Greetings my fellow lifelong explorers! Have you had some new adventures this week? I explored a new recipe, grocery store couponing, foreign television, and a new book this week. I also spent almost a full day in one of my favorite explorations… Shopping! Specifically thrift shopping which is always a new adventure. If you’re still getting used to embracing the discovery opportunities in your life, keep at it!
This week I want to talk about living a life of communication.
Communication is the key to connection, with our world, others, and ourselves. Life, of course, is already pretty chock full of messages and information coming at us all day every day. There is certainly no shortage of things said, stories written, comments made, meaningful facial expressions pulled, and text messages sent. The problem is that with all these attempts at communication it’s easy to get overwhelmed with messages and start to go numb at the ears, while the important stuff gets lost in the traffic.
The goggles I want to share are wide eyed and scanning. They’re designed to look for messages from every direction, then tease out the fluff to expose the root communique. They are attuned to their wearer’s internal monologue, twinges and cravings and memories. They’re looking for texts from friends and funny quips on social media and suggestions from coworkers and common ties at the grocery store. They’re masters of subtext. They listen to someone complaining about their kids and hear a mom who works her butt off every day in desperate need of a break. When you check your phone for the 15th time and still haven’t gotten a single text, these goggles give helpful backstory like “You’re really missing the people who love you right now. Life is busy and everybody works and has kids, and you wish you could know what they are up to and tell them you love them”.
Learning to look out for messages and contextualize or reinterpret them when I see them has been a hugely enriching practice in my life. I feel more connected with the people I love and society in general. Seeing “random problems” as helpful information has given me the ability to make changes in my life to add enjoyment and minimize frustration and pain. By working to understand the underlying messages I can get more effective in how I communicate with others. In a society as disconnected from our bodies and so strongly encouraged to get out of our own minds, the benefits to be gained from tuning in to feelings and impulses from the body is hugely beneficial. Like I said, life is communication, so learning to do it more efficiently and with more positive results is honestly just learning to win at life…
Put on Those Communication Goggles:
Check in with your body-
Whenever you think of it; maybe when you change tasks or every trip to the kitchen; take a minute to listen for messages from your body. There are constant signals coming from all regions of your body so what are they saying? Is it time to stretch? Maybe you need some water, or a breathing break. Your body might be asking for rest, or maybe for something to get the blood pumping. You won’t ever know if you aren’t paying attention and looking for messages.
In this world of connectivity it’s easier than ever to reach out to people and tell them we’re thinking of them. I have at least six apps specifically designed to make it easier for me to keep in touch with my friends, if I only use them. Tech savvy or Luddite, the friends and family you’ve invested in are worth keeping around, and they love hearing from you! Let’s all get a little more communication sensitive and keep connections open with the ones we love.
Assign new meaning-
Life is much easier when we give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We are happier when we give allowance for comments to be about someone’s bad day not about us. Angry comments, criticism, and belittling are usually a reflection of the person saying them, not a reflection of us. Flat tires create a break in routine to shake up our lives. Annoying coworkers remind us of how much we love our spouses back home. Our favorite foods are nourishment as well as pleasure, and our empty wallet means we’ve been taking care of our families. There is always another potential interpretation, if we put on our goggles and look.
Learn what to tune out-
While you’re busy seeing the messages of the world around you, and understanding the messages behind the communication, you will undoubtedly come across messages you want to erase. The ones that no amount of psychology, empathy, or reinterpretation can change. The world of advertising comes to mind, with their messages of temptation, dissatisfaction, self-hate and unachievable perfection. Hateful people on social media, the 24 hour news cycle… There are messages intended for us, but with only harmful aims. When we can identify whatever messages as harmful instead of beneficial, we can avoid them in the future, freeing up our minds for much more beneficial pursuits.
Here’s to cultivating a mindset of communication.
May we learn to understand the messages of others, may we reply without guise, and may the problems we encounter in life be interpreted as lessons.