Listening: is this the most valuable gift we can give one another?


Do I show up for you as one who cares for you?

It is easy for me to say that I care.  It is something else entirely to show up in your world as one who cares.

It is easy for me to reassure you that everything will be fine. It is something else entirely to show up in your world as one who cares.

It is easy to tell you what to do. It is something else entirely to show up in your world as one who cares.

It is easy to go out and buy stuff for you. It is something else entirely to show up in your world as one who cares.

It is easy for me to give you money. It is something else entirely to show up in your world as one who cares.

It is easy for me to fix it for you. It is something else entirely to show up in your world as one who cares.

Genuine listening is the foundation of caring and relationship

I thank you for teaching me that listening is caring. What kind of listening?  When I listen to you as person of worth. When I listen to you as person who matters. When I stop everything that I am thinking-speaking-doing and sit there.  Sit there doing what? Being a listening for you – wherever you are at, whatever you are thinking, whatever you are feeling, whatever you are needing, whatever you are requesting of me and the world

When through my listening I create a space for you to show up and express yourself fully. To speak that which is there to be spoken.  Then you feel gotten. And when you feel gotten you feel connected with me and vice versa. When you feel connected you feel loved. When you feel loved you feel that you matter, that you are safe, that you have a safe platform to take risks.

It occurs to me that if each of us provided empathic listening to the people closest to us, at home, at work, in the local community, then our experience of living would be transformed and collectively we would end up transforming the world.

I invite you to join me in being a source of empathic listening. Being a stand for empathic listening. Just listening: not reassuring, not advising, not telling, not fixing…. just empathic listening of one heart to another heart.

Oh and I get that it is hard. And is it not that way for the baby that struggles to walk. Does the baby give up each time s/he falls?  Does the baby stay content with just crawling just because s/he falls down and hurts herself?  Just about everything shows up as hard until it becomes us and then it is easy even automatic.

If you are wondering what I am making such a big fuss about then I leave you with this quote from Dorothy Moore:

When you ask someone when was the last time a person listened to you, they often can’t even give you an answer. Listening, really listening, is the key to caring!

On being wanted, loved and cared for: how I arrived with one sister and left with four sisters!


“According to Mother Theresa, the greatest disease in the West is not Tuberculosis or Leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, uncared for.” Tim Sanders, Love Is The Killer App

A life full of ‘business as usual’ encounters

Can you remember a time in your life when you turn up at someone’s house because it is something you should do. And as you knock on the door you expect a superficial experience because the people are in the room and humanity has gone walkabout – including your own? My life if it was a container would be full of these superficial encounters: unwanted, unloved, uncared for. And I am confident that I have had the same impact on many of my fellow human beings.

Three extraordinary sisters and an extraordinary day

Yesterday I encountered Asma, Saima and Selena (sisters) as I have done several times before. Yet this time I so enjoyed their company that I did not want to leave and return home. The speaking, relating, listening and the experience of each others company was extraordinary. Full of humanity – genuine sharing, caring and laughter. What was present that had been missing in previous encounters?

I was coming from the context of ‘Playing BIG’ and being the source of powerful conversations that bring the experience of the extraordinary into being. And the people I interacted with (including Asma, Saima and Selena) were touched by my honest sharing (including vulnerabilities and mistakes) and put their humanity into the mix with me. Together we touched each others lives in an ‘extraordinary’ way – definitely not a ‘business as usual’ experience’!

I got that I have four sisters and not three: I simply had not been willing to see this before. Asma is amazing and loves me; I got that Saima is amazing and loves me; I got that Selena is amazing and loves me; I got that they are amazing together and love each other; and I got that they are being loving towards their mother and father.

I love my sister Freda and the relationship is so strong that I have never wanted or wished for another sister. Today I ‘have’ four sisters. Put accurately, I declare that I am an elder brother to four sisters: Fred, Asma, Saima and Selena. And as such I take on all the ‘stuff’ that goes with ‘playing that game’. How do I feel? Great.

Final thought: ‘Playing BIG’ has expanded my circle of concern and of care. And it has also enriched my life I am delighted to be in relationship with four sisters – each of them being amazing.

I love you Freda, Asma, Saima and Selena, Please know that you have a brother in me and all that goes with that. Asma, Saima and Selena I apologise that it took me so long to get that you want, love and care for me as your older brother. I totally get that you are amazing and it is a privilege to step into being your elder brother.