Curious Mind Grapes

Listen to Your Mochi: Waiting for That Still, Small Voice

March 01, 2024 Episode 12
Listen to Your Mochi: Waiting for That Still, Small Voice
Curious Mind Grapes
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Curious Mind Grapes
Listen to Your Mochi: Waiting for That Still, Small Voice
Mar 01, 2024 Episode 12

Send us a Text Message.

How do self-compassion, empathy toward others, and taking time to pause before responding to others all contribute to our mental and physical health? In this episode we talk about mindful communication, the power of silence, and how we need to get over our learned discomfort with sitting in it. 


Show Resources

InnerMBA https://innermba.soundstrue.com/

Wisdom 2.0 https://www.wisdom2summit.com/

David Brooks, “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen” https://bookshop.org/a/19443/9780593230060

About Quakers https://www.friendsacademy.org/blog/a-brief-history-of-quakerism

Dash & Lily https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/dash_lily/s01, https://variety.com/2020/tv/reviews/dash-and-lily-netflix-review-1234823856/

Visit us on Instagram @curiousmindgrapes!
Feel free to share your questions or episode requests. Thank you for listening!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

How do self-compassion, empathy toward others, and taking time to pause before responding to others all contribute to our mental and physical health? In this episode we talk about mindful communication, the power of silence, and how we need to get over our learned discomfort with sitting in it. 


Show Resources

InnerMBA https://innermba.soundstrue.com/

Wisdom 2.0 https://www.wisdom2summit.com/

David Brooks, “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen” https://bookshop.org/a/19443/9780593230060

About Quakers https://www.friendsacademy.org/blog/a-brief-history-of-quakerism

Dash & Lily https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/dash_lily/s01, https://variety.com/2020/tv/reviews/dash-and-lily-netflix-review-1234823856/

Visit us on Instagram @curiousmindgrapes!
Feel free to share your questions or episode requests. Thank you for listening!

Mary:

Welcome to Curious Mind Grants with your hosts Christine and Barry.

Christine:

All right. So I talked to William about the idea of coming on to the podcast about the compassion. Yeah yeah, I've had a couple of interesting conversations with him. He actually he's a Quaker as well, which I didn't realize. Really, I'm a Quaker magnet.

Mary:

You are.

Christine:

You're. It's good to eat oatmeal every day.

Mary:

Notice I totally ignored your statement about the oatmeal because that's kind of like I don't know cliched and annoying and like I wasn't really Quaker who started the.

Christine:

I don't even know why they call it Quaker Oats. I don't know anything about it.

Mary:

When the company was started I don't know if it's General Melas or whatever at the time, because it was a long time ago Quakers were known for being like honest business people with high integrity, so it was the seal of approval. Even though they weren't Quaker, they thought oh, we'll have this ethical business person representative be our mascot.

Christine:

Wow, so they appropriated the Quaker.

Mary:

Right for capital gain.

Christine:

Oh, wow.

Mary:

Yeah, not that it's copyrighted or anything.

Christine:

No, I do love. I don't even eat Quaker Oats, I'm honest. I get the organic rolled oats from my local. They might even be Bob's Red Mill.

Mary:

Good stuff. Yeah, that's what I have in my cabinet Now. I don't order the Irish stuff, because that's just as good as organic.

Christine:

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, friend of the Quakers, that's me. Yeah, all right. Well, I think it'll be a good interview, though I think they have a lot to say about compassion practices and it's sort of like a real narrowed in. This is what we focus on, but yet he had some interesting comments just about the interplay between compassion for others and compassion for yourself, and you can't have one without the other chicken egg Sure and which one is harder for different people.

Mary:

Yeah.

Christine:

For me. I think it's compassion for self is harder than compassion for others. I don't know if that's more common or just maybe the people I've happened to run into say that they had to pick one that was harder, but then they bleed over, because when you can't have compassion for yourself, it's really hard to have compassion for others, because you can only give to others what you're able to give to yourself.

Mary:

Right, right, or some people, I think, try really hard to be compassionate toward others and they can burn out or become resentful because they're not taking care of themselves or being kind to themselves, and I've seen that happen too.

Christine:

Yeah, it's interesting. In our meeting today at work there was someone who came from the local university who studies how to have challenging conversations. I wish I had my notebook. It's downstairs, what did he call it? Hold on, I'm grabbing this notebook.

Mary:

As you're looking, I've seen that it's both things you've been talking about. Compassion and having challenging conversations are both things that I've been learning in my inner MBA program.

Christine:

Oh really.

Mary:

There are like entire sections, like entire weeks dedicated to each of those topics.

Christine:

What is the program called? It's your inner MBA. Inner MBA.

Mary:

Yeah.

Christine:

So I'm not familiar with that.

