Robin Carlo: The First Step to Listening More Attentively

One of our three readers checks in and gives an update on the progress she’s making with her resolution.

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I'm a busy person. I've always been a busy person and I've always taken some pride in the fact that as busy as I am, I manage to get it all done. To do this has required a certain amount of self-discipline and adherence to a fairly strict routine.

None of this is bad, of course, but routines have a way of turning life into something...something, well...routine! I'm pretty sure that when God gives the incredible gift of life, his intent is not that we live it on auto-pilot.  

That feeling was what prompted my resolution this year: listen attentively. I have become increasingly aware of being on "auto-pilot" as I plow through my daily to-do list. I have noticed that more and more often when I sit down for my evening devotions I struggle to recall the details of the events of the day. More disturbing, however, is the fact that I'm not the only one noticing; my husband and children frequently begin conversations with, "Are you listening?" Sad to say I often am not, or at least not fully listening.

With this in mind, and with a sincere desire to change, I'm on my way. My first step has been to simply take note of when I am not paying attention or when my attention is divided. I've noted some definite patterns. Multi-tasking and technology seem to be the main culprits. Trying to check my email while my husband is trying to firm up weekend plans just doesn't work. Talking on the phone and cooking dinner leads to burned dinners or rushed, inattentive conversations with people I love (and who deserve my full attention).

At the end of the first 10 days there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that it's worse than I thought! I find that my mind wanders frequently and that I'm missing more than I'd ever imagined! The good news, though, is very good. Just trying to be aware of when I'm not paying full attention is helping me to pay attention. I'm already reaping the benefits. I find myself slowing down and truly thinking about what I'm doing and saying. What is surprising to me is that even with the slower pace, and even with doing only one thing at a time, I'm still managing to tackle that to-do list!

Do you have trouble listening sometimes? Comment below!

—Robin Carlo




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