Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Why Listening Is An Art

It's funny how certain things come along when we look for them - and in the weirdest ways. Four years ago I was finishing up my energy healing studies and while the program was very comprehensive as far as chakras and spiritual healing were concerned, I felt I needed to develop counseling skills too... 


At the time I had just signed up to volunteer as a Reiki practitioner at a cancer support center near London. One day my supervisor asked if I would like to volunteer as a Befriender too- essentially someone who sits with patients and talks to them when they need a listening ear.  

During the training sessions we practiced different skills that could help us listen to people and respond without coming across as judgemental, and without letting our own fears, insecurities or preconceived notions get in the way. 

This Friday I am teaching those skills at a cancer support center, focusing on how to listen to the patient so they feel supported, even if we don't know what to say to 'fix it'. 
Applying 'Listening Skills' in Daily Life


I spent a day preparing the materials for class and thinking about how we can apply these skills in our daily lives. Below you'll find some thoughts!

Giving our undivided attention is often the hardest part. Even if we manage to switch off our phones and find a quiet place to chat, our own thoughts are a constant distraction. How do we go about quieting the mind?


1) If you are going to be sitting down with a friend, make a list of everything that you need to do that day/week before you see them. If anything pops up during the chat ask your angels to take note. They make great project managers!

2) Half the time we are already thinking about our response before they are even done talking. Take the pressure off by acknowledging their feelings instead of looking for a solution. For example, "I'm sad this event made you feel this way, how annoying!" acknowledges that they're going through a tough time, without trying to wipe away or repress their emotions. 


3) Your attitude is what matters most. We can help by checking any beliefs, attitudes and ideas about what is good/bad at the door. Be kind, be loving, and be objective. 


4) If your companion seems confused, help them order their thoughts by repeating some of the things they said to make sure you understood. Rephrase it and point out a different way of looking at the problem without changing the 'facts'.... 


5) Let them know its OK to share feelings and misgivings. Demonstrate it with your posture, your facial expressions and by nodding rather than saying "spill the beans" 

In a nutshell, deep listening is about paying attention to feelings, body language and words while offering guidance only when they ask for it specifically. 

When we learn to listen to others, we learn to listen to ourselves - including the body which speaks with feelings and sensations. I'm reading a great book on the subject called The Language of Emotions, by Karla McLaren. Stay tuned for details and please share your thoughts in the comment box below!  



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Reiki hugs, Regina


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