Awakin Weekly: My Word Of The Year

23 days ago

Text only:

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.

My Word Of The Year
by Nancy Gibbs

[Listen to Audio!]

My word of the year is listen.
It’s one of those words whose meaning is in its music. Listen is a quiet word, that half swallowed L and diffident I and softly hissing S. It defies the clamorous words it absorbs, the words that have defined this year, the shouts and roars, the bray and bluster. Listening is hard when the sounds around us grow mean and ugly.
And listening takes particular courage in divisive times. 
“Courage is not just about standing up for what you believe,” Doug Elmendorf tells his students at Harvard. “Sometimes courage is about sitting down and listening to what you may not initially believe.”
Which is not to say that if we all just listened more, our wounds would heal and our conflicts end. Nor does it mean abandoning our values; it’s a strategic reminder of the value of humility. “It’s always wise to seek the truth in our opponents’ error, and the error in our own truth,” theologian Reinhold Niebuhr said. Listening, closely and bravely, to an opposing view deepens our insight and sharpens our arguments—especially in our public life.
It’s long past time that we quiet our animal spirits. Our fierce public battles, political fights that have infected our friendships and family, have degraded our discourse, defaced institutions, disturbed our peace. I grew up in Quaker schools, which included regular silent meetings. This did not come naturally to nine-year-olds. But I found then, and need to be reminded now, that we can’t hear the soft, sane voice inside us if we’re talking all the time, and certainly not if we’re shouting.
Instead, let’s listen. Invite surprise. Invest in subtlety. And surrender to silence once in a while.

About the Author: Nancy Gibbs is a visiting professor at Harvard Kennedy School; and former Editor in Chief at TIME. Excerpt above from here.
Share the Wisdom:  
Latest Community Insights My Word Of The Year
What do you make of seeking 'the truth in our opponents’ error, and the error in our own truth?' Can you tell a personal story of a time you were able to deepen your insight by listening, closely and bravely, to an opposing view? What helps you to invite surprise into your life?
david doane wrote:
 What I see as error, which is what someone holds that is different than what I believe, has truth in it, and what I consider truth, which is what I believe, contains error.  By being open ...
Jagdish P Dave wrote:
 When I listen to my opponents' error, I hear something I need to hear and unserstand about my position.This kind of listening arises in me when I let go of my shouts and roars about my position...
Share/Read Your Reflections
Awakin Circles:
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.
Some Good News
George's Best Friend: A Christmas Story
Home: The Movie
Finding Hope in Hopelessness
Video of the Week
Kindness Stories
Global call with Jane Murray!
Join us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>
Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple "meditation reminder" to a few friends. Soon after, "Wednesdays" started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you'd like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we'd be happy to help you get started.
Awakin Weekly delivers weekly inspiration to its 91,141 subscribers. We never spam or host any advertising. And you can unsubscribe anytime, within seconds.
On our website, you can view 17+ year archive of these readings. For broader context, visit our umbrella organization:

Deel deze nieuwsbrief op

© 2019