In Native American culture, it’s called a talking stick. When you hold this stick in your hands you get to speak your piece for so long as you choose. No one can interrupt you. No one can take the stick from you. So long as you hold the stick, you are heard.
One of the things I’ve noticed most recently about our culture, is that we don’t listen anymore. We are a culture of people starving to be heard. My boyfriend and I, both big talkers, have challenges when we have arguments. It takes him longer to put his thoughts together into words during an argument than it does in regular conversation, so I never know when he’s done with his thought. Subsequently I am constantly stepping on him.
So we’ve instituted the talking item. At home, we have a stick — because I like to keep to tradition. But when we’re out and about we have to be more creative. So it’s usually the talking cell phone. The phone must obviously be off. So long as one person holds the phone, it is the other person’s job to listen. And I mean really listen. We’re not talking about waiting for your turn to talk or working on what the next thing is that you’re going to say. We’re talking about truly just quietly listening. Taking in whatever it is that the person has to say.
Are there people in your world who are not feeling heard? When was the last time that you feel like someone actually listened to you? Perhaps it’s time to institute the talking stick in your world as well.
Enjoy your Saturday. [Passes the stick]
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