Listening: the holy silence


I attended Dialogues on Homelessness, a terrific opportunity to learn about listening inĀ Motivational Interviewing, and to have a cup of coffee with others. Hats off to Donna Asif for making these meetings possible.

The speakers were Mia D. Croyle, MA, and Laura A. Saunders, MSSW, representing The Wisconsin Initiatve to Promote Healthy Lifestyles. They spoke about how critical it is for people to be engaged in their own reasons for changing behavior, that the answers are within them.

Traditional methods, imposing reasons to another, are usually ineffective. I found this approach to be extremely compatible with my own perspective, being reminded of the humourously profound scene in Meaning of Life where the woman in labor asks the doctor plaintively what she can do. The response: “Nothing, you’re not qualified!”

Fundamental to examing how to facilitate change in others, is the simple question:

How does change happen?

I like to think that change happens from a causal point, a linear path from point A to point C. In reality, watching my own changes, it’s always been a spiral, starting and cost of cialis atwalmart stopping from one way into another. It’s invisible as I am experiencing it, and really only once the change becomes rooted in my past, familiar, does the new behavior exist. It’s a fascinating paradox, that how it seems it’s a basic human need for repetition.

My mind likes a straight path, a beginning middle and end, but it’s a symbolic short hand. Once is not the answer, but many times over and over. What’s unfortunate is we often attribute failure, when we circle back to where we once were. I suspect this increases the length of time the spiral of the self lives in the unwanted behavior.

Not only do I want a straight path, but I often want to have the answers immediately. I look for the end, rather than exploring the situation. Ms. Croyle referenced a quote by Rachel Naomi Remen who said, “Listening creates a holy silence.” I love this phrase as it is the pause that gives breath to the word. Reassuring us when the answers seem far away, maybe they are waiting for us to hear.

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