“Learning to pause is the first step in the practice of Radical Acceptance. A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving toward any goal … The pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life … You might try it now: Stop reading and sit there, doing ‘no thing,’ and simply notice what you are experiencing.”
We’re communicating all the time and not just with words. We use facial expressions, gestures, voice tones and body language to convey our feelings. We must use awareness of our actions and feelings so that we’re sure we’re conveying the message we want. We may start by asking ourselves “what are we trying to communicate”. And then we do that with as much kindness as possible.
The act of listening is just as involved, if not more. We need to hear the message that’s being conveyed. We need to be careful of putting our own thoughts and perceptions on what the other person is saying. We try not to take the information personally, knowing what’s being said is from the sender’s point of view.
The Internet dictionary defines communication as “the imparting or interchange of information or news”. But mindful communication is listening and speaking with kindness and compassion. At the same time one is being aware of their own feelings, judgements and perceptions. It’s a lot to pay attention to. I liken it to rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time. But with practice, mindful communication can bring real connection in any relationship.
If we can maintain this kind, accepting give and take of information, true communication is possible. It’s sometimes a very challenging practice, but very rewarding. Most people just want to be heard and it’s a precious gift to give.