Can You Hear Me Now?

Telephone technology of the 21st century is truly amazing, practically magical, especially compared to the telecommunications I experienced growing up in the 1960’s. My father was employed by Pacific Bell Telephone (Ma Bell) as a switch office technician for all of his 30+ year career. And every once in a while he would treat me to a tour of his ‘office’. I was clearly an impressionable youth, because I would walk amazed and mind-boggled through the rows and columns of switch gear. The incessant cacophony of clicks and clacks, snaps and pops, was a symphony of sorts. And it perplexed me to no end to envision each noisy tapping of the switch gear as the result of one of Ma Bell’s customers ringing up and connecting with another person’s telephone. And these telephones where making their connections whether they existed in the same city or were ringing across the country! How was this possible? The mystery of hardwired telephone technology and its clumsy mechanical systems was something like voo-doo science. And yet, by the 1980’s my father retired early from the telephone company. He wanted nothing to do with learning a new technology…the switchover from the hard-wired analog system to smooth efficiently of the digital age. But wait, by the 1990’s, cell phone technology would go to outer space and beyond to make our chit-chat connections possible! This is why it always makes me chuckle whenever I hear that idiomatic saying, “Can you hear me now?” I mean really, call switch-science today is silent and wireless, so why do we still struggle to hear one another on our pocket phones? This seems ridiculously backwards!

“When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

Brenda Ueland

But like many things in our modern world, the more things change, the more things stay the same. And what is still true through all the ages, is the human need to be heard. “Can you hear me now?” It doesn’t matter whether we are relating over the telephone lines or through the ether of the Internet, or through words and deeds in the milieu of human relations. To be heard by the other, is to be seen, to be acknowledged, to be made real and necessary. To be heard implies that the words we speak are being received and deciphered accurately by the one on the receiving end. It is no surprise then, that our relations with one another break down so often due to a ‘lack of connection’.

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.”

Dean Jackson

In my work as a personal trainer, I initially train and teach my clients from a place of not knowing. What I thereafter learn about my client I do so by curating purposeful questions and quiet listening. My knowledge, training, and practice in the art of physical fitness, does my client no good if I clone a one-size fits all program. The beautiful challenge I encounter with every client who comes to me for training is similar to that of telecommunications technology. When I make a training appointment with a client, I must be able to connect with them by listening and interpreting what they are telling me about their goals and/or outcomes. It is possible for me to create static in our communication if I over-ride their needs and desires with my own goals for them or I may get our lines crossed and misinterpret what they transmit to me. When I don’t ask the right questions, I lose an opportunity to tailor the best program for their specific objectives. Listening to my client’s words and watching their body-language helps me develop a plan to meet their evolving intentions. “Can you hear me now?” It takes two, willing, hearing and listening participants to make one healthy training relationship.

“The first duty of love is to listen.”

Paul Tillich

Curious isn’t it? That regardless of the basis for our relationship with others, the most respectful, helpful, thing we can do to elicit one another’s growth and understanding is first and foremost to engage this simple task: listen well to the words spoken by the other. This is a simple thing to do with our two ears, but it is not easy. I am learning that my best listening networks happen when I make sure not to lose the connection between my ears and my heart.

Riddle Me This

Who are you?

Who you think you are is everything! Have you ever stopped to listen to what you are telling yourself about yourself? You should try it some time. Listening…to the dialog. You may have to sneak up on yourself, and pretend like you’re eves dropping on someone else’s conversation, but take some minutes in any given day to be quiet and alert to your inner dialog. Then notice how you feel about yourself after listening to your self-talk.

Do you have warm, accepting feelings about the YOU of your thinking? Or do you disdain and belittle the person, the YOU of your thinking? Do you realize YOU are the author of your life’s story? Can you wrap your mind around this truth: WHAT you think about yourself is WHO you become? Is it time for you to re-write your script?

English heart surgeon Martyn Lloyd-Jones is noted for saying that, “Most unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself rather than talking to yourself.”

In my profession as a personal trainer, people pay me to help them reconfigure their bodies. But what my clients may not be aware of, is that I am also training them to pay attention to their mind via what they are thinking…especially, what they are thinking about before and after they exercise.

If a client thinks she can or cannot achieve the fitness goal she has set for herself, then I guarantee that she most certainly will achieve what she is thinking and believing.

What you think means more than anything else in your life. More than what you earn, more than where you live, more than your social position, and more than what anyone else may think about you. Every problem introduces you to yourself. It shows you how you think and what you’re made of.” George Matthew Adams

A very important part of my training program is to teach my clients how to be their very own best cheerleader.  When I am with them, I encourage them, with positive words, stories and suggestions to help them understand that they have the power to change a negative health behavior into a positive healthful habit.

Mind is everything; muscle–pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.
Paavo Nurmi, Finnish Olympian who won nine gold medals

When I am with them, I am the voice in their head. If they spend enough time with me and believe the things I tell them as true, then my words, spoken into their listening ears and received by a believing heart will soon become internalized. My thoughts about them will  become their own thoughts, their own dialog, their own story about who they are and who they are becoming. Thinking becomes believing. Mind is the master, not the servant, of the body.

Living with the end in mind informs the decisions we make each day.
A Common Ground ~ Todd Outcalt

Everyone feels lost and out of sorts in life from time to time. This is a natural by-product  of the human experience. Since we will deal with difficulties as long as we inhabit our physical body, perhaps we should consider our trials as benefactors in disguise.

What if we turned our thinking around? What if we chose to think of those things we don’t like about our self or our life as gifts to help us discover who we really are at our essence?  What if our upset or short coming is our clarion call for change?

     Consider that your learning goal is the ongoing pursuit of a lifetime of consistent physical movement and self-care.
If you are going to be successful staying physically active and taking care of yourself, you need to learn Strategies that will enable you to prioritize your plans and be consistent, flexible, and creative as you learn to incorporate physical activity into the rest of your dynamic, ever-changing life.
The Strategy of beginning with the end in mind asks you to take the long view: Your goal is lifelong behavior change, and that’s what you want to keep in mind ~ always.
Michelle Segar ~ No Sweat

Now tell me again: Who are you?

A New Day to Hear…and Listen

Every day I wake is a gift from above; with it comes the promises of Him who made the sun to rise, and together with the brilliant rising sun He says…I AM here for you. Today my prayer is that I will not only hear His voice, but that I will also listen and learn. This morning I seem to hear Him say:

Walk with Me! But when you walk, keep your eyes open, your head up. Do not lose sight of Me. Seek after Me, Keep up with Me! Dawdle if you must, but dawdle with Me in view. Run if you must, but run with the joy of your inner child. I AM never far from you.