Mindfulness and Conscious Communication

Today, at my Mid-Day Mindfulness class, we discussed the power of Conscious Communication
Each one of us wants to heard, but are we really listening fully when others speak? Typically our minds tend to wander. Or we jump at the chance to put our two cents in. We owe it to each other to listen and take the honest time needed to digest what the person is saying before responding. 

Having a daily meditation practice sets the framework for training our brains to call back our wandering thoughts and engage fully in conversations. One tool I was taught by my teacher long ago and still use is to keep one finger casually over the lips, as if to be totally absorbed in what the other is saying. What you are really doing is reminding yourself to keep your mouth shut and let that person finish their thought.  

We also want to be conscious of our words when it is our turn to speak. Most of us can't stand the sound of our own voices, but it's worth getting into the habit of actually hearing yourself talk. Listen to the sounds as they come out. What is the tone you are putting forth? 
Feel your mouth move as the words are being formed. This is presence. 

A final note on gossiping. 
This is a habit worth consciously breaking. It may seem all good and in fun, but you are doing yourself more harm than you probably realize. You'll notice that you feel pretty crappy or drained after talking badly about another.  When you speak praise about someone, you naturally feel lighter and energized. It also says a lot about how you see yourself. So, share the good news. Leave out the bad. You'll be a happier person for it.