THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Nov. 27: National Day of Listening

One of the best things about being truly thankful -- as I hope many of us were yesterday on Thanksgiving -- is that it enables us to come from a place of abundance vs. scarcity. When we are thankful and grateful, our cup runneth over and life feels more hopeful and full of possibility. Running on full vs. running on empty also enables us to deeply listen to others and it is when we deeply listen to others that we demonstrate caring.

I'm sure most of you don't know it, but today, November 27 is the 2nd annual National Day of Listening.

In 2008, StoryCorps launched the first annual National Day of Listening. On this day, they encouraged people across the country to record and share conversations with loved ones and neighbors using their Do-It-Yourself materials. The tradition continues this year as StoryCorps reached out again to schools, libraries, and service organizations to bring listening to their communities, using StoryCorps' free Education and Community Service Toolkits.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening. Since 2003, more than 50,000 Americans have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps, making it one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.

One of the things that makes it easy for me to listen is when I hear memorable quotes that cause me to pause, because my mind wants to savor them. A wonderful list of of some great quotes on the topic of listening were gathered by Kenya McCullum from the Los Angeles Examiner as follows:

1. "You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
-Franz Kafka

2. "Go right on and listen as thou goest."
-Dante Alighieri

3. "Whoever obeys the gods, to him they particularly listen."
-Homer

4. "Of course the music is a great difficulty. You see, if one plays good music, people don't listen, and if one plays bad music people don't talk."
-Oscar Wilde

5. "I'll not listen to reason...reason always means what someone else has got to say."
-Elizabeth Gaskell

6. "We doctors know
a hopeless case if--listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go."
-E.E. Cummings

7. "[On the nightingale] Lord Zeus, listen to the little bird's voice; he has filled the whole thicket with honeyed song."
-Aristophanes

8. "Why does the muse only speak when she is unhappy?
She does not, I only listen when I am unhappy."
-Stevie Smith

9. "With your whole body, with your whole heart, with your whole conscience, listen to the Revolution....This is the music everyone who has ears should hear."
-Alexander Blok

10. "It is wise to listen, not to me but to the Word, and to confess that all things are one."
-Heraclitus

11. "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen."
-Ambrose Bierce

12. "All the problems of the world are caused by people who do not listen."
-Franco Zeffirelli

13. "It takes a great man to make a good listener."
-Sir Arthur Helps

14. "The difference between listening and pretending to listen, I discovered, is enormous. One is fluid, the other is rigid. One is alive, the other is stuffed. Eventually, I found a radical way of thinking about listening. Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you."
-Alan Alda

To these I will add one of my favorite quotes of all time:
"The purest form of listening is to listen without memory or desire."
-Wilfred Bion