Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Someone Deeply Listens to You by John Fox

When Someone Deeply Listens To You

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

John Fox
I first read this poem years ago in a magnificent book:  "Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life". I highly recommend it.  I have several copies and have given away at least a dozen.  You can find it used, very cheap at Amazon. It has poetry, essays and lots of great quotes.
I used to work with a woman who never, ever let me finish a sentence without, first, interrupting me and, then, taking my story and turning it around to be about her.  Every single time I talked to her she did this and she seemed totally clueless at how rude she was.  If I began, "My daughter said...." she immediately interrupted and continued, "My frickin' daughter got drunk last weekend and blah, blah, blah...."  You get the picture.  I worked with her for over 6 years and never once got to finish a complete sentence...and sadly, I am not exaggerating. I tried to avoid her at all cost.  I've worked with hundreds of people and she was the worst, although I've known others who did the same thing. 
I believe that deeply listening to someone is a gift that few people possess.  If nothing else, I learned from this women how NOT to listen.  I became consciously aware of how I talked to people, trying not to interrupt or turn the conversation away from them to myself.  Give yourself the gift of conscious listening.  You won't regret it.
"My wife says I never listen to her. At least I think that's what she said." ~Author Unknown

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 "The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
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Kelly said...

Listening is such an admirable quality and one that I don't think comes naturally for most people. I have to consciously work at it. But, oh, the rewards!

Karen said...

This is a skill I am working the poem. Thanks.

erin said...

i feel ashamed. i know i don't listen well enough.


erin said...

ah, i came across this again and thought of this post,

Unless we are very, very careful, we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turned based on indifference to what other than ourselves. This indifference can be, in its extreme, a form of murder and seems to me a rather common phenomenon. We claim autonomy for ourselves and forget that in so doing we can fall into the tyranny of defining other people as we would like them to be. By focusing on what we choose to acknowledge in them, we impose an insidious control on them.

I notice that I have to pay careful attention in order to listen to others with an openness that allow them to be as they are, or as they think themselves to be. The shutters of my mind habitually flip open and click shut, and these little snaps form into patterns I arrange for myself. The opposite of this inattention is love, is the honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.

Daybook, Anne Truitt

Marion said...

Thanks for sharing this, Erin. It's deeply profound and wise. I appreciate you. xo

Dreamcatcher said...

Lovely poem!