I talk a lot. In class, I have always been the student first with her hand up, ready to share. Sometimes I don’t even put my hand up, I am so eager to say something. In non profit committee meetings, I always put my 2 cents in. It feels insightful in the moment, but later I often realize it didn’t move anything forward. On long car rides… suffice it to say I am not one to look out the window at the scenery (unless I can comment on it).

Talking to me feels like catharsis, like I will burst if I do not speak.

The problem with this is manifold: When I am speaking, or thinking about what I am going to say, I am not listening. I often do not add real value to the discussion as I speak without much discernment about whether I have anything great to offer. Feeling this need to be involved all the time gives me a more a frenetic, unbalanced energy. And lastly, it just isn’t that fun to be around.

Then I realized that not saying anything in a situation does not have to be a void, it can be an inspired choice in itself. It can mean allowing other people and situations to manifest themselves in their own way, without my interference. And that to shut up and let things unfold is actually a way of honouring others. I learned that listening can be a wonderful experience, especially (and most surprisingly) for me.

For the next 6 weeks, I am taking care of my mother as she recovers from surgery. One of my goals is to be as loving and supportive as possible. I have vowed to talk less and listen more. There just is no need to add what I think into every conversation. A nod and an agreement is enough.

I already feel more centered. And I am sure my mom feels more supported too.