How to know when to share your voice and whom to do business with
By Kara Johnstad
“I have been there. In the valleys that carry the mountain streams of silence. I rolled inside the rapids and got pulled under. Exploring the river bed, I scraped past the boulder that told me of the lost bird whose feather had been carried by the eagle man to the highest mountain top. And so I went to my knees and pulled myself up and climbed. And there the breeze brushed with delight my left temple… and the silent song invaded my soul, permeated my bones. There in the calm hush of the night, I remained listening. I listened deep into the wild winds, my blood spooked and thrilled at the same time. I stood, wombed, enveloped in darkness. Yes, in that precious moment, my soul lost its name, and I went for sky. I am a kite.”
These lines of mine open a book I have been working on. They reminded me today, how very important it is to cultivate the art of deep listening.
Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force.
The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward.
When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.
KarL A. Menninger
So as a writer, what do I hear? In the moment the movement of traffic, a blender, someone is putting trash into the container, and interwoven are, feathered creatures, the Berlin sparrows chirping and chattering. That is all outside my windows, then there is the ever so slight sigh of the laptop and the clickety clack of the keys while I type at my desk and coming through the stereo boxes is Horowitz playing Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
Now stop for a moment and listen in to your surroundings. What are you hearing? Kids voices? The washing machine? Someone talking on the phone? The wind? A printer? A dog’s bark?
One of the greatest secrets to life
is learning the art of deep listening.
As a writer we capture the rhythms and sound of language. We smile when we discover odd sentences and new words and love keeping them tucked inside our brain only to pull them out at the right moment. We can only gather sounds and rhythms, if we practice deep listening.
As a singer, we capture the nuances of tone and take flight leaning against the strings, and forming and molding the words and letting it all resonate between our ears.
Yes, we sing with our ears and listen with our hearts.
And one of the secrets to having a powerful voice is keeping the seed of sound centered above the vocal folds and right between the ears, listening in and expanding out. Directly above the vocal folds, not thrown out into the world too quickly.
If you listen in while speaking or singing,
and keep the voice between the ears,
it has time to grow, BEFORE it goes out into the world.
Once it goes out, it is harder to take back. So it is deep and active listening, that will not only change your artistry and make you excel as an artist. It will also deepen your friendships and gift you with the best business and work experiences possible.
is transformational. Magnetic. A Creative force.
When we truly deeply listen to each other,
there is an alternating current that happens,
that recharges us so that we never tire.
We stay present and fresh and are constantly being recreated.
There is an old story about a sufi mystic:
Once upon a time, long long ago, a sufi mystic was walking on the outskirts of an old village when he came upon a cemetery. It was very late at night, the moon was full and he stumbles upon a pile of skulls. They are heaped up high and he was very curious. He picks up a skull and examines it. They all have a place for the eyes and mouth and nose and yet the ears are different.
Some of the skulls have ears that are joined together by a passage.Then there are a few skulls where the ears are not joined together, and as he examines more closely there is bone and cartilage, blocking, strange, he thinks to himself, as if the nose has decided to go backwards, and as he picks up another skull he see that the ears are connected to a wide passage that leads directly to the heart.
The wise sufi mystic is a bit dumbfounded and prays to God, tell me about this mystery. Why are some ears connected, and others not, while others have a passage that runs straight to the heart?
He wondered and wondered and then he heard a deep inner whispering and God said, “it is good that you came upon this pile of skulls. I had put them there for you to learn a very important lesson. I wish to show you that there are three types of people.
One, hears only through one ear and it never goes anywhere.
They may hear but they do not listen. The sound simply bounces off of them. They remain untouched.
There is the second type who hears, but only for a short moment in time. They hear through one ear and it goes out the other. They have heard, but not really taken the time to absorb or understand. A coming and going. It is heard and yet lost again so quickly.
The third type of person is rare, they are the few souls who hear through both ears and it reaches into the heart.
This is deep listening, my dear friend. Always remember this story, when you are sharing and talking with people. Talk only to those who take whatsoever you say into their hearts, otherwise it is a waste of time. Our life energy is precious and we need to learn to give to those souls, who are open to receive our offerings. We also need to stay quiet and practice mindful silence when surrounded by people with closed ears. Our time is too valuable.
So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively,
then you are listening not only to the words,
but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.
I have always used deep listening as a singer/songwriter to hit the top performance level and write music and poetry. And yet I have to admit. With the music industry running so fast, I sometimes found myself multitasking on the business side and private sides. Pulling 14 hour days. I remember being with a good friend whom I rarely saw, our time so precious, we were at the park and lyrics for an upcoming show were running through my head and I kept pulling out my notes, and slipping in my headphones, as I had to get them into my bones before the big event and at the same time I had calls coming in for the venues and sound checks to organize.
Witnessing this behavior from outside of myself and living it at the same time, I finally understood. I remembered the story of the “ears.” It was a wake up call. I was not being fully present. Life is precious and the contrast was painful. On that day I made a commitment to myself to be fully present and connected and create my life not react to my life.
I also made the commitment to work 100 percent with people whose ears are leading to their hearts. Decisions are powerful, and I’m happy to say that I have one of the best teams in the world.
It has been a transformational journey. I understand now. The sufi story may be true or not, but when holding a meeting or on stage in front of a big audience, I am quicker to sense where I am standing. In every crowd there are the people who hear with only one ear.
Then there are people who hear in one ear, grabbing on for a quick moment and it flies out the other ear and they are full of things and sounds and yet nothing really changed. They love to be “entertained”. When they leave the dinner or the concert or put down the book, nothing really remains. They consume and move on.
And then, there are the concerts that stay with me for a lifetime and the audience for a life time. The concerts when I walk out onto stage and look into a sea of people, I see the ones that are able to see and hear with the heart. And more and more, it is everyone in the room. They have gathered: poets, singers, dancers, writers, healers, visionaries, dear friends, and musicians. And, if you are reading this, you too, are most likely a seeker. Someone who loves the deeper layers. Someone who loves to be moved by music and have it accompany you for a while. For you I sing and write.
So how do you know who to share your gems with and who to do business with?
Remember this lesson. Do business with people who are capable of deep listening. Do business with people who are interested in the whole you. And share your gifts and gems with souls who are able to be present.
If you practice the art of deep listening,
I promise, your friendships will deepen
and your business will become more and more successful.
Why? Because you will be only spending your life energy on those people and things that matter.
You see, I am not really interested in the crowd. And I am not interested in the entertainment industry. I am interested in individuals. I am interested in people with mettle. I am interested in the essence.
Share your genius in the comments, and feel free to join the
Voice Your Essence™ tribe and The Daily Sisterhood tribe over on Facebook: www.facebook.com/voiceyouressence and https://www.facebook.com/groups/331188773632495/?fref=ts
I’m really excited to hear what you have to say.
Thank you, as always, for tuning in, reading and contributing.
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Kara Johnstad is a creative visionary, transformational catalyst and a powerful voice in the time and age of transition. She is a singer / songwriter, creator of The Essence Radio Show™, and founder of the Voice Your Essence™ Program and regular contributor to The Daily Sisterhood Blog. If you are ready to take your voice and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription of her weekly eZine, at www.karajohnstad.com
Image: “Wind On Barley” by Dr Joseph Valks / freedigitalphotos.net
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Image: “Man Woman Psychiatric Session” by Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net
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