I was driving to Toronto the other day and a song came on the radio called Listen. It made me think about an interaction I had with a customer service representative / trainer whom I was trying to purchase an ankle brace for an old injury. She asked if she could help me. I said my Osteopath wants me to buy an ankle brace. She said “oh your ankle rolled over”. I said no I stepped on a golf ball. She said “so your ankle rolled over”. I said no I stepped down on a golf ball and stretched all the ligaments. I burned with frustration that she didn’t seem to care to listen to what I was saying.
All I could think of is why isn’t she listening to me.
Jumping to conclusions or making assumptions is something we all do maybe because it is part of our North American culture to do so. Maybe it is such an unconscious act on our part. Unfortunately we all too often never know of the impact.
Certainly this young sales rep. could read my frustration in my face but she felt she knew the answer and I didn’t.
Last August I ended up in the emergency unit in a small community hospital just around midnight. The Doctor came into my room and started asking me about the intense pain I was experiencing in my right side of my stomach. He asked my age which I answered was 56. He asked me if I had had any major operations which I said yes I had a hysterectomy years ago. Moments later he asked me if there was any chance I was pregnant? I looked at him and thought apparently one of us wasn’t Listening. This time I wasn’t just frustrated..I was laughing too much.
Another city another visit to emergency (crazy right!) I was so frustrated that the Doctor wouldn’t listen to what I was telling him about the pain I left in tears.
What does it cost us to listen … I mean really listen to what the person in front of us is saying. I think listening; deeply listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. As a Coach it is part of our training. I listen to what my client is saying often looking for the “pain” or the “request” that lives under what is being said. Other times my clients may simply be “venting” their anger or frustration to a safe ear.
Moments ago I mentioned three separate (yet connected) issues I have had with my body. I know I haven’t been listening because my body keeps sending more messages. It is signalling to me it is time to look much deeper than the pain in my side or the golf-balled right foot (yep a year later and I am still talking about it!!)
But listening is what has taken me into therapy. The new beginning of a Heroes Journey that will bring to light my shadows. My pain of shame wants and needs to be acknowledged so I can live with a whole Heart not a broken one. Doing my own work makes me a better coach of course and one who can stand in my clients fire along with them.
But for now this is about me.
Dear Body, I am listening. Kat
Opening lyrics to BEYONCE KNOWLES – LISTEN
Listen to the song here in my heart
A melody I start but can’t complete
Listen to the sound from deep within
It’s only beginning to find release
Oh, the time has come for my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside and turned
Into your own all ’cause you won’t
Listen, I am alone at a crossroads
I’m not at home in my own home