As so often happens, the Universe provides us with all that we need in every given moment to take the next step ~ the next breath. Today, a message came to me that expressed what I was trying to say in honor of the many people I serve. These words, in the above photo, have given me the inspiration to begin my blog. Enjoy!
I love people with a colorful past. People who have lived beyond the norms of typical life, and rarely by choice. Most of these people have suffered unspeakable wounds and experienced pain too hurtful to imagine. Yet they seem to shine the brightest light.
I remember a day in High School when in drama class we were all asked to tell a meaningful story of something that had a powerful effect on our lives, a story that was remarkable in some way. One classmate told his story of surviving a car accident in which a friend of his did not survive. He told it with such clarity and presence that each and every person listening seemed to have faded into the background without even the ability to move or even breathe. I remember at the end of the story our teacher had put his fountain pen in his shirt pocket upside down, without a cover, leaving a huge stain on his shirt. We had all been transformed by the depth of the story and the listening of the heart. By High School, my classmate had learned lessons that had colored his life.
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to someone who was telling their story but it could have been mine. Their experiences mirrored my experiences. Their feelings mirrored my feelings. Their pain mirrored my pain. I wanted to tell them this but in the seat I sit in, it is my job to listen. There are times when I will share my experience but this was not one of those times. It was my place to listen in a way that my client could really hear themselves tell their story. When a person truly hears themselves say what they are saying they begin to release the story and write a new one. Sometimes we all just need to be heard. I aspire to listen in a way that helps them to unburden their hearts while unknowingly transforming my own wounds. In a recent podcast by Tara Brach, she said, "To listen is to lean in softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”
There is tremendous healing when people are given the space to share their story. When they do we begin to see the cracks where the light shines through. We begin to understand the choices they have made, the relationships they have created and repeated, the actions the have taken and not taken. Deep listening is like seeing the source, the paint pallet of the colorful lives of others. And if we listen deeply enough our lives will be changed at depth. Listening creates connection, relationships, intimacy, and possibility. Thank you people, my favorite shades of crazy, for your courage, your strength and your love. You are the coolest.
In loving awareness,