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  • Writer's pictureColleen M. Doumeng

My Awakening Joy Challenge

Rule 7%-38%-55%?

Did you know that we communicate with more than our words when we speak? Psychologist Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer in the field of nonverbal communication, formulated this rule. His research revealed that only 7 percent of our feelings and attitudes are carried by our words! The tone of our voice constitutes 38 percent of the communication and 55 percent is conveyed by body language. Wow!

My intention is to speak kindly, wisely, truthfully and be a compassionate listener. Not always easy. Being human I get that I am flawed. Many times I just stink at this. Often times I find myself losing patience and getting very frustrated during conversations with people. Maybe they are in your life too. The ones who tell the same story again and again with a bunch of “boring” details, or interrupt you in the middle of your sentence hijacking you, or want to tell me everything about a movie or a series their watching and then struggle with remembering the name of the movie, then the actor and next their off in a ditch trying to recall and I don’t care, I just don’t care, I AM NEVER GOING TO WATCH THAT MOVIE SO STOP, and/or I am getting minute by minute accounts of their day, their aches and pains, their hospitalizations, or they need my account number AGAIN, even though I have said it twice but they can’t understand me. Or, I am standing on the wrong line, or in traffic again and I am late and this “old” person again shows up right in front of me going ten, or my return has passed the day for a credit, on an on. I want to be anywhere but where I am, I am just “so busy” right now and annoyed. Next thing I start to see the workings of my ego – going into overdrive creating a story that is slowly becoming a mini series in of itself THAT I WOULD NEVER WATCH and I’m like ugh…I just can’t with this ~And I would never, ever want this person to see my thoughts meanwhile all the while this rule says my tone and my body language are communicating all of it!!! Sometimes my insides feel like I’m on the spin cycle of a washing machine! And, here’s my huge a/Ha moment! I AM ALSO That person creating someone else’s spin cycle!

I admit that I have moments of not speaking wisely, using tones and not nice body language. I can be the master of eye rolling, dropping eye contact, distracting myself with picking up something, shutting down, raising my voice to get clearer, talking sarcastically, embellishing stories with drama, gossiping, standing there with my arms crossed or my hand on my hip looking like a bored checked out teenager waiting for the conversation to end. (By the way, who are my greatest teachers calling me out on these behaviors – my husband, my kids and grandkids, my dear friends, my siblings, my teachers).

So what to do to come back to my highest version/my intention when this is happening? Practice what I teach – bring myself back to THIS MOMENT using my breath. Ground myself in this moment. Use my tool – the pattern interrupt breath. It is built into us – part of our DNA too – it is always there to help us just relax and come more fully into the NOW. Become our highest version. You know this too – just take a deep breath in - hold - exhale – hold. So simple and we forget. The key though is to observe the moment using the breath. Observe the mental states - the way the body is feeling – observing the constrictions – observe. Practice witnessing and accepting. Watch the ego – watch the story line – watch how the ego needs to be right – watch how the ego needs to control. Remember. This is my only moment and it is workable. Just be here now.

Just for today, when I find myself in situations where I become impatient, frustrated, feeling all superior like I don’t have time for this person right now I am going to practice remembering the rule of 7%-38%-55%. I AM willing to change to learn today. I will observe – breathe more deeply and more often - meditate during this difficult moment with my eyes wide open - they won't even know. I am going to be more aware of my words, my tone, my body language. And, I would love to remember throughout my day what Hafiz said,

“Everyone is God speaking. Why not just be polite and listen ...?”

Sending you peace from Long Island New York. Namaste~

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