by Meredith Berger

This was the first official week of my new position at work, and I started Monday coming off of a 4-day road trip with seven friends. While it’s been very exciting, it’s also been a whirlwind, and sitting down to write hasn’t been so easy. Do you ever feel like that? Where you go days without taking a moment to relax or having quiet to think? If not, I’m extremely jealous of your lifestyle and need tips ASAP. If you do, I have a suggestion.

My friend’s office has a weekly emotional intelligence lecture where they talk about office observations, team building, communication, etc. This week they went outside for a few minutes and were told to listen to the noises around them. First, the noises closest to them. Then the noises a little bit further out, and then as far as they could hear. They then discussed the sounds they heard. Many of the further ones were different, but all shared the closest/easiest sounds.

I think that activity can provide numerous important concepts, depending on how you look at it. One abstract inference here is that we are all focused on what’s directly in front of us. Part of the challenge is that our environment is ‘noisier” than ever. There’s so many distractions in our day to day that seem to require ‘immediate’ attention, that we can miss more subtle secondary needs (like taking a silent break to process our thoughts, or sitting down to write a blog).

A more concrete conclusion is that we are not often engaged with our surroundings past what’s directly facing us, and we don’t take time to be present or actively listening. Our hearing becomes more and more selective. Taking a moment to ground your feet, close your eyes, and to be present with your surroundings is meditation in a way, and in just a few minutes you can put yourself in a more relaxed state. You can become more aware of your own needs and a better listener to people around you.

In Mark 6:31 (NLT), Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”

If you’ve had a busy week like me (and I know you all did), then perhaps take a few minutes this weekend to try that out and see what you hear. Relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and clear your head. It’s incredible what simple breathing and listening can do for your soul, and hey, it must have worked because I put aside my work laptop and wrote this blog.

Have a blessed weekend 🙂

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