My 2016 Word of the Year is: Listen

Do you hear that? No, nor did I.

Since my 2015 word of the year was energy, my year was noisy, filled with the throes of everyday life, with busyness and activity. It was a good year overall: I felt like the family and I thrived. I achieved a consistent exercise routine, I slept consistently well. I felt like I hit a new stride at work – while the demands and pressures didn’t change, I was able to sail through. The kids were well and happy, my husband nurtured his passion for karate and reiki. Overall it was a year without too much personal or family drama and for that I am grateful.

But it sped by so fast. Scary fast. So fast in fact, that I worry that I didn’t take the moments in. I missed some cues. I was so involved in the busyness that I neglected some people who matter enormously to me and in the process, damaged relationships – something I never intended to do and am working to fix.

Bottom line, I didn’t listen enough.

Strangely enough, in Hebrew the definition of my name – Samantha – is Listener.  And, as a communicator by nature and by profession, I know that listening is as important as talking or writing, maybe more so.

So this year, I’m committed to being a better and more active listener. This will force me to be more present and to slow down. I’ll need to attune my radar to the signals and inputs all around me – both the explicit and the inferred – from my kids, my husband, friends (both near and far), colleagues, clients, even strangers. I’ll need to look up more, open my eyes and my ears, say less. Lean back and take it in before speaking up. Maybe the cues might exist elsewhere – in music, art, books or nature – but unless I’m open to them, I’ll miss them. To quote Paulo Coelho, “I believe in signs … what we need to learn is always there before us.”

I’ll also need to listen to myself more. Not to the voice that often says “eat more cheese” or “go back to sleep” (instead of going to the gym.) But to my instincts and my gut. I tend to second guess myself a fair deal, apply too much logic, but sometimes the better answer is found in the instinct. So, I’m going to listen more to that too and see where that takes me. Less rationale, more impulse-based listening and action.

So bring it, 2016, I’m listening.

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