Doctor Dohn's Blog

Listening From The Heart

One of the many groups I participate with is the Wide Sky Men’s Council. We get together once a month and pre-Covid we would drum, tell stories and share with each other. Since Covid we gather on Zoom, no drumming and lots of sharing. As with any group there are differing opinions on politics, masks, vaccinations, religions and eating habits. The old saying is that “opinions are like buttholes; everyone has one”.
One of the unwritten yet spoken guidelines for stories and sharing is to use “I messages” only, that is, speak from the heart. Even this is easily abused when someone feels that their job is to change someone else’s mind about something. And like ALL groups of Human Beings, dissension erupts from time to time.
During our last gathering this dissension was discussed at length. Instead of suggesting “speaking from the heart” we decided to practice “listening from the heart”. No matter how passionate or misguided or misinformed someone may be it is very easy to acknowledge the heart felt passion behind anyone’s rant without offering any agreement or argument.
“Oh, I hear you loud and clear. You really believe the main stream media is lying to us about Covid. I got it. Yeah. Nobody wants to be taken in or lied to. I understand.” As I quietly keep my mask on and social distance.
I sometimes wear the mask on Zoom. Attitudes can be very contagious so I am careful about what I breathe in, consume or digest on social media as well.
Listening from the heart.
At the Men’s Council we have a “talking stick” with the agreement that whoever has the stick is the only person to speak. The rest of us now get to listen from the heart for the heart that is talking; which is not necessarily the words or data that is being spoken. It frequently takes time and words to unconceal the feelings of our heart.
I’ve been known to go on and on about him, her or whatever only to need to say quietly, “My feelings have been hurt”. Often just to be heard is enough to move on for me.
Gatherings of men are historically questionable. They may begin with the highest of ideals and yet money, power and prestige have a way infiltrating and corrupting the best of intentions.
Listening from the heart may be a good practice to keep the demons at bay.
Listening from the heart.
And keeping our integrity and boundaries intact.
When not listening this is my bumper sticker for the week:
“Say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t say it mean”
Then listen from the heart.

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