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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

Space & Grace

February 20, 2022

“Take note of this: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

--James 1: 16

One of the intentions I have set for myself in recent years is to talk less and listen more. This intention impacts my every relationship and conversation. It continually challenges me and whispers in my ear, “Wait….shhh. Be still. Be present,” like a little Yoda tempering my busy brain and eager tongue. This Yoda has great patience with me as I often fail. Still, I’ve noticed that the practice of it is causing a shift in my awareness. Active, genuine listening stretches our attention and deepens our understanding. Our inner space expands to hold more love, compassion, and grace. Silence within conversation can feel awkward at times, and thus we try to fill it with responses, questions, opinions, answers, anything. As we practice a more intentional and interested listening, we find that the silence can open the door to wisdom and truth. Holding this space for another person is a way of being present and giving grace. It is a discipline that takes self-control and awareness, but it can be transformative for each person. It leads to deeper connection and empathy. Learning to listen to our inner wisdom prepares us to listen more intuitively to others. As we experience the sanctuary of silence and peace, we bring its beauty and grace into the world. However, when it comes to our closest friends and family, we tend to slip into old patterns of relating. As our children become young adults, we graduate to an advanced level of learning and growth. Old patterns and roles no longer serve or support the family. We all need to discover and develop new pathways, and listening opens the door. In our family, we have struggled with the bad habit of interrupting for years. We notice it, call it out, and keep on trying to control ourselves. Everyone wants to be heard and respected. We have never meant to disrespect or hurt one another, and yet we've often failed to give each other space and grace. In recent years, we have made progress changing these patterns and speaking the truth in love. This is a bumpy road to take, but it leads to higher ground where we can see and hear each other more clearly. In my work, I listen on the phone every day to people I don't know. They share stories of struggle, courage, and overcoming. My heart breaks wide open as I listen, learn, and hold space for them. These conversations are openings for light, love, and grace. Their stories are changing how I see everyone, how I see the world, and how I see myself. The intention to talk less, listen more, hold space, and give grace starts with ourselves. Quiet the critical, chattery voice in your head. Listen to your inner wisdom. Touch the space and receive the grace of Presence which will deepen your listening. Practice stillness, nonjudgment, and empathy. Give yourself and others the space and grace to be. This is what I continue to learn. I still have a long way to go, but the journey is transforming my life and relationships. Grace & Gratitude, ej Elisa J. Juarez

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