Monday, May 2, 2011

Leave space - lessons from my parents

Hey Comrades!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I went over to Dad's on Saturday, and biked 40 miles with my brothers and 60 year old father. We're training for a 100 mile ride in a few weeks to celebrate his 61st birthday. He has a lot of interesting ideas, in addition to the epic trek on two wheels.

He again mentioned on Saturday about how in certain Zen philosophy, the music is to make the silence sound better. (How did they know elevator music was on the way?) I always liked that though, and have tried it in improvising. It takes a lotta guts to use silence to make a point, but when done right, it's dynamite.

I was whining to my mom that I was in a grumpy mood the other day. She told me "hey man, just tune in to what's going on, get out of yourself, and pay attention."

I was sitting around with my family later that evening, and instead of throwing my usual bellowing commentary into the conversation, I just listened...the conversation kept going, and took some most interesting turns without my help. OK, for those of you shaking your head in disbelief that I could keep my mouth shut, I wasn't quiet for long.

It made me realize how it's vital to listen. I already know what I would say. But I don't know what the other person is going to say, and I'd like to find out.

I've been on stage and in conversations where I'm just so excited to be there, I have to say something. However, it typically turns into more of a flea market of moldy ideas and less an information exchange. I was on a date with a girl once where we just said random trivia about ourselves. If I hadn't been so scared out of my mind, I would have been bored to tears. I already know what movies I like. If we had both shut up, no afraid of an awkward pause, maybe one of us would have used the space given to bring some real conversation to the table.

It seems if I could apply these two concepts of silence and listening from my parents, my music, and conversation, would get a lot better. I guess it's ironic to talk about this in a blog.

- Josh

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