Touch Your Nose if You Can Hear Me


in Happiness,Personal Growth

Do you ever wonder if your words are being heard? If anyone is really listening?

This past weekend, my daughter participated in a hip hop dance lesson. Imagine the scene: four and five year olds pumped up on birthday party adrenaline were being asked to follow a series of quick dance steps in tune to pulsing music. Every few moments, the teacher would turn off the music and shout, “Touch your nose if you can hear me!”

It was a telling request.

But for that simple request, you wouldn’t have known their attention was elsewhere. Their little bodies seemed to be present. Seemed to be ready to dance. But they weren’t. They didn’t hear the instructions. They weren’t actually listening.

Obviously, there is a distinction between hearing and listening. Sound may travel into the ear canal but listening only occurs when attention is given to the sound and meaning is understood.

That can take a bit of effort. Especially when you are grooving to your own little world. When what you really want to do is tell your own story. When you have a million things flying through your mind that are clamoring for your attention. When you are just plain bored or not really interested.

Listening, really listening, is one of the most affirming things we can do for another person. Allowing the words to be heard. Allowing them to penetrate our consciousness. Paying attention to subtlety and nuance. Applying meaning. Respecting what we hear. Acknowledging that we have understood.

Touching our noses to show that we get it.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Show your love by listening. It is, quite possibly, the best gift you could ever give.

Touch your nose.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Shingyo Shelley February 14, 2011 at

If you could see me right now, well, my finger is on my nose!


Andrea February 14, 2011 at

And, what a sweet picture that would be! :)


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