On Being All Ears

What’s Up Next?

(Courtesy of Holger Motzkau)

April 2017 ~ On Being All Ears
(& the Dynamism of Universal Human Needs)

Russian figure skater wins gold with program that included audio from 9/11


A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hear it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it…

~ William Shakespeare
Act 5, Scene II of Love’s Labour’s Lost

Courtesy of Irina Polikanova (via Wikimedia Commons)


How do you speak into the listening of others?

Practice:  Write down a stimulus, as an observation, and then notice how your interpretation morphs as you journal four differing evaluative contexts (of jackal/giraffe ears, both outward/in).

Handout for Sunday’s tele-practice group:

Communication Flow Chart (2nd page)
&/or Jackal/Giraffe Ears – Four Choices

(Building on our experimentation with strengths & learning/growing edges, we’ll continue to explore the NVC skills which might help transfigure —  Strength/Edge_Worksheet — the listening context that we lend, both to ourselves and others.)

Anubis mask (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

 Thich Nhat Hahn:
We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us. Then, we will suffer less. But everyone is suffering, and no one wants to listen.

Four Choices When Hearing a Difficult Message

Judgmental (Jackal) Ears Out

Blame or Criticize the other person

“It’s your fault.”
“You’re bad/wrong.”
“You should____.”

(Voice of Anger)

Judgmental (Jackal) Ears In

Blame or criticize yourself

“It’s my fault.”
“I’m bad/wrong.”
“I should_____.”

(Voice of Guilt, Shame, Depression)

Generative (Giraffe) Ears In

Connect to your internal experience

“I’m feeling__________ because I need/value____________.”

(Voice of Self-Empathy)

Generative (Giraffe) Ears Out

Connect to the underlying cause of the other’ s communication

“Are you feeling________ because you value/need____________?”

(Voice of Empathy)

FYI ~ Here is a link to the recording from “Recovering from Reactivity” (utilizing the giraffe/jackal ears handout:  Four Choices.pdf) via a  free webinar courtesy of Jim & Jori Manske
papilio_polymnestor-kadavoor-2016-07-27-002“Papilio polymnestor-Kadavoor-2016-07-27-002” © Jee & Rani Nature Photography is used here under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License – Life cycle of Papilio machaon

For as Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us:
Listening is a very deep practice… you have to empty yourself. You have to leave space in order to listen… especially to people we think are our enemies — the ones we believe are making our situation worse. When you have shown your capacity for listening and understanding, the other person will begin to listen to you, and you have a chance to tell him or her of your pain, and then it’s your turn to get healed. This is the practice of peace.


From the book, The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci, which begins a chapter on empathy with this instrumental analogy:

“Although I am not a musician, I once had the opportunity to hold in my hands an exquisitely made violin dating to the eighteenth century.  What amazed me, even more than its harmonious lines or the beautiful grain of its wood, was that, holding it, I could feel it vibrate.  It was not an inert object.  It resonated with the various sounds that happened to resonate around it:  another violin, a tram passing in the street, a human voice.  If you hold an ordinary, factory-made violin, that just doesn’t happen.  There can be hundreds of sounds around it and the violin remains numb.  In order to obtain that fine sensitivity and extraordinary resonance of the old violin, the makers had to had an exceptional knowledge of wood and its seasoning; they were supported by the artisan tradition of generations, and they were endowed with the talent of cutting the wood and furnishing the instrument.  This marvelous responsiveness is an active virtue.  It is the capacity of the violin to enter into resonance, and it goes hand in hand with its capacity to create sound of extraordinary quality — music with a soul, able to move and to inspire.  We human are, or at least can be, like that violin.”

FT:  Putin’s cellist friend ‘interested only in musical instruments’

Guardian:  Sergei Roldugin, the cellist who holds the key to tracing Putin’s hidden fortune

WaPo:  Trump Foundation admits to violating ban on ‘self-dealing’

The “invisible foot” ensures us that in a free-market … economy each person pursuing only his own good will automatically, and most efficiently, do his part in maximizing the general public misery. ” ~ E. K. Hunt

 “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
~ Epictetus

Giraffes facing extinction after devastating decline – The Guardian

Vladimir Putin changes his mind and echoes Donald Trump to say humans are not to blame for climate change — Putin Proposes To Adapt To Climate Change & Benefit from It:  Vladimir Putin offered that climate change could bring ”more favourable conditions for using this region for economic ends” reports The Independent.  According to the Russian president, global warming is good for exposing natural resources. Besides, Russia can obtain new year-round ports and navigation routes due to melt of Arctic ice.

