I started thinking about my relations with the many friends and mentors in my life today. I wandered through those precious memories for many hours today and feel like sharing my own experience on spiritual and sacred partnerships.
What began this musing was an article about listening. Some might say that this is a lost art, and I would agree that most of us could use an upgrade in this crucial skill. Perhaps so much so that one could mention it all by itself and not include what I would consider to be its inseparable counterpart, the give and take of conversing, of conversation.
I view these as two sides of the same coin, there is the sharing and the listening, and then, there is the listening and the sharing. The entire reason for relations is this same give and take, the giving and the taking is the same doorway or portal.
Like two sides of a coin, a relation or conversation has two sides, one cannot exist without the other. I see these as equal in value, so long as the two sides of the relation are actually engaged in either listening or sharing and not trying to do both at the same moment.
For some reason, while reading the article about listening, and no doubt this is my personal filter at play here, I got the impression of talking down a well. Perhaps an echo comes back up from my own words and I hear something I’ve just said. Nothing wrong with this, and this is occasionally the exact medicine I need to understand what is going on with me.
What I have difficulty imagining, in view of my history with close and trusted relations, especially those I’ve had with women, is being only listened to, removing from the experience the alternative view to my own sharing that they will nearly invariably bring out and share with me after listening.
Their voices were always there in relation to my own. I may not agree, I may not like what is said, but it’s always brought to my life and my awareness a greater clarity, either way. I’ve been trying to imagine what my life would be without this interchange and it’s just impossible. I could go so far as to say ‘unthinkable’.
Certainly there’s a time for simply listening and keeping one’s voice quiet and still. But, at least for me, this is not why I seek out relations to talk intimately with and converse with in the first place. Might as well stand in front of a mirror and talk to myself. Of course, I’ve also done this many times, LOL!
I gave a good deal of thought to this today and I honestly felt bereft in trying to imagine coming to my loving sisters or brothers to share something of importance to me and have them only listen, and not add their view to my own. I always listen carefully to what returns to me in these conversations. It broadens my perception every time.
It might even hurt my feelings to have them just listen and not also comment from the heart, and in trying to imagine it, I felt a great loneliness rise up. The memories I carry of my lifetime of conversing with my beloved ones pale and lose most of their value if I delete what important information came back to me in response to my sharing.
The deeper the sharing, the more longing for the response I feel. And not just a response feeding back what was heard either, for this I can yell into a canyon. This is just fine for the purpose of clarification, but leaves me cold in terms of feeling like I’m relating and in relation, and also in terms of whether or not I’m actually being understood. Not just understood, but related to and cared about.
Perhaps this is a difference in styles of communication needs. It is surely a big difference in expectations in coming into a relation, and in sharing. None are inherently right or wrong, but how interesting that what one may see as the holy grail might hurt the feelings of another.
So, yes, please be willing to actually listen and hear me, but also respond with what moves in your heart as well. And, I’m grateful for what is bringing out the memories for this deeper understanding of how precious are others and their voices! For the increased awareness of the differences in our communication styles and needs.