No words talking
“Conversation can stimulate, inform and build strong connections. It can be the thread that weaves us together and binds us to our tribe. At best it can inspire, comfort, motivate and kindle creative thought. But as I listen more carefully I discover that much of the dialogue in our culture is what someone once called ‘talking and waiting to talk.’
Anne LeClaire, Below the Noise, from Inward Outward, August 24, 2016
This is a picture of our oldest granddaughter on a recent mission trip to Nicaragua. She does not speak the language, but her actions and her body language speak volumes. Psychologists tell us that people believe and read our body language, our eye contact, our gestures, the tone of our voice, how we sit, our facial expressions, our touch, our distance much more than what comes out of our mouths. Listening skills are paramount in pastoral care and in relating to spiritual friends as well as giving spiritual direction. Have you ever been with someone where they made you feel like you were the only person in the world they were talking with? Friends say this about President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Professor Albert Mehrabian from UCLA believes that our words are 7% of what is heard while our body language is 55% and our tone of our voice is 38%. I remember a physician I worked with who never made eye contact. Getting to know who he really was turned out to be impossible. I had another physician I worked with who was constantly looking at his watch during the conversation. Another kept his arms crossed in front of him during the entire conversation suggesting nothing was getting in or out of his body during our time together. Another seemed to be picking lent off his coat as we spoke.
Remembering what does not work is helpful but memories of times when someone was really listening or showing us compassion can help us set the mood in our mind and body as we talk with others.
When I want to let someone know I feel compassion for them, I will try to hold in my mind this picture of Langley holding and loving this precious one.