As a therapist, my job is listening.
It is a special kind of listening not the listening of a friend, or a mother who just wants to soothe. Although I deeply care for those with whom I work, from a broader perspective listening has many facets.
It is a listening that requires rapid responses, redirection, and guidance offering a sense of calm.
The listening is active but not strained. I’m present in the foreground in a neutral open way, while in the background my mind, heart, intuition, and senses are evaluating the information on some kind of inner grid; the person’s tonal quality, choice of words, and speech as well as the content of what was said and not said used to develop a multi-level understanding of the person and the problem at hand, in context.
I have developed a special kind of quiet speech, and stillness that becomes even more quiet and still in response to increased danger or lack of balance. When working my voice has a soothing, relaxing quality that allows others to easily allow a trance state.
While in my personal interactions I may become agitated, in my therapeutic setting I seem to have the ability to drop my blood pressure and pulse in more dangerous circumstances, telegraphing a sense of calm composure. In the same way an animal can smell fear I transmit a sense of security and peace to assist the person to return to a sense of calm balanced harmony.
This is something that I developed instinctively over a period of time when working in stressful, dangerous environments. The calmer my demeanor the more likely the danger could be averted.
This tactic is directly related to the concept of energy and breath.
A fascinating phenomenon of activity and passivity in unison, which I believe is a the mechanism that allows others to feel better after being in my presence and encourages them to return.
It is the sense of being seen and heard that allows the person to move forward to receive the necessary information and support from me. This sense of visibility in a safe way is soothing and strengthening.
She experiences things already known by her as well as things unknown to her that have the quality of truth or accuracy or deep familiarity. In combination this increases a sense of security and strength. And allows for a letting go of structures that no longer serve her and development of structures which do.
I have developed a way to transmit calm in stressful situations. Practicing this skill will create an environment for harmony and I think it is what allows for the shifts in the people I see in my practice.
So it’s about paying attention and responding to the situation with a sense of calm neutral interest. A serious and gentle way of guiding and supporting.
These are precisely the terms used to describe mindful mediation or mindfulness. And it is through these actions that a person can reduce her anxiety or anxious behavior and feelings of obsessive compulsions.
So it is no wonder that the experience in therapy is soothing and strengthening.
But how to get that when you are not with your therapist.
It turns out the best thing to do is to imitate her in your response to yourself.
- Smile, sit quietly, listen to yourself, your words, your tone, your word choice, what you say and what you hold back.
- Listen and pay attention with a sense of calm neutral interest.
- Appreciating the situation with a gentle seriousness.
- To get to this kind of state the first thing to do is to focus your energy inward in a gentle, calm and interested way.
- A gentle questioning: what is going on here, what do I feel, when did it begin, what relationships are present?
- Then listening to the answer that presents itself with a neutral interest; no need to prove the rightness or wrongness of what is noticed.
- Then Breathe. Breathe again deeply and fully with a smile in between your exhalation and inhalation. Allowing for your heart to open and listen too.
- A feeling of Love and a connection to spirit help.
Feeling a warm caring and sense of spiritual connection allows me to move into my heart even when I have lost my way, by simply breathing, focusing my energy, smiling and being open to the perfect answer to the situation presenting itself.
Allowing things to flow seems to be the most difficult.
If you have created success through your mind’s ability to discover the answer and prove it, you will find this allowing part difficult. Remembering that pushing the river takes more energy and doesn’t get very far – go with the flow.
In general the best answers come to us, they appear or present themselves. Yes perhaps as a result of study, and work on the problem but is usually after the problem is set to the back burner that the whole picture is revealed along with the solution.
So focusing your energy on the problem, setting a desire or intention, and then releasing it unto breath – breathing through the need to make it happen especially when it’s out of your control, that is the place of real strength and power.
Focus your energy and breathe, you will feel that inner sense of calm and a sense of inner balance. From this place you will see solutions present themselves if you are paying attention to the information in the universe.
See you tomorrow,
February 14, 2012 at 9:20 am
Today I was just getting started with a new patient when a guy from PNM came into my office and announced that he was there to shut off the electricity to the building because the owner hadn’t paid. As PNM later admitted, this was all a mistake, but for a while the electricity was off anyway. It was an interesting challenge to hold that calm space for the patient while putting the PNM guy in touch with the owner and telling him firmly that we had not received any notice and he was in the wrong. The patient was an easygoing sort of person and I think we managed to keep an appropriate atmosphere quite well. Later everything worked out. But I was thinking, during that time, of the kind of issues you brought up in this post.
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