The Pond-Skater Presidency – The New York Times

Evgenia Medvedeva 2017 Worlds Free Skate


“The economic effects of all Arctic warming impacts may be enough to dent the gross domestic product of some countries, with cost estimates ranging from $7 trillion to $90 trillion by the end of this century.” ~ Andrew Freedman via What we do in the next 5 years will determine the fate of the melting Arctic

The world’s best figure skater is performing to a (9/11) soundtrack …

WaPo: Russian Figure Skater Wins Gold with Program that Included Audio from 9/11

So despite Medvedeva’s team’s … claim it’s about “dealing with tragedy and uncertainty in today’s world” per the commentary at the European championships — Sept. 11 is clearly important to the program. The audio is precisely how tragedy is communicated to the audience since Medvedeva, as talented as she is, isn’t really capable of pulling that off without a big assist. [Deadspin]

Julia Fordham ~ Porcelain


“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today.  We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.  In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late…We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on.  Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words:
“Too late…”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

NYT: The Planet Can’t Stand This Presidency

Trump is in charge at a critical moment for keeping climate change in check. We may never recover. comment icon  Comments


When it comes to material needs, hardly anyone on the planet is self-sufficient, those of us in modern, highly differentiated societies least of all.”
~ Miki Kashtan, Choosing Interdependence

Have < Do < Be

Note how Marshall Rosenberg demonstrates how the more static (preferred strategies) can be more alienating, while the more dynamic (feelings/needs) can often be more life-serving/connecting:

Marshall Rosenberg – Solution for conflicts through communication

Marshall Rosenberg demonstrates Nonviolent Communication
Marshall Rosenberg – Jackals, Giraffes, Requests & Love
Marshall B. Rosenberg – How do you talk to yourself about making mistakes
Parenting with Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

Eugene Gendlin:  What Looks Back – YouTube

Hero’s journey

The Fool card from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck. (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Tricycle:  The Buddhist Review – Spring 2017 

Be Still & Know – A Zen take on biblical wisdom By Ruben . F. Habito 

(Excerpted from Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible, by Ruben L. F. Habito to be published by Orbis Books in April 2017) 

Moses and the Burning Bush, illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

…We recall that when Moses on Mount Sinai encountered the burning bush (Exodus 3:14) and received a message that he was to lead his people to freedom, he asked, “Who is it who is commanding me to do all of these things for my people?”  The answer he received in Hebrew was Ehyeh asher ehyeh, which biblical translators have rendered as “I am who am,” or “I will be as I will be.”  Or more simply, “I am.”  This encounter was a very powerful experience that defined Moses’ entire life from that point on, as he realized that he was no longer just this given individual human being with his own little ambitions and purposes in life, with his particular background and upbringing, with all the particular memories he carried up to that point, including the guilt that he may have felt for having killed an Egyptian, and all the things that he was carrying with him as part of the bundle of his historical existence.  All of that just melted away in the face of this pure I am.  And from that point on, he was simply a vessel, an instrument that conveyed the message of this I am to whomever he met, and all his actions were simply particular ways of allowing this I am to unfold in the various events and encounters of his life.  

That is the same calling each person is called to undertake in his or her personal life, including all the particulars, the given qualities and gifts, as well as the limitations.  As we allow this I am to become the pervading power that undergirds our entire life and our entire being, we understand ourselves, in all the particularities of our lives, as gifts of that pure “to be.”  Then the concrete mode of being from here on becomes the particularization of that “to be” in our day-to-day life… (continues)

See, too (as to ontological/being-states):  The Burning Bush & On Who God Is & Who God Isn’t

Paul Gauguin – Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?

Carnage, Memory and Manchester – The New York Times

David Brooks: When the World Is Led by a Child – The New York Times

About Street Giraffes

Street Giraffes Telepractice Group
This entry was posted in Climate Crisis & Ecological Breakdown, Jackal/Giraffe, Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) - Resources, Quotes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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