Mary:

I thought I told you. It's a collaboration between Sounds True and Wisdom 2.0, which is an annual or bi-annual gathering of thinkers and innovative business people who promote things like compassion and mindfulness, as well as university professors. And then it's also in collaboration with LinkedIn, because LinkedIn and Google which was one of the first sponsors of Wisdom 2.0, both have very established mindfulness programs in the companies. So they combine business wisdom with mindfulness practices and the first month is just mindfulness practices and self-examination, and then they start to weave in business things like having difficult conversations at work, but all of these things also can apply to everyday life too.

Christine:

Oh, wow, that's good stuff. So what do they think the trick is to having difficult conversations that work?

Mary:

Well, I mean, it's really all the basic stuff like active listening, compassion, not being afraid to have the difficult conversations but going into it with an open mind, about not trying to be right. They're just sort of things that you know, but they put it all together along with different practices like breathing or just taking a moment to pause, all the mindfulness things.

Christine:

So I wish I could remember the three categories, but let's see, One of the categories was this idea of receptiveness and how people perceive when you're receptive Even if you don't give any indication that you're coming to their side of things, just the simple act of going. Wait, what did you say? Tell me more about that, or tell me your side. In the study that they were citing, they said that the person was perceived as being more persuasive even if they hadn't said any persuasive dialogue, only if they had even asked questions about the other person. They were perceived as being persuasive and open-minded and people wanted to negotiate with them just because they asked about the other side.

Mary:

Yeah.

Christine:

And then they said the other one was staying focused and regulating your emotion. It's the other one and I forget what the first one was. But the recipe for receptiveness, they said, was being open to a different interpretation. I might be wrong, but I see it this way, but you see it this way acknowledging a different perspective, finding the common ground and then reframing it at the end in more positive terms.

Christine:

I thought the common ground one was interesting because we were talking about customer service, about people visiting a museum and people showing up at the end of the day because they did not read the website, furious that we're like it's closed. We were doing some role play about how do you handle this conversation, how do you de-escalate. They asked us to find the common ground. I said well, actually the common ground is that the customer really wants to be there and enjoy this beautiful place. We also really want them to be there and enjoy this beautiful place. It's just actually closed right now. When we can find the common ground, if I want you to be here, can I offer you a free ticket? Can I extend your ticket so that you can come any day next week? That's the common ground, which is interesting because we're not always explicit about that.

Mary:

Right.

Christine:

Yeah, then the part that I thought was really interesting was the staying focused and regulating your emotion. The presenter was talking about even the hits of cortisol you get almost immediately when you're confronted with something and how it changes your physiology. It's really hard to take a pause sometimes.

Mary:

That's what the breathing and centering is.

Mary:

Yeah, it doesn't have to be an obvious thing but, there's this Netflix series that I love limited series called Dash and Lily, and it's about these two teens in New York.

Mary:

Lily teaches Dash, who's very emotionally volatile. She sends him to a mochi making class with a bunch of Japanese grannies who don't talk to him, they just teach him by doing yeah. In her little instructions to him, she says I know your head is full of ideas about what you should be doing, what's right, what's wrong, but just take some time and listen to your mochi. That becomes his mantra when his father, who's very annoying and judgmental, starts picking at him. Instead of fighting back, he pauses and the dad just totally gets upset that he's not responding. He's like, oh, you're going to fight me on this one and he just breathes in and he says to himself listen to your mochi. He redirects the conversation in a really beautiful way. I thought that was a really good example of taking time out, pausing and reframing yourself so that you can respond in a way that's non-confrontational or not going to escalate the situation.

Christine:

Yeah, that's what they talked about the idea that they found that people who are in situations where there's a lot of emotional labor required. I never heard that expression. But there are jobs that require physical labor and there are jobs that require emotional labor. And there's even the culture of how you express those emotions where you work too. Like, oh, put a smile on your face.

Christine:

And the example they gave was a flight attendant. Sometimes you see them with the smile on their face and yes, that's right, we'll be serving in 30 minutes. And then the second you turn around you see just like the smile just go back to a straight line. Nothing wrong with that, but they had kind of put it on their face to be appropriate, because that's the expectation and that's the type of labor that's expected in that job. It's emotional labor. But if you're always suppressing it, like doing surface acting like yes, yes, versus deep acting, where you start to actually sort of believe it and reframe the thinking. They were talking about studies where they actually could track the more surface acting you were doing, the more likely you were to have health issues.

Christine:

Sure, that's surprising, yeah, yeah and that the deep acting required that pause, that you had to acknowledge I'm angry or this is annoying, and then stop and be able to, you know, find another way to look at it. But that emotional labor thing I thought was really interesting because it's not really acknowledged Other than you know some Sometimes people make cursory remarks about oh you know, nurses, they have that's a really emotional job, it's so hard on them, it takes its toll. And then the example they gave us oh, teachers, imagine you know those kids who are struggling and they're coming from homes where it's difficult. And they were giving all these like worst-case scenarios and I thought, no, you're using emotional labor on your best day as a nurse.

Christine:

Yeah, unacknowledged. My question for you, though, is it's very hard at times, and for some people to Do the pause, even though they know about the pause and respect the pause, and what and why do we think that is, and how do you fix that? I?

