Elephant Wisdom

Len, Willa, and I were out on a walk and saw an estate sale sign. While they stayed outside, I went in. As I perused the many items, I overheard the estate sale woman telling another Lookie Lou that the 95-year-old woman who’d resided there was alive and well, but had decided to relocate to Florida.

While blatantly eavesdropping, my eye caught a small, glass, cobalt blue elephant holding court over the living room from the white-painted brick hearth of a fireplace. A minimalist, I don’t acquire many “things,” but she now resides in my writing studio.

It’s interesting to note that elephant wisdom includes the art of listening. An animal with large ears and a comparatively small mouth, we learn that we would do well to listen and speak in those proportions.

During this holiday season, some spiritual traditions read and sing about the three wise men and the gifts they brought to the Christ child. In fact, the giving of gifts has become a tradition among many people, regardless of their faith background.

I’m learning about the gifts of elephant wisdom. They include awareness, confidence, dignity, environmental protection, guardianship, family love, happiness, kindness, listening, longevity, patience, reliability, stamina, and wisdom.

Which of these gifts do you resonate with most?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

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

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