoken word is a gift worth pursuing. When we close our eyes to hear we are all the same, one voice, one world. Did you catch the quiver in the voice of someone who has suffered loss? Did you hear the loneliness echo in between the words? Did you glimpse the smile on the edges of the upturned words in the story of joy? It is time to close your eyes and really listen. Listen to what your own voice has to tell. What does your voice say about you? When you close your eyes on a gloomy day, does the song of a bird sound any different? How will you know unless you try. Now close your eyes and listen. What do you hear?