By Kristen Manieri

Living to Listen with Andrew Forsthoefel

I’m really excited to share this week’s guest with you because he completely embodies the spirit of the 60 Mindful Minutes podcast, which is consider how we can each live a more connected, conscious and intentional life.

Andrew Forsthoefel is the author of Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time, a memoir he wrote after spending 11 months walking by himself across the country. On his backpack was a sign that read “Walking to Listen,” which became the opening and the invitation for countless interactions, conversations and new found friendships as he made his way, mile by mile.

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As he describes in his book, Andrew was looking for a graduate program in the human experience, a teacher who’d show up and teach him how to do the work of being human. At 23 year’s old, he wanted to mark his entrance into adulthood and transform into the man who would carry him the rest of his life. His goal was to walk and listen, listen in a way that we don’t normally listen… without judgement, without bias; with an open, compassionate heart.

Andrew now offers workshops and lectures at high schools, universities, and retreat centers to share and promote the transformational connection that deep listening makes possible. But he found time to spend 60 minutes with me on this podcast.

Andrew’s book, Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time, can be found online and in stores wherever you purchase books. Also, Andrew has an audio course “Living to Listen” at Inner Truth’s website, which can be found here: innertruth.org/product/living-to-listen/. He is also available for lectures and workshops. Learn more at www.livingtolisten.com.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS

  1. When seeking to listen and really connect with people, how can we lead with curiosity rather than let our filters, biases and judgments run the show? When we can shift our listening to authentic curiosity about who each person is and how they got to be there, free of judgment, we grant people the space to share aspects of themselves they would never ever share in the presence of judgment.
  2. There is no such thing as an Average Joe, as Andrew writes. We forget how utterly extraordinary and special we each are. Look for and listen for what’s remarkable in each person you know and meet.
  3. We don’t need to walk 4,000 miles across the country to get what Andrew was seeking, although if you’re being called to realize a need for a journey, listen to it. But there’s a quality and a sincerity to our listening that can be realized in all of our interactions. When we are looking for the wisdom and the gold, when we are listening for it, we are much more likely to find it. The wisdom and the gold and the beauty is already happening all around us.
  4. There is nothing more powerful than your presence, not only for others but for yourself. Notice how you can bring a loving presence to yourself, give yourself the gift of solitude, embrace your pain, and come home to the beauty of you.
  5. Practice more kindness. I was so struck with how much kindness was shown to Andrew throughout his journey. And it made me realize how each of us has the opportunity to be kinder to those around us, even strangers. When we deliberately orient ourselves to seek out and embody kindness, we start to see a very different side to the world we live in.

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Until next time, stay well out there.

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