Living Our Interconnectedness
LIVING OUR INTERCONNECTEDNESS
Choose life, only that and always, and at whatever risk.
To let life leak out… to let it wear away by the mere passage of time,
To withhold giving it and spreading it… is to choose nothing.
Sr. Ann Kelly
As I was reading and exploring Margaret L. Wheatley’s book titled, “ Finding Our Way – Leadership for an Uncertain Time,” Wheatley so eloquently shared that “listening is such a simple act…it requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. If we can do that, we create moments in which real healing is available.”
In my life/work I have witnessed the healing power of good listening, and I wonder if you have noticed it also. There may have been times when a family member, colleague, client or a friend was sharing a powerful and painful story that your found yourself in a place of not knowing what to say or how to respond… you became speechless…. so you just provided the space to listen closely, not saying a word. What was the result of your heartfelt silence… of how you listened?
Wheatley shares a story of a black South African woman who taught some of her friends a profound lesson about listening. She was sitting in a circle of women from many nations, and each woman had an opportunity to share a story from their life. When her turn came, she began quietly to tell her story of true horror – of how she had found her grandparents slaughtered in their village. Many of the women in the circle instinctively wanted to do something. They want to fix, to make it better, anything to remove the pain of this tragedy from such a young life. The young woman felt their compassion but also felt them closing in. She put her hands up, as if to push back their desire to help. She responded, “I don’t need you to fix me, I just need you to listen to me.”
She taught many women that day that being listened to is enough. This is profound. I believe that if we can share our stories and know that others hear it, we are somehow healed by that.
Why is being heard so healing? I don’t know the full answer to that question, however, what I do know it has something to do with the fact that listening creates relationships. Listening moves us closer; it helps us become more whole, more healthy and more holy.
In Christian Scriptures there is a wonderful passage “Whenever two or more are gathered, I am there.” I feel that passage describes for me the holiness of moments of real listening. We don’t even have to like the story or even the person sharing the story…. listening creates a relationship…and in that process, we move closer to one another.
Key Reflection Questions:(important to note here, you will notice something releasing in you as you share your responses to your experience and story)
In the last 24 hours:
- How did I begin to explore the essence of listening?
- What did I discover?
- What are the intentions do I have for listening?
- What is it that keeps my heart beating?
- What was it like to create that sacred space of listening to the world?
As you spend time with one or more of these reflection questions, describe your insights and discoveries and how you will integrate your new awareness of listening. Focus your awareness inside of yourself, to an area where you find calm and ease. Be gentle, locate a positive sensation(s), accept yourself as you are today and take all the time you need.
If you would like to explore the essence of how to live our interconnectedness in the dense and tangled web of life, you can reach out to Will Wiebe…see contact information below: