Updated: Sep 22, 2019
Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood.
“We don't learn from talking; e learn from listening.”
I remember as a little girl, collecting all the seashells on the beach at my grandparents place near Sydney, BC. I made sure to take the time to stop and pause and listen to them all. I was certain that if I listened really hard, I would be able to hear their trapped messages from the far away lands that they came from and that each seashell could give me clues to help me in my life & future. I could have sworn that these messages were gently placed inside each seashell in an effort to share with humans so some of the lost stories and medicines from ancient civilizations wouldn't be lost anymore. I collected as many as I was allowed to and prepared to take them home with me to northern BC. We didn't have an ocean up in my hometown, and every night I would pick out one and just listen as I looked up to the stars. The stories I heard through the seashells where spectacular and my imagination ran wild. I felt that I was able to connect with something magical. This was obviously a view from a small, innocent child who had no frame of reference that seashells actually have small animals that live inside them and they died, leaving their shell behind. It wasn't until I was 10 that I stopped listening.
My friend brought me some seashells last year and I chuckled to myself today as I was getting my garden ready and found them laying in my flower beds. You're wondering if I picked them up and listened? Yes.....I certainly did. I realized that this is what I do with my clients. Its an automatic response when a beautiful persons walks into my life, I want to connect and see what they have to say, what they don't have to say and what secret stories lay beneath their words. What I am really doing is listening to all their connective tissues and watching how it affects the glow in their eyes.
I'm wondering where the art of listening went? How did we get so disconnected from each other. Many of my clients simply want to be heard and acknowledged. Tonight, I was blessed to share some time with a women who told me her story in two hours, while taking one breathe. I listened....and part of me cried inside to realize that the root of her challenges were actually having someone simply listen to her. What are the tools to help us through this (besides sea shells)....
Working with some amazing Elders has taught me the importance of "Circle" ~~ as it is a great tool for sharing, listening and connecting with others. The first time I attended one, it was way too foreign for me. Coming from an Anglo-Saxon upbringing where feelings were left outside and judgements sat at the table, it felt weird to share my thoughts and be vulnerable. Then, I realized how safe the space was and what a truly uplifting experience I had. I highly recommend taking part in this type of ritual and connecting with your community through circle. You can also do this at home around the dinner table and just make sure that only one person talks at a time. Passing around an object for the speaker to hold, while everyone else listens helps. Calgary has a number of them around and we even "do circle" in our QiGoing classes. It's a wonder that the crusaders wiped out this practise (but that is another blog).
Fun Fact: Teepee are a circle, no honesty they are! At the base, they are round and built in this shape for a reason. It promotes listening. The family comes homes after a long day to reset and be with each other in this shape that offers one another to look and connect. The floor of the tipi represents the earth on which we live, the walls represent the sky and the poles represent the trails that extend from the earth to the spirit world (Dakota teachings). Makes you rethink the square box you live in ~ with all those doors and corners. Does the same hold true for igloos? You be your own judge!