I think I can safely guess that all of you, like me, felt your heart broken last week when you heard the most recent terrible news about the shooting in Connecticut. I’ve been reading posts on Facebook, watching the news just a little, and wondering similar questions to many of my friends ~ Why? What can I do? How can I help?
I’m sure there are a lot of answers to that question, so I certainly do not want to oversimplify the situation, but I do want to offer a couple of thoughts, in this season of holidays and time for reflection. With a lot of tragedies in the U.S., I see people’s hearts open, and for a brief, beautiful moment, people are kinder to one another, people slow down and ask questions…and then it seems like slowly, our hearts harden again, and we polarize. We turn tragedies into politics, and we struggle to find common ground.
In addition to life coaching, I teach communication classes. Part of my passion for teaching communication, comes from my belief that what we talk about, and how we listen, can change the world. Look around in our world, and we have so many examples of situations in which people aren’t listening to one another, or seeking to transform conflicts in a way in which nobody is harmed. It seems to be commonly accepted that someone or something must be harmed, and that conflicts must have a winner and a loser, and goodness, none of us wants to be the loser!
I want to echo so many voices before me that suggest another way of looking at the world ~ a way of love and listening.
In thinking about Why? What can I do? How can I help? Let’s keep our hearts open and vulnerable, and try to cooperate to address these problems we have in our country with violence. It’s a big problem, I know, but open-heartedness is a starting point. Looking at the situation with love is powerful. And let’s practice listening to one another. Listening to perspectives we disagree with is not easy, but it’s work we must do if we wish to find solutions.
A dear friend handed me a book the other day, and it was such fortuitous timing. Every time I sit down to read a little I become engrossed in it, and have to tell myself to set it down again until I have more time. I am so fascinated with the book, partially, because it voices thoughts I’ve been having over of the past seven years or more…I love it when you we find our soul sisters and brothers through literature. The book is called, Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, by Margaret J. Wheatley. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more from this book with you, but for today, let me start with this paragraph at the beginning ~ (p.4)
“When this book was first published in 2002, I made a rash statement: ‘I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again.’ I still believe this. I still believe that if we turn to one another, if we begin talking with each other – then this world can reverse its darkening direction and change for good. And I know with all my heart that the only way the world will change is if many more of us step forward, let go of our judgments, become curious about each other, and take the risk to begin conversation…We can change the world if we just start listening to one another again.”
So today, and this week, when you’re thinking about your community, your country, our world, I invite you to ponder how you can love more deeply and broadly, and how you can listen more intently and be more curious with others.
Love & sparks,