A Practice in Determining Listeners

Vocalizations are not an entirely immersive medium of communication. The give-and-take in conversation is frequently riddled with preconceived ideas that cause two different tracks of data to be transmitted. At any given point, there are many roles at play. Let us take a two-person conversation.

There is an instigator of the verbal conversation. There is typically acknowledgment and response from the other party (verbal or non-verbal). The conversation begins with a given tone, scenario indicating the social constraints that the conversation is going to follow, setting (quiet, loud, in public, in private), incoming understandings of the competency of the other person, understandings of the social prowess of the other person. Power plays an important role in conversation. One of the most trying ways in which power is exhibited is through the use of listening.

Determining listeners is a potent way to determine the relationship occurring, as represented by the sample of communications had with another individual. When we are trying to understanding the restraints, formalities, pleasantness, and hierarchical relationship through our conversations with another person, one of the biggest indicators can be the way in which the other person is displaying the act of listening.

Learning to listen means engaging particular methods. These methods include: repeating what the other person says back in different words (in so, acknowledging that one has understood the vocalization); refraining from thinking about what one is going to say next while the other person is speaking; referring back to points made by the other party later during the conversation; and using body language to indicate full attentiveness (nodding, leaning forward). Listeners display a learned ability that speaks volumes to their ability to engage in mutually beneficial discourse.

Individuals trying to exercise power over the other person that they are conversing with may use some of the following methods: repeatedly interrupting while the other person is talking; neglecting to acknowledge what the other party has just stated and continuing the conversation on their own accord (this results in the conversation sounding disjointed); stating something exactly as the other person said earlier in the conversation without acknowledging the origination of the thought.

While power can be exercised during conversation, the willingness of the other party to continue the relationship is what the actual relationship hinges on. When people cannot or will not learn to listen effectively and be a full participant in a two-person conversation, the other party may choose to refrain from engaging in further conversations with the domineering party.

Determining listeners is surely an excellent way to choose whom to frequently interact with. Far more kind and compassionate communications can occur between parties who are fully present as listeners in a conversation.

Power through conversation is not new; and paying close attention to the other party’s method in which they interact during the conversation can say a lot about their regard for the relationship.

Starting Morning Pages Again

Morning Pages are a practice developed and outlined by Julia Cameron wherein the individuals writes three pages every morning. These Morning Pages can be about anything that comes to mind, and this practice is not only for writers. I first heard about Morning Pages in late 2016 and started using them immediately. The results were tremendous – though I didn’t really correlate that practice with its creative manifestations at the time. During the time I was actively writing each morning, I wrote two books and took on over a dozen clients as a freelance writer.

I had never picked up Cameron’s The Artist’s Way until about a week ago, thinking it was a Christian book. I liked the exercise, but did not want the religious sentiment to impede my progress or cloud the point of me writing Morning Pages. But I kept hearing the book and Morning Pages crop up in the various facets of my life; I couldn’t ignore it. I went out to buy a copy and in the very first portion, Cameron addressed my trepidations about the book being religious. It is not religious in a Christian sense, of course unless you want it to be.

There were several factors that threw me off course when I was writing daily, and I stopped doing Morning Pages in July 2017. For the past year, I have continued freelance writing and writing articles for this blog, but I have definitely let my negative self talk over my creative self. Julia Cameron calls the internal voice that puts you down the Censor. This Censor backtalks you when you have anything positive to say about yourself, and continues to bring up old wounds.

I started Morning Pages again last week and am already feeling closer to my old, creative self. I’ve been prepping my new workspace, reassembling my old organization system, and taking myself a bit more seriously. Part of this process for me was creating a new writing space. When I was writing my novels in 2016 and 2017, I had a large desk with my laptop, notebooks, pens, and small decorative items. The desk overlooked the street outside, and I loved writing there in the evenings as people drove by, and especially when it was raining out.

My new setup is cozy – I have a smaller desk with a single drawer, a stool on a jute rug, a mason jar filled with mechanical pencils and pens, a decorative wooden sculpture, planner, laptop, and post-its. I’m not directly facing a window, but I have hung up some of my favorite prints and a poem that I always keep near. Setting up a space like this is a large step in my creative recovery. I have given myself space to again take my creative writing seriously.

Morning Pages are incredibly rewarding and require no more than a pen, paper, and thirty minutes each morning. Starting again only means that I stopped at one point, but not that I can never create more and become all the more productive.