If you happen to speak with me, sometimes you will hear more silence than words. You may find it a little awkward if you don’t know me, specially on the phone. It doesn’t mean I get bored or I don’t know what to say. Don’t bother! My moments of silence, sometimes my with eyes closed, happen because I breathe. Indeed, I have decided to follow two principles: breathe before speaking, speak only with permission.
Breathe before speaking
Taking the time of a long breathing before speaking allows me to engage in a quest for words and answers that the inner autopilot will never offer. Platitudes, certitudes coming from the doxa, behaviors imposed by politeness or morals don’t interest me. The autopilot knows very well how to defend those lines, it gives us the illusion to operate as a complete and congruent system. Breathing deactivates these mechanisms. I can become again present to myself, to my body, my emotions, my true self. I can contemplate other possibilities, welcome crazy ideas, listen to the inner child, put on my clown nose, let soul spring up, allow inspiration. With years of practice, every long breath has become a meditation. I meditate a good part of the day while in motion. Don’t you think that inspired action offers a little more potential than autopilot?
Sometimes I don’t allocate time for this breathing, usually because I want to say something really stupid (good at it!). Also when this breathing may create too much disturbance, I prefer to play by the good old social codes, at least until I can clarify my behavior to the person.
I speak exclusively with permission, one when someone asks me. When I get interrupted, which of course happens a lot, I stop and let the person speak. If he/she doesn’t want or need to listen to me anymore, why should I force? I give the floor back and offer my listening, very simply. Gift economy means that too.
From the collective intelligence perspective…
From the social engineering perspective, these two transformed social codes — breathing before speaking, and speaking only with an offered floor– work like modified social DNA. In fact I precisely apply the six agreements.
Although I do not procelytize and I only apply this social genetics to myself, it has a strong collective and individual impact. For me: happiness nourished by the pure joy of breathing, and from enjoying the peace of non-competitive speaking. For the collective: this practice triggers trust, kindness and listening. Who needs to get irritated or distrust a person who remains neutral, and only offers his/her word when asked? People never listened to me as much before I applied these principles.
I have coached many groups who decided to operate from the six principles. Their testimony leaves no ambiguity. Everything shifts: their decision making process, their way to flesh out problems, to manage their relationships, social dynamics, ideas, solutions…
And you? Want to try? Why don’t you share your experience in the comments below?
[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”F8F2EF” bgcolorto=”F8F2EF”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs some improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]