Part 2: The Simple, Life-changing Support We All Yearn For, but Almost Never GetBy Emily Agnew
December 13, 2016
How can we help each other stay in Loving Adult consciousness in tough times? In Part 2 of her Inner Bonding Buddy article series, Inner Bonding facilitator Emily Agnew shares three key listening skills you can use to get started.
In Part 1: Why It Takes A Village to be a Loving Adult, I wrote about why we need each other in order to maintain Loving Adult consciousness, now more than ever. I gave the example of the rose that just bloomed in our garden.—in December! How could this have happened? Because our garden offered the rose unusually supportive conditions.
>How can we can create the same kind of supportive conditions for each other as Inner Bonding buddies? By listening to each other with close attention, using the three skills below. This is a powerful way to support Dr. Margaret Paul's Loving Action Revolution, which calls on us to commit to a high level of personal responsibility in these challenging times.
First, I have two questions for you, to get you thinking about listening in a personal way:
First question: Do you have someone in your life who listens to you? And I mean really listens to you: who puts everything else aside and devotes their attention to hear what is going on in you, even if it is vague, unformed, or hard to articulate, without freaking out, judging you, giving you advice, bringing up their own stories, or trying to reassure you?
Second question: Is this person a partner or spouse, friend, relative, colleague, or co-worker? Or are they a paid professional like a therapist?
If you answered “yes” to Question 1, I’m really happy for you. You are blessed. You have something everyone yearns for, but few experience. Imagine what life would be like if we all listened to each other that way all the time.
Even if your sole source of listening support from Question 2 is a therapist, you’ve had the experience of deep listening, and that is a big start.
If you answered “no” to Question 1, then perhaps deep listening, given or received, is a missing experience for you. If so, you aren’t alone. Attentive listening is so rare that many of us don’t even know what it feels like or sounds like…or we know, but we’ve resigned ourselves to doing without it.
Here’s the good news: this article can help you begin to change that today. We can learn to support each other staying in Loving Adult consciousness with skillful listening. Whatever your background and experience until now, you can use these three skills to begin to listen in a whole new way.
I invite you to pair up with a fellow Inner Bonder to try these skills. One person goes through their process while the other listens. Then you trade roles:
1. Stay aware of your own mind. Notice your own reactions to your buddy as she goes through her process. It is so easy to assume you know what the other person is saying (or about to say), and to react based on your assumptions, even if they are not accurate.
2. Make a conscious decision to hold your own reactions to one side so you can listen to what your buddy is actually saying. Gently but firmly restrain yourself from any urge to react (even with sympathy), fix, judge, educate, console, reassure, or tell stories of your own.
3. Use your own words to reflect what you think you heard your buddy say—both the words themselves and the meaning under their words. Then let your buddy correct you if you missed something or didn’t quite “get it.” If your buddy has a lot to say, it’s OK to ask him/her to pause here and there so you can take it in and reflect.
Don't let the apparent simplicity of these actions deceive you. If you and your buddy do all you can to follow each step, you can offer each other powerful support. Don't take my word for it: try it yourself and let me know how it goes by posting here or on the Loving Action Revolution Facebook page.
Once we know how to do it, deep listening is a gift we can give freely— and for free. In fact, giving this gift is part of being a Loving Adult. When we open to Spirit we are graced with guidance and light: where our way forward was dark, it is now illuminated. This is not a one-way street. Along with this gift comes the sacred obligation to pass it on. Let’s support each other by doing just that! Next in this series: The Key Listening Skill of Self Awareness.
To learn more Inner Bonding buddy skills, check the schedule for Inner Bonding facilitator Emily Agnew’s free Listening Lab teleseminars or click here to read more about the upcoming four-week Becoming an Inner Bonding Buddy online course. You can find Emily at www.sustainablysensitive.com.. Emily does private sessions and teaches classes in Inner Bonding and Inner Relationship Focusing by phone, Skype, and Zoom.
Photo and text ©Emily Agnew 2016
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Keep the vision in your mind of what brings you joy. Let the vision of your joy guide you. Let the feeling of joy enliven and sustain you. Your feeling of joy is an invitation to Spirit to support the manifestation of that which brings you joy.
By Dr. Margaret Paul