Saturday, May 18, 2013


May Sarton wrote, " Most people have to talk so they won't hear."
When do you talk?  Do you talk to be heard, to be important, to be in control, or do you talk so you won't have to hear?
Interesting points to ponder!!  I am finding more and more that just being present and listening you learn much more about those near and dear to you than you would ever imagined.  Stop talking over, stop talking to, stop talking about, just stop talking.....and listen!
I believe that some people, many people, talk because they have never been heard.  They have always been talked to.  They have had to endure endless steams of words and more words, signifying nothing.  Words that take up space and time and are meaningless.  Words that are exhausting in both length and content.  Words that float around us like mosquitoes.  Words we want to swat out of the way.
I write. That's what I do.  I love it.  I write not so much to have anyone read it, but to provide myself with an outlet where I can be heard.  An outlet where my words have meaning and an outlet where I have meaning.  I become 'real' when I write. 
Sometimes things get so muddled and blocked in our heads that we are seemingly stuck in quicksand.  We can't pull ourselves out no matter how hard we try.  When I feel like this I sit quietly and write.  I write and then write some more.  There are times then when I go back months later and read my words and hardly remember writing them. I think to myself, "Who wrote this?"  I have no memory of stringing these words together like beads on a thread. It is therapy.  It is movement forward, not backward.  It is a wide open space where I find out, and more importantly remember, who I am.

There is no need in interactions with people to fill all the empty spaces with words.  Sometimes not filling these spaces provides more help than anything.  We don't have to talk constantly.  Sure we all have to vent, get the feelings out, rant and rave but do people really want to have to listen all the time.  It disturbs their peace of mind, takes their time away from something they would rather be doing,  and if truth were known half the time we are thinking of something else and only half way listening.  

This is a lesson learned from the beautiful therapy dogs who have shared their lives with me and so many others...Casey, Penny, Gracie and now Kelsie.  They can listen.  They can tell by your tone of voice what you are telling them. They can tell by your face, the inflections, the emotion.  They comprehend and understand, and they never say a word.  Countless patients we visit, struggling to overcome insurmountable illnesses, need to talk to be heard.  Time may be short and no one is listening.  People feel obliged to talk and then talk some more, losing the opportunity to let that person become 'real'.  This doesn't help.  This hinders.  For it is only in our listening that we learn, that we find out the truth, the pain, the love, the loneliness, the fear, the emptiness of those we share our time with.

Remember being a little child, swimming for the first time.  "Mommy look, Mommy look, I am swimming." Did you nod approval and turn away and continue a conversation with someone else?  Or did you listen with pride and enthusiasm at what you were being told?  Were you present? Did you tell your child that he/she was important and that they were 'real'. 

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