Why should I pay to have someone listen to me?
True story: I grew up a talker. I talked so much that my Mom taught me to sing so that long car rides were bearable. There was that one time that I was over at a friend’s house, talking in the kitchen. Her dad walked in waving at me. I was so happy that he was happy to see me. But he kept waving. Then I saw that he was not waving. He was making that motion with his hands that indicate talking. Talking too much.
Stories like these shut us down. We believe that there is no one who has the capacity to listen to us, or worse, that we are not worth listening to. This cuts us to the quick. For verbal and internal processors, how do we reflect and hear ourselves?
If we are lucky, we have good friends who will let us talk it out. But friendship is a relationship of mutuality. You talk, then I talk. When one side does all the talking, the other side may stop returning our invites for coffee.
A professional listener is listening. That is what we do. And we have expertise to do so. I’ve had clients apologize for doing all the talking. There are sessions where I may not posit a question for 45 minutes into a listening session. There are other sessions when we riff off one another. Our expertise centers around the ability to listen, and listen deeply, hard, well….and to notice when wisdom is rising.
Here is the point: a professional listener is….
listening to you
hearing what you are not saying
moving at your pace
noticing body language
keeping your deepest secrets in a holy space of confidentiality (unless we sense that harm is imminent to yourself or another person)
getting clear on a powerful question to help you go deeper
is not judging
is compassionate, even when you are expressing hurt, hate, anger, jealousy, and more, knowing that we’ll get to what is actually underneath
is profoundly delighted when your wisdom, your knowing, your own revelations rise to the surface of your consciousness
a spiritual director who is not pushing a theological agenda, but is noting the Sacred that is within your life
I have been profoundly listened to since 1997, with a few gaps when I was in between spiritual directors. I hear my own bullsh*t much better now, and can move faster into real spaces of growth. The spiritual directors I’ve chosen to work with have been of an amazing quality of trustworthiness, wisdom, humor, and insight.