Trouble listening to you.
I have trouble listening to others. I have these thoughts that intrude and shut off my hearing. I become self-absorbed in these thoughts. These bandits steal my attention and my concentration. They rob me of self-respect and the respect of others.
No matter how hard I try to look into my friends eyes and block out all the distractions, the bandit jumps out from behind some of the words I hear to create a thought, a contemplation, a derivative of what I am hearing. My ears shut off and I ruminate on the distraction. Then, suddenly I see the eyes before me change in a subtle way and recognize I was ambushed.
I feel horribly embarrassed. I struggle to catch up with the conversation to become knowledgeable enough to intelligently respond. I have become very adept at giving a nod, a grunt, or “Hmm-mmm” indicating I have heard. However, deep within the recess of my mind I know I just got caught again. I try to hide my embarrassment and confusion from getting to my eyes for all to see. Yet, I know I was ambushed.
I mask my feelings in a studied concentration. Oh, what an actor I have become. Self-discipline, yes but more. I need a marshall or sheriff to arrest those words that form in my mind before I get distracted. I need to find a method to avoid being robbed of my attention.
I have trouble listening. I know others have similar problems. I forgive my self and begin again avoid the bandit.
Originally written October 26, 1994