I am not sure how many of you watch reality shows like America or Britain’s Got Talent or any of the other talent reality shows. Not having a television anymore, I only watch the videos that are on YouTube. This week, however, I have become fascinated by watching tapes of The Voice. What has fascinated me is how focused the judges are on listening to the contestants.
They were so actively listening. Not being a vocal coach or knowing much about music at all, I have been fascinated watching how actively they listen to every note, to every breath, to every intonation in the contestants voices. It made me wonder how it feels as the contestants are singing their hearts out to know that they are so actively listening to them.
It made me realize how easy it is to have one’s listening transformed and distracted by what someone looks like, how they move their bodies, how they perform a song. How differently do we listen when we just listen? How differently do we listen when that is all we do?
Thinking about this made me think about our most recent love and inspiration session. It was just Claude and I having a conversation about listening. I was intentional the entire session of just focusing on what he was saying. Sometimes I would close my eyes just so I could be like the judges on The Voice and focus solely on what he was saying. What was interesting was not just how differently I heard him, but how differently he felt throughout the conversation. I have always listened to those who come to our Sunday morning group, but this week, I tried to listen with more intentionality blocking out all distractions and intentionally not thinking about what I wanted to say, just listening. As I have written about before, the words came when it was time for me to speak.
Having realized how my vision helps me hear things differently, I started just listening to music without watching the performances and realized I heard the music differently. I was, like the vocal coaches, just listening to the music, to the emotions, and the way my body responded to the song. Conversely, when I watched the same performers I found I was sometimes more focused or distracted by the performer themselves.
This month I am practicing not being distracted when I am listening. Are you aware of what affects how you listen? What are you willing to change to listen more actively?