Liza Johnston, APC, NCC, MS • 404-757-3250
Recently I’ve been using an app called Merlin where I record the bird song I hear, and the app labels or identifies which birds are singing. My dear friend Mimsy Jones introduced me to this amazing app and how it can enhance my appreciation for the natural world right outside my doorstep. She helped me to understand the wonders I can encounter if I slow down and listen.
Merlin allows me to record the bird song while it links a name and picture to what it hears. I can listen to the song later and even play it for a friend. I can revisit the quiet morning filled with birds talking to each other. I find instead of walking without awareness to get my morning exercise; I listen more; I notice what has been there all along.
This focus on listening reminds me of how I need to listen more to those around me. So many times, I assume I know what someone is saying or going to say; I really don’t listen well at these times. Sometimes, with my clients, we work on “active listening,” which can motivate us to try to repeat back to our partner what they were saying to us, so that we can let our partners know we hear them. It’s such a relief to really listen and not to be forming our response while someone is talking.
The Merlin app reminds me to circle back to listening, not to take it for granted. Maybe by listening, I can really hear my child, my parent, my sibling, or my partner. Communication involves so much more than just finding our words to express ourselves; we also need to complete the circle by taking in others’ words.
I hope you can enjoy birds’ singing and gain a further appreciation of listening as I have with the Merlin app.