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Taking Time To Listen

How "a really good listening to" can help

· Filming,Being Seen and Heard,Attention,Something to Try

There is a global crisis. It is undeniable. It is unprecedented.

But, what if we could use this as an opportunity to try something different.

What if this is could be an opportunity to slow down. To have time reconsider who, and what actually matters to us. Perhaps to connect with each other in a new way.

Already, so much amazing work is happening in communities around the world as they create connections and support networks in this very uncertain time.

It's easy to get into judgement about who is doing, or not doing, something. Maybe those who have been panic buying toilet paper, are not selfish, are not bad. They are taking the only action they feel they can to have some sense of control, in a situation where we feel helpless.

Right now, it is so easy to allow every conversation and interaction to become a spiral of concern about what might happen, or not happen, how we will cope, with each of us feeding off the fears of the other.

When I am filming people I give them the gift of time and attention. I speak very little, if at all. The space is for them. To be seen. To be heard. It is a space of deep listening.

Maybe now is a time for us to learn to listen to each other. To take time to hear another's concerns and fears. Often just expressing that fear, and knowing we have been heard, is enough. We don't need to find solutions, we don't need to give reassurance that all will be well when we just don't know that to be true. But we can listen. Let people know that we see them, and hear them.

Perhaps you can set up a time to have a call with a friend or loved one, where you each have a set time, perhaps 5 minutes (you may need more, or less), to rant, to express your fears, to say what is bothering you, whilst the other listens. No interruptions, no problem solving, no judgement. Just listening. Really listening.

When you have both had your turn to speak, ask if there is anything else they need right now, and give attention to that.

Listening in this way is something that will take practice. It is not what most of us are used to. To be fully present, giving our time and attention to another, with no need to interrupt and share our own experience, or solve their problem for them, creates a really special place where people can give voice to what is bothering them, and perhaps discover wisdom they didn't know they had already within them.

It seems like we are in this for the long haul, so we need to find ways to reduce our anxiety and focus on what we can do. Is there someone you could contact to arrange a listening session? This can be done on the phone, or using a video call with Whatsapp, or Zoom if you'd prefer to see the person you are listening to. I'd love to hear how you get on, and what you notice. Please do let me know.

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