We believe we listen with our ears, but what other parts of ourselves are also getting involved? This month's feature article written by coach Michele Mather, considers this question and helps us to get curious about our own listening habits.
Also, in this issue, enjoying our food for just a little longer... A quick tip on how changing our chewing changes us.
Michele Greco, CPC
Director, Portland Coaching Collective
Rethinking Our Role in Communication
By Michele Mather, CPC
We hear and see that word “communication” often. Typically we define it by how well we’re able to convey information and relay our thoughts and opinions with articulate words. “A good communicator” is often someone with a rich depth of vocabulary or a nuanced verbal style that connects them with their audience. There are writing courses and classes studying the written word. There are groups to help you be a great public speaker from junior high through adulthood.
But isn’t there more to communication than speaking? Is communication really communication if it’s only one sided? If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, how do we know what the tree communicated in its’ fall?
You see where I’m headed… Where does “listening” come in?
Just as our view of the world is colored by our background, our interpretations, and our outlook on life, our listening is impacted as well.
Have you ever been in a heated discussion and you’re sure the other person said something they adamantly swear they didn’t say? Or they accuse you of saying something, and you’re sure those words didn’t come out of your mouth? Unconsciously, without intentionality, we bring what we “know” into every conversation. Our assumptions and our history play a role in what we believe we hear.
Setting aside our filters to cleanly listen is not something that comes naturally. Even when we think we’re in a discussion with an open mind, we may not be aware of our thoughts racing ahead or that we’re listening for the opening to share our next idea.
Even in a “miscommunication”, we think about it from the orientation of the speaker (from what was or wasn’t said), not from what might be in the way of the person listening and what was being heard. To choose to listen is an active choice.
What is it like to experience true listening? What if every situation with someone was new and fresh and not yet filled with our thoughts and interpretations - like an empty room. What would it take to hear without judgment, without our assessment of the speaker and our assumptions about the subject matter? How can we practice listening without the lens of our past experiences?
Ask yourself these questions and it’s likely that you have a few ideas on how to try this out. We at the Portland Coaching Collective would love to hear what you try.
Michele Mather CPC
Michele Mather CPC is a Life & Business Coach who partners with clients to explore who they really are, who and what they want to connect with and why. Together they identify what is in the way and create plans to remove those barriers and achieve a client's goals. She did this for 15+ years as a marketing executive with companies and brands, and now brings that work to individuals.
Michele’s passion is intuitively listening, uncovering insights and inspiring her clients by reflecting what they’ve shared. This partnership leads to identifying and removing barriers (internal and external ones) and opening pathways to achieve success and fulfillment. With degrees in Organizational Communication and Psychology, numerous hours logged with her own personal coach, and time spent in restaurant management connecting with people struggling to balance being of service to others with being of service to self, it’s no wonder life coaching is her calling.
Health Coach Tip of the Month
By Kari Morin, Holistic Health Coach
Why we need to chew!
As a health & nutrition coach and mom of three tweens/teens, I discover I am often saying “chew, chew!” much like I did when they were babies, “choo-choo, here comes the train into the station!”
It turns out, most people chew each bite around 3 times before swallowing. Regardless the size of the bite, that can be a huge problem for your digestive system, and ultimately your mood, energy and your waist circumference! Yes, believe it or not, chewing more can help you shed unwanted pounds, and can keep your energy levels stable.
- Chewing more allows your mouth to produce saliva with the exact right enzymes, for the particular food you are eating and gives the stomach time to produce the acids required to break down that food properly.
- Chewing your food more slows down the digestive process, is gentler on the gut, and decreases the chance of inflammation and discomfort associated with “leaky gut” and autoimmune disorders related to digestion.
- When our stomachs are given ample lead time from longer chewing, our bodies are able to take all the nutrients it needs from our food and to discard what it doesn’t need more efficiently. Who wants non-nutrients hanging around or being absorbed?
- Lastly, chewing slowly and mindfully allows the brain to catch up with the eating experience and lets you know sooner that you’re full, so interrupting the tendency to overeat. Honoring our fullness is a highly effective way to manage our weight, energy and moods, as our digestive health is highly connected to both.
Give it a try: Challenge yourself to chew that bite 20-30 times. Happy eating!
The People's Yoga: Part of Our Village
If your feeling inspired by our article on communication and listening, check out the sitting meditation series offered starting in June at The People’s Yoga. This series will focus on traditional meditation techniques as a means to "cultivate forgiveness, compassion, authentic listening & joy".
The People's Yoga was founded with of the idea and intention of making yoga accessible to all people by creating classes that are accessible and affordable. They also happen to have some of the most passionate and gifted instructors in town. The People's Yoga is a place to come as you are and leave as you want to be!