Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Deep listening is a present

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Image courtesy to Wikimedia, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Butterfly_transparent.jpgCan listening be too slow?

I giggle. It is like saying that meditation is too slow. “Hey, can’t we meditate a little faster? I can meditate in five minutes, what you need 20 minutes for!” Or: “Can’t we admire these paintings a little faster? I can admire this Van Gogh in ten minutes, where you need 30 minutes!”

Some things are not about speed, how much you accomplish, or the results you create, or the insights you gain. Some things are just about the joy of being present. Just sitting and watching a butterfly: the splendid colors, the way it flies, the delicate balancing on a flower. And then watch it fly off again.

Listening can be like that too. Just being present with what someone is saying, feeling the tone, sensing the meaning, hearing the energy. As if you’re on the bank of a river, seeing all these thoughts, feelings, and needs float by. Calmly. Peacefully. Sometimes not so calmly. Sometimes wildly. Your friend may get scared by everything drifting by. He may be afraid the objects will grab him and drag him in the river. Harm him. He may be scared he will drown in the river.

You just bring your presence to the fear, the anguish. “I see you’re overwhelmed, caught in the grasp of your feelings and thoughts. Your needs don’t seem precious to you at all. They seem harmful. You’re afraid. You want help to maintain your calm, so you can watch your feelings and needs float by, and maybe even enjoy watching them.”

This kind of presence may be enough for your friend to calm down, and experience her feelings, thoughts, and needs as something she is having, not being.

I have found this kind of listening healing, especially when emotions run high. Giving space to them -without fixing- is a message of unconditional openness and acceptance.

I don’t consider that slow. I consider that empowering.

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You want deep listening and unconditional acceptance to explore your inner world and heal yourself? Contact me 512-589-0482 for a complimentary, discovery session to see how I can help.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping compassionate professionals integrate self-care in their lives. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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