I Hear You

I used to be uncomfortable whenever there was a lull in a conversation. I used to jump in and fill it with ANYTHING rather than just let any silence be there.

I am noticing that I am a lot more comfortable with silence now.

I am learning how powerful it is.

When someone stops talking and I don’t jump right in with a response, but instead just let there be a gap of nothing for awhile, weird shit happens.

Either the other person gets really quiet and seems to listen to the startling echo of what they just said.

OR:

They rush right in and stuff the uncomfortable gap with a wad of verbal padding.

I used to be a verbal padder. Now I am becoming more of an echo appreciator.

Today I found myself telling a friend about this blog, and how I have been  blogging since Ash Wednesday and have kept it going, daily, up to this point, and today is my 100th consecutive post.

As I was talking, he was eating, and seemed more absorbed in his food than my narrative. I got the feeling my story was tiresome to him, but I felt powerless to stop it now that I had started it. I needed it to end, yet I prattled on, wondering why I had even started down this path.

I wanted so desperately to stop, mid-sentence, and  let the whole narrative die, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

When I finally finished, I wanted some silence to happen. But it didn’t.

Instead, he jumped right in, changed the subject, and flew off in another direction.

Some conversations could really benefit from air traffic control.

 

“Have You Always Been This Way?”

I assumed (and hoped) he meant friendly, open, interested, and together.

He stopped me as I was walking Boomer on campus. He wanted to know how big this place was.

He said he had been lured off the highway to come and explore. He just couldn’t get over how beautiful this area was.

He was driving from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg. He stopped in Bath to ride his bike for a few hours. He wasn’t in a big hurry. He was listening to Eckhart Tolle CDs as he drove.

He asked me what I did here (in Mansfield) and I told him. We talked about a whole number of things, he sitting in his car, me, dealing with Boomer who wanted to WALK, GODDAMIT!

The conversation was simple and easy and light and friendly. I felt a real sympatico connection with this fellow just passing through, stopping to check out this crazy little college in the middle of nowhere.

Earlier in the evening I had the polar opposite experience. I found myself trying to find some common ground with an extremely tense person who thoughts boinged  from thing to thing like a pinball.

I wondered to myself: Have you always been this way? meaning: tense, overly talkative, guarded and defensive?

 

When the “accidental tourist” man asked me if I have always been this way we had just had 20 minutes of an easy-breezy, open-hearted, back and forth dialogue about the environment and yoga and his children and mine and India and travel.

It was fun, and both of us said so as we said goodbye.

I think a lot about “vibe” and I am supersensitive to the vibe of all the beings I encounter in a day. I always hope my vibe comes across clear and strong and positive and amped.

To his question, “No, I haven’t always been this way.”

But I’ve been this way for quite a while, at least as long, or longer than I’ve been any other way.

And that thought made me feel happy tonight as Boomer and I traversed the rest of campus on our walk this gentle May evening.

Namaste, Brian. I really enjoyed our conversation.