Say it with Silence

John Francis stopped speaking for seventeen years so he could expand his listening skills.

To begin with he decided to stop speaking for one day.

At the end of the day he was aware he’d never really listened before so he decided to continue for another day, and then another, until seventeen years passed.

He also decided to stop traveling in motorized vehicles to communicate his conviction that motorized vehicles were harming the environment. I don’t need to tell you his story, you can hear it from him in this TED talk he gives.

What I found most moving was his discovery over many years that the environment is not just the space and material around us but is equally the space and material that we are. He says,

“We are the environment. How we treat each other is how we treat the environment.”

Watch and listen.

I’m taking a break from blogging.

At first I felt concerned about my growing need to distance from the computer and online interaction and then I relaxed and thought, how about trusting what I need.

I’m not going to stop talking for seventeen years, but I do need to spend more time listening right now.

In a few days I’ll share an introduction to my forthcoming digital book A Call to Listen: How to Start an Inner Revolution (it is beautiful and heartful and you won’t want to miss being on the mailing list to know when it is released!) and then radio silence for awhile.

Possibly I’ll send some little notes and thoughts along to my email subscribers, or not. We’ll see.

If you want to stay connected with me consider scheduling a Healing Heart Session. They make a good antidote to possible holiday stress and also make a lovely holiday present for you or someone you love.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark December 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Ha! You’re funny. Like you actually KNOW what the universe has planned for you for the next 17 years! I bet John Francis would have suggested you commit yourself for treatment if you had suggested before Day One that he would be silent for the next 17 years. Or take my pal Babaji (, who hasn’t spoken since 1952!. Little did he know what the 60 years would hold in store for him in the silence department!


Marlene December 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Loved this, Jaz. Also love how you listen to yourself, and rise to the challenges that you hear. Not easy…..


Jasmine December 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Thanks Marlene.

Mark, if only I could get my hand on that slip of paper filed away in the Administration Building of the Universe where it says what is in store for me for the next seventeen years!

Maybe instead of silence I won’t stop talking. One of my favorite listening exercises I gave my students in the past was for them to talk in pairs for five minutes and both of them had to talk the whole time. No listening allowed!

What they discovered is that they in fact couldn’t help but listen and be influenced by what the other said. Listening is wired into us.


JDRobison June 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

Thanks for your insight. I know many times when I am “listening” I really am trying to think of what insightful thing to say next, or trying to figure out the answer to the problem I am listening too. I believe I will try work on true listening skills.


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