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The Listening Chair

Think of someone you will spend time with in the coming week. Consciously choose to be as present as possible with this person. No texting or phone scrolling allowed. Do your best to listen to them. Make sure to hold off expressing your thoughts unless asked.

This can feel challenging. We aren't used to being in one focused spot for any length of time. Therefore, try using the concept of a Listening Chair. Wherever you are seated when you begin your interaction with this person, become aware of your body in the chair. Notice the points of contact, feel how it effortlessly supports your body, and/or take note of its texture and color. Is it velvety and pink? Or is it sturdy with a wrought-iron backing? Even make a note of observing yourself sitting as if you are watching from above. What would that look like?

You may wonder how if you are doing all this the other person won't find you distant and distracted, but the opposite is true! As you connect to the present moment in these simple ways, the other person will shift into a similar receptivity. The result is they will feel more deeply heard and understood.

This Listening Chair practice and being present in general takes time to integrate. But, over time, it will become more natural and the reward of it will motivate you to do it more and more.

If a chair happens to be unavailable to you in the moment of interaction, notice your feet connecting to the ground instead. Wiggling and noticing your toes is also a good way to center yourself in a pinch.

Practices like these allow life to offer you any endless invitations to the beauty of the now.

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