Listen in the Pause

Owl is wise. She listens, free from interruption and judgement. She is interested in what Robin thinks and where he might go next with his thoughts. Owl knows that listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another.

Owl gives her attention and offers a palpable respect for Robin. She is at ease herself, free from the internal rush of her mind and virtual urgency the world demands. Owl encourages Robin to keep sharing his thoughts and feelings, until he asks for her input.

Robin thinks out loud and shares his thoughts. ‘I am confused. The world today seems quieter. Fewer cars on the road. Fewer people in the streets. The air seems cleaner. The water clearer. The sky brighter. What is happening?’ Owl encourages him to continue.

‘I notice that people are giving each other more space. Taking more time. They are being kind to one another; helping their neighbours.’ Owl encourages Robin to say more.

‘And yet I see sadness in their eyes. Concern on their faces. I see pain and suffering. I see tiredness and grief.

And then I see light. I see more patience. I see compassion. I see celebration in people clapping and shouting ‘thank you’.  What do you think is happening Owl?’

Having listened deeply, with care and encouragement, Owl shares her thoughts.

‘I think the World has been asked to pause, Robin. It was going too fast. Consuming too much. People mis-treating people. Greed rivalled compassion. Time evaporated on things that mattered less.’ Robin encouraged Owl to say more.

‘And now slowly things are changing. Creativity emerges effortlessly. Innovation generates solutions unlike we have seen before. People are focussing on what really matters; caring for each other and our environment.’

Robin is inspired by listening to Owl. They move into a dialogue. They continue to listen to one another with palpable respect for the others thoughts and feelings. They know that each one will have their turn to share their thoughts and feelings and refrain from interruption. They have no distractions. This is a deeply meaningful exchange. One that they both learn from. One that they generate hope from.

Their dialogue answers the question ‘What changes, from what you have witnessed from the treetops, do you hope will be sustained by humanity?’

Together, they hope for continued support and encouragement for others who have suffered in this time. A freedom from unstructured competition. A mindset shift towards ‘other-esteem’ and ‘our-discipline’ in a coming together of what unites humanity rather than what divides it.

A more intentional approach in the usage of goods and services, away from greed. An appreciation of technology and humanity in harmony enabling greater connection, innovation and sustainability.

An appreciation for our environment and an attention to preserving what we have, resisting the urge for unnecessary pollution.

A recognition there is no replacement for face to face human interaction. Human beings are beings with feelings who have the capacity to think well for themselves with courage, rigour and imagination. The generative attention, love, and energy that emerges from two people being together is unique. It is a catalyst for growth.

Together Owl and Robin celebrate what is right with the world. Knowing they are not alone. Knowing that they are perfect in their imperfections. Knowing the light will shine brightly once more revealing their path of freedom, love, and growth.

Robin feels valued. Cared for. That what he says is worthwhile. He feels encouraged. He feels liberated and loved. All in the presence of Owl’s undivided attention, ease, encouragement, and appreciation.

Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another.

I wonder, what positive changes do you hope will be sustained as we re-emerge from this life pause?

Thank you for reading. If these reflections resonate with you, please connect with me on LinkedIn, I’d love to hear from you. If you have found it a useful reflection, please share it with others.


Jane Adshead-Grant
Jane Adshead-Grant
Jane is a listening and people leadership specialist. She helps individuals develop their leadership gifts and skills with compassion, courage, and commitment to foster environments where everybody matters. Her gifts are to encourage and to listen. Listen free from interruption and judgement, encouraging others to step into who they were meant to be. She has more than 30 years’ experience in people-focused roles in the corporate environment. Jane is an MCC coach with the ICF, Accredited Coach, Facilitator, and Teacher of the Thinking Environmentâ and Ambassador of Truly Human Leadership. Additionally, she is the author of Are you Listening or Just Waiting to Speak?

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  1. Jane, this was simply adorable and powerful. It was Beautiful all the way through. Thinking if the childhood belief that animals are chatting and we want to hear what they are saying. We become both the owl and the Robin.. taking turns with what we are learning,
    This would be a great storybook for children!

    I have not missed the greed, marketing, overpowering in my face fast paced society we were in… the world did need a pause and Mother Nature has had enough. She interjects when necessary and we get to learn here.

    Thank you so much for this wise story of our reality.

  2. Hi Jane, always great to read about what you have been thinking. I particularly like the way you have constructed your story.

    Thank you, you have shown me something I knew about but had not fully appreciated. That of ‘moving into a dialogue’. I get the fully listening part which Owl does beautifully. He waits until Robin wants to know what he thinks, and then he shares what he thinks. Then they can move into a dialogue.

    In dialogue, they are both able to offer their thoughts and feeling knowing that a safe place has been created by the two of them. Although Owl started it when he was able to listen fully to Robin and was not disturbed by anything Robin said, thus Robin felt safe to share more.

    We create the space for dialogue to flourish by the way we listen.


  3. Fist off that is a great message and I found out that I need less not more in life. That a long walk with my dogs is more valuable than going shopping. I uncluttered my life and I am happy. I will never go back to the way it was……

  4. What a wonderful read to start my day! I felt a peaceful, calm while reading and I actually read it again. We hear owls often and I’ll think of this when they are hoot-hooing back and forth My hope is that we return to a “new” normal with civility, kindness, respect for each other and the beautiful planet we call home.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring article Jane.

  5. Jane — Welcome to 360′, and what a great entrance!

    To answer your question – “What positive changes do you hope will be sustained as we re-emerge from this life pause? – Simply, I hope we pause more often. I hope we push ourselves back from our desks of “normalcy,” to reflect on our state of being. To slow down and stop. To stop having to “catch-up” with people who mean something to us because the frenzy of our daily actions have so outdistanced what’s really important to us: connections; relationships.

    Great writing, thank you.

  6. Thanks, Jane.
    This ‘pause’ may be just what we need, just in time.

    Long time ago, I went camping with friends and my three cats who came back to camp as the light died – they’d been camping partners for years and stuck together when they wandered. They huddled around the fire staring up into the tress, clearly spooked. A very loud “WHOOOO” kept resonating through the clearing and I finally found the culprit with my flashlight – a little guy, maybe 7″ tall. But what a voice.

    We can all carry forward with better stuff, right?


  7. Jane – Great article to introduce yourself to the BC360 family – welcome. I am sure you will find the engagement respectful and thoughtful – much encouragement from your fellow writers – and along the way, you will meet new people who become trusted online friends. You have come to a special place – may you enjoy every minute.

  8. Oh Jane! I love the way you put the owl and Robin in this.
    I see the exact same positive things, and politically I feel we are also seeing many things; people getting more clear on what they want in their lives on a personal level and as a nation.
    Great write up and welcome. I look forward to reading more of your work.