Mary:

Think it's just practical, it's really Right, right like it. We, a lot of people, are trained not to take the pause. I just read this really interesting book by David Brooks called how to how to know anyone, and it's got a lot of psychological research, sociological research, as well as anecdotes, stories, and he was saying that in Japan, when you're in a business meeting, it's it's typical someone measured this. It's typical for people to wait about eight seconds before responding to someone's statement. And he said in America, here's less than four seconds and that people get really uncomfortable and it goes beyond that. But because it's kind of baked into the culture, people tend to respond, at least in these setting, in those settings, in a much more like measured way and non-reactive, and so dialogue happens more deeply.

Christine:

I Love that.

Mary:

Yeah, is that interesting. I love that.

Christine:

I I'm picturing interacting with someone at Work and taking eight seconds to answer their question. They wouldn't. They would just keep talking like.

Mary:

Great, they would feel, feel like they needed to fill the space and same with me.

Christine:

probably Someone's just quiet for eight seconds. I'd be like hmm, what's going on here?

Mary:

And that's what happened to dash. His dad had to be like oh, so you're gonna fight me on this, even though he hadn't said anything. He couldn't handle that space. Oh, he took it as an aggressive silence. Right, because that would have been his MO. Isn't that interesting?

Christine:

Oh yeah, because people will go into, we'll do the silent act as like, almost like a Punishment or passive aggressive behavior right. I Love that how you said that we're trained not to take the pause. I had never thought about it that way.

Mary:

Yeah, and I've noticed that that people are just really uncomfortable in our society. At this one church I went to that was run by a friend who went to Yale Divinity and had amazing teachers like Henry Nowan, who's someone who's quoted all the time in books even this David Brooks book because of his wisdom. He was one of the most amazing spiritual leaders because he didn't preach, he questioned, he invited people along on a journey and he's always opened new things. And I said, well, having been raised as a Quaker, I like moments of silence or having silence during a service, and in typical Episcopalian services there's never a moment and they might say a moment of silence, but they mean a moment. It's like usually I've counted like two seconds, no time for reflection, and I feel like it's hard to absorb stuff properly. So he integrated like I forget how long, maybe it was 10, 20, maybe 20 seconds, so it's quite a bit, maybe 30. It was a fairly good amount of time of silence that he integrated at my suggestion.

Mary:

I guess in grad school he had attended some Quaker services too and understood what it was about. And then later in life, when I was attending an Episcopalian church because it was near my house, I had suggested the same thing to the minister there and he said, yeah, I like that idea. He said I think people can handle four seconds. So they actually wrote it into the program these hold for like it was that thing where you put out I forget what it was prayers for the people. It's a programmed kind of like holding our political leaders, our prayers, and then I know people who had particular things going on hold them. And even though he wrote into the program hold for four seconds of silence, people couldn't handle it. They would just go to rate because they would have readers for each one and people just go into the next without waiting, even though it even said it like they couldn't handle.

Christine:

After each, after each person or organization that was named for.

Mary:

Okay you could actually pray or hold them in your mind, you know, and do that for four seconds, it's amazing.

Christine:

It is amazing Because I'm thinking what a gift that we have to hold it for four seconds, like that someone's counting, and we don't have to feel awkward for holding it for four seconds, and yeah right, but they just couldn't do it and eventually they took it out because no one was doing you almost need someone up there with their hand going for three, two.

Mary:

That's what I need, I know, and that's so sad because then you lose the whole focus of oh yeah, I'm supposed to be this person for four seconds yeah someone's just going to have to be not not present and just counting for everybody else.

Christine:

Every week it rotates. You know, in teaching when I was first learning and being observed, wait time was one of the buzzwords in education where we. It was observed that teachers were calling on students too quickly. It wasn't giving us a chance to think about who needs to be called on, or you know, we're sort of an autopilot. The kids with the hands raised would get called on first, but it wasn't honoring students that process differently, and I don't necessarily mean fast or slow, but just some people like to get a little bit deeper and we were. Also. It wouldn't allow students to get past the obvious answers. So we would be judged on the wait time after asking a question and the kids were just squirming and squirming and you'd wait. I got to the point where sometimes I would say no one's allowed to raise their hand until I give you the signal and I would count out 30 seconds or whatever it was and you would get more hands in the air and then it was the pressure to come up with the right answer first. It was interesting.

Mary:

That is. That's great, and I'm sure that the answers were much more varied and interesting and probably more insightful, right.

Christine:

And I bet you, if I had asked, I think the students probably fell in their nervous system a little better.

Mary:

Yeah, pressure.

Christine:

Yeah, yeah, because you still didn't have to answer after 30 seconds. It was still optional to raise your hand, but there wasn't this pressure. I'm just thinking about how great it would be if it was more socially acceptable to have those bigger pauses.

Mary:

Thank you for listening to curious mind grapes. For more information, please check out our show notes, where we provide links and references to the topics we've covered.

Compassion and Mindfulness in Conversations
Emotional Labor and Pause in Dialogue
Student Participation and Pressure in Classroom