I was in conversation with a friend of mine recently, and he shared an interesting observation. He said that a few people in the past short while have shared their life story with him. He noticed how he didn’t interrupt, as he has done in the past; his thoughts didn’t leap ahead into how he would respond, and his typical labelling and judgements didn’t arise.
He simply listened. With interest.
I understand the power of presence in listening. I have long held skills for courageous conversations, which have been especially useful in – and in large part shaped by – my many hospice experiences. For as long as I can remember, strangers feel instantly at ease with me. The person next in line at a coffee shop, or sitting next to me on a flight will share the most remarkable and often raw parts of their personal struggles.
And yes, I listen. Listen with my whole body – eyes, ears, and compassion engaged. I offer wisdom, if it feels right. If they in fact want anything other than a willing ear for their words to land on. Because sometimes, all we need is to be heard. Not to be validated, not to receive anyone else’s advice, not to to fix whatever has been shared by offering “you should…..”. Just to listen, to be fully engaged and focused on the words and emotions they are offering. What works best for me is to ask the question, “Do you wish for me to offer thoughts, or do you just need a place for your words to land?”
My friend then shared with me that he has been meeting remarkable and kind people lately, too. Knowing the personal journey he has experienced, I immediately smile and rejoice inside. Because he has just discovered a key – this beautiful key to unlock understanding. This I know from my own journey and understanding.
Energy mirrors are reflecting back to him his current feeling of being heard. Truly heard. He and I have spent many hours in meaningful conversation, actually of him speaking and me listening. So it is no surprise that others are now appearing to him, providing him the gift to now be the listener.
He is modifying his thoughts to choose differently. To hold gratitude for all the positive experiences and gestures he is witnessing, no matter how small they may seem at the time. Each one adds to the next in steps that are yet leading upwards.
And he is noticing that as he displays kindness to himself and to others, this is also being reflected back by the new people who are arising in his interactions.
I smile a knowing smile, in anticipation of what he will notice next.
Another beautiful journey is unfolding. I am honoured to both share insights that have helped me, and to bear witness to another’s growth and rejeuvenation. Feeling blessed.