A Welcome Surprise About Listening To Inspire

Try saying this out loud. ‘Today is the youngest I’m ever going to be.’

I’m starting this September newsletter with this statement because of a  conversation last week with a TTT colleague, whose response to it was a mix of surprise and delight.

Her interest led me to think of turning it into a deeper, more incisive question:

‘If I knew that today is the youngest I’ll ever be, what might I do differently?’

Try asking yourself that out loud too… and let it settle. What happens for you now?

It takes me to a place of recognition without urgency, a kind of benign refocusing on what is important to me, and also a pleasure. It seems to make space rather than take up space, encouraging what matters most to emerge with ease.  September is a good time to think like this, with its combination of nature slowing down and letting go, and that promising sense of new beginnings and fresh starts.

And the surprise?

I want to tell you about something out-of-the-ordinary that is connected to this profound way of being, particularly to listening.  Something I discovered last Friday which has interesting implications, at the very least.

I had a hearing test, an hour long in-depth test, which confirmed what I already knew, which is that I have lost substantial hearing capacity in the upper register of sound. (Age-related, happens to most people, no surprise there).

Further testing required me to listen to and then repeat 6 short statements, each set against an increasing level of noise, so the final statement was inaudible.  When the series was finished the audiologist turned to me and said ‘This is very surprising. In 25 years of practice I have never seen anything like it.  Your level of loss in the upper register would lead me to expect a result of between 5 and 8 on this scale, and would undoubtedly mean that you need hearing support. But your result is actually 0.5. 

That is unprecedented in my experience.’

Listening to inspire the brain?

We went on to discuss what might be different in my life that could account in some way for this unique result (and this expert has tested 1000’s of people over 25 years, it is a substantial data set).  I told him about the Thinking Environment, and about how over 15 years I’ve spent many hundreds of hours listening differently to people.

Differently compared to the norm of how we listen.

We discussed what this might mean in terms of neural connections and brain activity (because it’s the brain that responds to the vibrations transmitted by the ear).  We talked about how listening is a physiological reality, and wondered about actively increasing its capacity.

I asked him ‘Do you think it’s feasible that this different way of listening – listening without agenda, listening to support and inspire thinking, listening very intently and in silence– do you think that might be the reason for this difference you’ve just measured?’  Without hesitating he said ‘Well, I can’t think what else it might be, I’ve never seen this before.’

Who knows?  I’ve said for years that being in a Thinking Environment® is good for my health in all kinds of ways, mainly thinking of how ease impacts on the brain and on the nervous system.  I couldn’t have imagined this and I need to find out more.

Stories and Case Studies, please!

This is one particular story from and about the Thinking Environment.  What would  yours be?  I am asking because another answer for me to the ‘If you knew you are the youngest you’ll ever be…’ question is ‘I would give time every day to my ongoing project, a ‘capture’ of everything I have experienced, learned and valued about this way of being’.  I’ve made a good start, and I’ve realised that what will make it come to life is adding the stories of other people’s great moments and discoveries in a Thinking Environment.

If you had to choose just one story from your lived experience as a TTT practitioner or personally, what would that be?  Would you like to share it with me – and allow me to add it to my project (currently in PowerPoint format, potentially a book)?

Hearing from you directly about this idea would be so encouraging for me.

And I’m going to work my way through the list of those who have taken qualifying programmes with me over the years, and invite you personally to contribute. so I hope you’ll look forward to hearing from me during Autumn/ Winter 2023!

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