"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

The Art of Listening

Designed for people to gather and listen, the small amphitheater by the river at Boise State University hosts a variety of events from concerts, to poetry readings, and everything in-between.

Listening - hearing

Hearing is passive. We hear dogs bark, tires squeal, birds chirp, church bells ring, and the deep-throated rumble of the furnace coming to life on a winter morning. In a conversation, someone who’s hearing instead of listening is oftentimes busy formulating their own response.

Listening is active. It’s something we do on purpose; something we invest ourself in. A typical investor expects an ROI — a return on their investment.

Generally speaking, there are four types of listeners:

  • Analytical — possibly skeptical, they question and evaluate what’s being said.
  • Driver — results oriented, they listen with an ear to “How can I incorporate this information?”
  • Amiable — rapt with attention, they often smile with encouragement, urging the speaker to continue.
  • Expressive — potential interrupters, these listeners enjoy being involved and can hardly wait to share their response.

Regardless of listening style, when we invest in active listening, the benefit (return) is an enriched life with enhanced relationships and an expanded capacity for compassion.

What’s your listening style?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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Slip Sliding Away

Walking toward the Boise river we happened upon a banana peel. There it was — large as life — on the sidewalk. I cracked up. Len cracked up. Not familiar with the myriad of banana-slippage cartoons we’d grown up with, Willa didn’t find any humor in the situation.

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Periodically I apply self-imposed restrictions: No more red licorice. No more BBQ chips. Ever again. As sure as the sun rises, these types of constraints only last a few days before I slip up. Not a fan of confinement, when limitations are imposed by others (barring the speed limit — usually), they’re in place an even shorter length of time.

Do you ever apply self-imposed restrictions?

© Laurie Buchanan

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On Being Human

Generally speaking, most people agree on three of the components that comprise human beings:

MENTAL — Our capacity to think
EMOTIONAL — Our capacity to feel
PHYSICAL — The physical package we occupy during our lifetime

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SPIRITUAL — this is the element where agreement can falter…

  • Some people believe we have a spirit — that which animates us
  • Some people believe we have a soul — the God spark or eternal component
  • Some people believe the spirit and soul are one and the same
  • Some people believe the spirit and soul are two separate aspects
  • Some people believe that we have neither spirit or soul.

What do you believe regarding the spiritual aspect of humanity?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Go Fly a Kite

When our son was a little boy we had a French military box kite. Huge, we’d take it to the shores of Lake Michigan where his little gloved hands would hold the cord spool and the airborne kite would lift him off the ground — him screaming with glee, “more, More, MORE!” — while Len and I held him securely, only letting him rise so far.

Now in the Pacific Northwest, we live within walking distance of Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho. One of its many beautiful offerings is the Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza — a walking plaza created to give hope and courage to newly diagnosed patients, to inspire determination for those who are fighting the disease, and to reduce fear in those who’ve not had cancer. A portion of the plaza includes kite sculptures in perpetual flight.

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More than a calm draft or gentle breeze, the key ingredient to a successful kite flight is wind — strong, continuous, and sometimes fierce — to keep it aloft.

Have you encountered triumph through turbulence?

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Zen of Glass

Recently Len, Willa, and I headed to Bruneau Dunes State Park to celebrate the arrival of spring. Created by the wind’s artistic touch, the first sand dune we passed brought to mind the precise raking one admires in Zen gardens.

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Many types of glass are made from silicon dioxide — the main ingredient of sand — along with soda ash and limestone. One ton of recycled glass saves 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, and 380 pounds of limestone.

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Glass has many positive characteristics we’d do well to emulate:

  • The majority of glass used today is clear.
    We can live transparently
  • Glass reflects light
    We can let our inner radiance shine through
  • Cullet (recycled glass) requires a lower heating temperature than glass from raw materials, thus requiring 40 percent less energy.
    We can cultivate lifestyle practices that are earth-friendly

What view do you enjoy most through a clear glass window in your home?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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In the course of a week, month, or even a day, we encounter people expressing a variety of human emotions. Smooth as a Georgia peach, sharp as a prickly seed pod, or somewhere in-between:

  • Withdrawn or outgoing
  • Cheerful or sullen
  • Anxious or peaceful
  • Sweet or sour
  • Sad or happy
  • Hopeful or hopeless
  • Uncertain or confident
  • Grateful or unappreciative
  • Inconsiderate or respectful

The list goes on…

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Emotionally speaking, on a scale of 1 to 10, if:
Smooth as a Georgia peach is 10
Sharp as a prickly seed pod is 1
And you can’t select 5…

…where do you think others most often experience you on the emotion scale?

Note: The peaches in the header photo aren’t actually in Georgia. I took the photo in Homedale, Idaho while Len and I were visiting their local airport.

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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Swept Off Our Feet

Thirty-five years ago — March 17, 1980 — Len and I swept each other off our collective feet and eloped on St. Patrick’s Day.

Each wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and Snoopy t-shirts, we drove lickety-split in my fire engine red Dodge Colt from Escondido to The Chapel of Happiness in San Diego where after paying $32.50 we were pronounced husband and wife. Averaging 92-cents per year, it’s — bar none — the best investment we ever made.

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What’s the best investment you ever made?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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