The Power of a Skilled Listening Ear
It’s not just any ear that can listen or has the ability to really hear what is being said and importantly what is omitted! A skilled listening ear is highly trained to understand the difficulties in expressing oneself - particularly when one is overwhelmed at the initial session - whilst at the same moment trying to build a working relationship with someone that they are meeting for the very first time! Nerves feeling frazzled in that space and time with a hundred and one million thoughts whirling around your head – will I like her? Will she like me? What will she think when I get tongue tired? Will this even work?
The power of a skilled listening ear understands that listening is focused and intentional. Focused on the one talking whilst intentionally capturing the meaning, feelings and impact.
When you listen you not only learn something new which you can offer out to provide insight, but you also hear the heart of another soul that may be lost. In building this relationship, a skilled listening ear is important to communicate acceptance, empathy and an expression that mirrors “I’m here with you and for you!” The power of a skilled listening ear is supportive and non-judgmental. It does not seek to highlight its own agenda but to help another find their way through the maze of what might be confusion and dismay.
The power of a skilled listening ear intentionally provides a safe space to first hear and then listen! Before you can listen you must first hear! We hear tones and pick up cues from the spoken word, whilst listening to the constructed sentences - whether coherent or incoherent – in so doing trying to make sense by skilfully reflecting back feelings, seeking clarity and using appropriate questioning to draw out content both factual and situational. In so doing exploring themes and patterns that so often play themselves out in the lives of another. The power of a skilled listening ear seeks to build trust, build rapport and rebuild lives!
When we truly listen we willingly offer our service to hear and help another process their pain, distress and heartache. This can only truly happen when you have the power of a skilled listening ear, to support another in a safe non-judgemental environment, where the process of transformation begins – one step at a time!
What are you leaving behind?
As the year draws to an end, I am left wondering what our thoughts are about the closure of yet another 365 days which have flown by so quickly!
Are we euphoric and grateful for all that we have experienced and learned in this year or feeling desperate to move on in the hope that maybe some or all of the lessons life has thrown our way can be left behind. Are you waiting with baited breath, anticipating a new year filled with hope, peace, new relationships, new insight, new ______________ (you fill the gap)?
Think about this for a minute – what are you leaving behind in 2018? Will it amount to a lesson well learned or repetitive patterns playing themselves out like a theatrical drama – behind the mask!
Will the joy that you have been seeking suddenly present itself on 1st January? Swiftly followed by the peace and contentment that eluded you in 2018? Maybe you are just seeking a cessation of the emotional onslaught that broke the dam and turned the tide spewing an onslaught of pair and despair?
How do we move on and leave behind ‘stuff’ that has continually clung like a pair of skinny jeans two sizes too small! No longer serving any purpose other than a reminder of what was! Long gone is that healthy image of the person you once were but inside your left with a nagging doubt and yearning that refuses to go away!
In the bigger scheme of things, how do we break those repetitive cycles, negative thought patterns and questionable relationships so that we can leave them behind at the end of 2018?
You could mentally make a decision that at the end of the year you will symbolically throw out all the old ‘stuff’ and press ahead into 2019 with a renewed mind-set, one that says I will finally get the help that I so deserve to make 2019 the year of transformation!
Maybe you recognise that some of the baggage that you carried in 2018 spilled over from 2017 or even 2016 - perhaps even further back! Representing, in the words of Charles Dickens, the best of times or the worse of times!
Happiness can be like a butterfly, fluttering around and difficult to capture - elusive and evasive. Maybe it’s time to let the butterfly go, only temporarily, whilst you focus on the caterpillar waiting to break free! Then and only then will you catch that which has been eluding you all along! Work through the process of transforming from a caterpillar to becoming the butterfly you have always been!
So, as 2018 draws to a close – consider for one moment – ‘what are you leaving behind’ and more importantly, ‘what are you going to do differently to find your wings and soar above the past?!’
A New Year: 5 Lessons We can Learn from a Butterfly - Psychology Today The movement process of a transition
This is an excellent article written for Psychology Today in which the writer talks about the transformation of change that we so often see in butterflies, which can translate into our own lives if we accept the need for the transition by reaching out to Chrysalis Well Being!
A New Year: 5 Lessons We can Learn from a Butterfly - Psychology Today
The movement process of a transition
With any new start we inevitably must undergo a transition. Transition is defined as “a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another.” The important word to highlight here is movement. I like to think that we can learn a lot of lessons from nature about this active process as we examine the movements that a caterpillar undergoes during its transition into a butterfly.
Lesson One: If nothing changes, nothing changes. In order to come into form, a butterfly develops through a process called metamorphosis that has four stages; each stage is fully dependent on the other. While change can at times feel painful, if we don’t allow ourselves to go through the all stages of change, nothing will ultimately change. We will stay in the same form. This inhibits us from flying.
Lesson Two: Everything we are taking in will be fuel and nourishment for our new form. During the first stage, the “feeding stage,” the caterpillar’s job is to eat and eat and eat. It fills itself with nourishment as the food eaten at this time is stored and used later as an adult. Trust that the process of nourishing yourself with experiences is ultimately feeding your future form—even if the experiences are particularly challenging.
Lesson Three: Shedding of old patterns are necessary. As the caterpillar grows, it “splits its skin” and sheds its skin 4 or 5 times. How valuable to look at this movement as a mandatory process of shedding, expansion, and that this must occur not once but over and over.
Lesson Four: Solitude provides space and time for internalization. When the caterpillar is full-grown and stops eating, it becomes a chrysalis. Depending on the species, the caterpillar may suspend itself under a branch, hide in the leaves or bury itself underground. During times of transition, we too may need to go “underground” to hibernate and give our body and mind the space to go internal. What is significant about this stage and important for our own emotional and personal transition is that while visually it may look like nothing is going on, instead, big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the caterpillar are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes, and other parts of the adult butterfly. This stage can last from a few weeks, a month, or even longer.
Lesson Five: Sometimes a “breaking down” must occur in order for restructuring to begin. During this phase of rapid internal growth, the caterpillar actually has to “break down its parts” or “liquefy” in order to come into another form. If we relate this process to some of life’s transitions, it actually means that our body requires a giving in or a metaphorical “melting” into the process. However, this movement process of letting go of something in order to grab onto something else actually means that for a period of time we may feel like we are holding on to nothing. We may not consciously identify what is happening to us during times of uncertainty, but our body can sense the change and can have a range of emotional reactions. By examining the caterpillar’s physical breaking down of form in order for restructuring to happen as a metaphor, it may provide some guidance during these uncertain feelings, normalizing this part as an important stage in the transition.
Be kind to yourself during times of transition. Your body is undergoing a new sensory experience. By reflecting on these five lessons, we can continue to learn from the movements of metamorphosis that may to lead us to satisfying transformation into new “forms” for this New Year.
Click here 5 Lessons We can Learn from a Butterfly to read the full article.
© Christina Devereaux, PhD, LCAT, LMHC, BC-DMT