Friday, March 03, 2017

Love as asking a kind open ended question and then listening without interruption

Day Thirteen:
LOVE as Listening
Easy/ Hard/ Amazing


And it’s hard.
Because the temptations are there:
To use your turn to complain.
Worse, worse, awful… to use your turn to complain about the other.
Almost as bad… to use your turn to “fix/ help/ encourage/ whatever” the other. 

This is the “game” that Carol and I played for around three hours when we were falling in love, and not really knowing it.
We were taking five minute turns at talking.
While listening, we looked each other in the eye.
While talking, we looked each other in the eye.
We didn’t interrupt.

The more advanced, and safe version of this game, we didn’t play, since we didn’t really know each other, and so we didn’t have the temptation couples will always have to comment/ contradict/ fix/ add-on/ one-up the other.
The advanced and better starter version has this rule: No commenting on the other person, or anything they’ve said in their turns, during your share.

If you want great love, you want these in your partner:
Able to Forgive

These can all be discovered, not as an interview, but while you listen to a new person, if you are dating.
If you are with a person that you love, and want it better, by simply listening and non-interruption you are liable to make leaps and bounds toward more loving and "real" communication.
The forgiveness piece we’ll come to soon.
Without it, life is a mess.
Happiness in almost impossible.
Great sex is just a cover-up.

And… it’s time to have fun in a love and sharing game.

Love and Sharing Game #2: Ask, smile, breathe and listen

This is easy, and magnificent. 
You are going to take four minute turns.
The first listener is going to ask an open ended  question. Just one.
Not a Yes/No question.
Not a Why question.
Not open ended enough to lead to complaining. As in, “What was your life like in grade school.”
The questions are to have a tilt toward the positive, as in, “What did you like about your life when you were in grade school.”
That doesn’t mean that your partner’s hardships might not come out as part of their answer, but the over-all cast of the answer will be what went on that they liked.
This sounds pollyanna, perhaps.
Oh, well.
What people like and love is what they are really like.

Here’s some of many questions:
What did you like about your last vacation?
What do you enjoy about your job/ friendships/ hobbies/ books/ movies?
What kinds of things make you happy?

Just ask one question.

Then the talker talks. 
The answer is either:
About the question.
About a “nearby” question. For example: What did you like about grade school.   Shifts to… I liked being at my grandparents in the summer when I was young a lot more than grade school. Let me tell you about that.
If at a loss, always always, always, talking about either of these is a great way to live, be and share:
What you are aware of in the present moment

That’s it.
Except that, you might like to expand each turn the amount of time each person talks. First four minutes.
Then five.
Then six.
Then seven.

Really chill in both the listening and the speaking.
In listening, see how few comments you can have in your head. Your opinion isn’t what this is about.
Your ability to JUST LISTEN, which is a huge and almost missing skill, is what is important.
And as the talker, your ability to be still between sentences. To wait for something new to come up that you’ve never heard yourself say.
This can change your life.

When the timer goes off, take three deep breaths together. Make sure to smile during the breaths.
Then the talker asks one open ended and pointing toward what the love/ like and enjoyment of life is about question.

In the appendix/ at the website we have a list of other possible questions.
And, see how you can improve this skill: what questions allow people to remember and explore and access wonder-filled and happy and creative and loving-life parts of themselves.

You probably will find great benefits toward yourself as you think about/ feel into/ discover/ intuit these questions for others.

and happy dating.

Whether it’s a “new” person, or someone you’ve been with for fifty years. 

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