One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears -- by listening to them. Dean RuskYesterday, as I walked up from the second floor of the shelter where I work to my office on the sixth floor, I heard my name being paged. "LouiseG. Please call SW at x827."
It was late in the day. I had a meeting at 6pm and had a few things to tidy up before I left for the meeting. But, I thought I could stop by SW's office on the fourth floor to see what she wanted.
Expect the unexpected and you'll always be surprised.
When I got to SW's office she was sitting with a client whom I know quite well. He's a gifted artist and musician. Earlier in the day, one of his fellow artists had approached me and asked, "Have you seen, B? I'm worried about him. He hasn't been around."
I hadn't seen him but promised to watch for him. And here he was. Deep in conversation with SW, asking for me to come and sit in on the chat.
I missed my six o'clock meeting. People are more important than meetings.
B admitted that he'd been 'spiralling downwards', as he called it. "I don't know what happens to me," he said. "But I get to this place where I can feel my mental health disappearing and I just start sinking. I don't like it. I don't want to feel like that."
"What do you want more of in your life?" I asked.
He quickly responded. "Calmness. Stability. Passion for what I'm doing."
"Can you tell me a time when you had calmness?"
Without hesitating he described how and when and where he used to have calmness. He went on to describe how over the weekend, he'd done some things to give him that sense of calm. Gone for walks along the river. Watched the birds in the lagoon.
He then described things he'd done to get a sense of stability into his life over the past few days. Very positive, concrete examples of his taking good care of himself.
"So, rather than sink you've constructively worked at your well-being." I said.
"Yeah, I guess I have. But I'm still afraid of sinking too deep. I'm scared I will."
"Do you know you do that a lot?" asked SW.
"Do what," B queried.
"Say something positive about yourself and then cut it down with something negative."
"Yeah? I guess I do." He paused. "It's a habit."
"Does that habit get you more of what you want or less?" I asked him.
"Then stop doing it. Every time you want to say something negative about yourself, CANCEL the thought. Consciously think of painting over it with something positive. Could you do that? Paint over the negative thoughts in your mind?"
He nodded his head. "I could do that. That would be easy."
We talked for about an hour and half. Three people focused on bringing out the best in each other. SW and I encouraged him to celebrate his courage for having taken proactive steps to ward off the 'sinking' he was afraid of.
"You've told us at least five or six things you've done to help yourself," I said. "Celebrate that. It took great courage, determination and conviction to do what you've done. Celebrate it. You are a courageous man."
I learned a lot yesterday. We all have fears. Having the courage to reach out and speak about our fears opens the door to courage rising. I learned what courage looks like, feels like, tastes like. And, I learned that by giving my ears I am open to the gift of receiving the beauty of another man's truth.
It is what inspires me every day at the shelter. People's lives may be in disarray yet, their courage lives in their willingness to speak their truth and turn up for themselves, without being attached to the outcome.
B. didn't know what would happen when he opened up about his fears -- he just knew he needed to do something different. He needed to speak from his heart about what was heavy on his spirit. In speaking his truth, he lifted himself up to the possibility of hope rising.
If we do what we've always done, we'll get what we've always got.
B chose to do something different over the past few days. And in the doing, he lifted himself up. His courage to be the change he desires, awoke within me the passion to be the change in the world I too desire.
We are all connected. And in our reaching out to each other, we connect to the beauty and wonder of our human spirits awakening to the truth of our being when we share the truth of who we are -- Wondrous beings on the journey of our lifetime.
The question is: Are you being your wondrous self, sharing your truth, fears and all, so that you can create more of what you want in your life? Are you connecting to the power within you to create a world of wonder and hope around you?