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March Un-Madness- Week 1 - Mindful Communication

communication Mar 09, 2020

 

We work hard to develop a meditation and mindfulness practice, but where do you see the benefits playing out? If you don't see benefits, then you won't keep practicing. If you limit your interests to just one thing, then you are missing the magic of the practice. It's ok if you are practicing for symptom relief, but I want more for you. I hope the symptoms pass, but don't ignore the rest of the magic. Each week for the remainder of March, I will pick one topic to deep dive and give you a bit of homework, or shall I say a direction to follow for the week.

In today's episode, I am going to concentrate on a topic that is critical to your relationships, happiness, good decision making, and many other positive aspects of your wellbeing. This giant elephant is called communication. You may think you are already great at it, but I guarantee you can always be better, and you can always use your skills to help others better communicators.

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If over four weeks I can get you to notice four separate things that make a difference in your life, then you will be four weeks closer to you never wanting to miss a day of meditation and mindfulness again!

This morning I met a man who, when he found out I teach meditation he said: "I try to meditate, but after a week I seem to lose my steam, I start feeling calmer, and then I forget to do it." If I had a dollar for every person that said that to me, I would be a millionaire. We started discussing other aspects of life that can change by being more mindful and communication popped into my mind because that was precisely what I found the two of us doing well, talking! We had never met, he spoke, I listened with my full attention and then he spoke and did the same. Sounds pretty mundane right? Well, it isn't. Most people are horrible communicators.

We speak, wanting to be heard and get irritated when we don't think we are being listened to. We think of our response before the other person has even finished their sentence, and eye contact seems to be a thing of the past. TV on behind the person? Phone text going off? Maybe you're slowly even walking away while listening or looking at the clock? You know I am right.

Where does mindfulness come into play? Our meditation strengthens our muscles of focus, awareness, and compassion. Now let's use that muscle to pay attention this week to our actions in the realm of listening.

  1. Listen – I mean really listen. Make a choice right now to listen to someone today. Hell, pick one person or one time. Start small. I don't care.

 

  1. Be Fully Present– this is a big one. You chose to listen, now commit to the activity. Put all else aside, no mind wandering, no multi-tasking. We want to prove we can do it and see the benefits of what excellent communication can do, and a bonus is that you will get more done because you will probably have only ONE conversation with an actual outcome, and you can move on! Each time you notice your mind wandering, bring your attention to your breath. Just observe your breath for even a second, and you will ground yourself back in the conversation.

 

  1. Stop Judging- Amid a world of racial bias that appears to be recently exacerbated by the Corona Virus, I think this is super important. How often do you get a call or have an employee walk in, and immediately you think, "oh, not this again or geez this person is clueless? It's not right, right? But we still do it. This week, drop the judgment toward the person you are communicating with AND toward yourself. Just be nice, super-duper, uber generous and nice. That's another added benefit of mindfulness. It makes you a nicer person!

 

  1. Reacting – Since you are now choosing to listen, be present and not judge, take a little time to notice if you are reacting. Let's go real slow. Significant others wants you to do the dishes because you are pretty darn pig-like and never do the dishes, a fact not judgment. As they are requesting your assistance, notice if you are already reacting in your brain. I worked all day, I am exhausted, and we have a deal, I don't do dishes. STOP, notice you are reacting and really listen. See if you hear something that you haven't heard before. Just chill out and continue with steps one through three. See what happens. Open up and see the conversation with a wide-angle lens!

 

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Try this exercise once a day, even if it is when the barista is giving you your coffee.

If you want to try a more formal practice, you can do one that I have learned many times in the corporate world. From 20 years ago to 20 minutes ago, this one is very common but very profound.

Pick someone to practice with and choose a time limit, say 2 minutes.

One person talks (I don't care about what), and the other listens without interrupting, leading the conversation, no questions, no influence: Max – a head nod.

Then switch. See elementary, right? Try it. It's not that easy. Talk about what you experienced afterward. I know, do it with one of your kids or any kid. It's a beautiful learning experience.

Ok, that is it—one week of Mindful Communication. Just like a seated meditation, the more you practice, the easier it gets. The more you see benefits in your life the apter you are to keep at your practice

If this is all fun and exciting, but you need some help learning meditation and mindful practices, you need a bit of personal hand-holding, maybe some group coaching and a dose of accountability, then go to alexazmeditates.com/help. The next class begins in April.

No go play nice and communicate mindfully and join me next Monday as I attack Mindful Sleep!

Want to learn more about my upcoming class?

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