Making Every Word Count

What a gift it would be if every person had someone in their lives who said: “Tell me what I should know about you”…and then really listened to the answer; be it a doctor, a teacher, a parent, a friend, or a therapist. Mostly we are too busy to listen to one another’s stories…we read one another’s ‘spin’ on Facebook, we text each other ‘the bottom line’ …it is the difference between hearing about a sunset, and actually witnessing it.

When someone comes to see me for Narrative work, I begin by asking: “Tell me the story of you.” And then I listen. And not unlike encountering a piece of music, I listen equally to the words they use to language the experience of their own lives, and to the silences between the words. They weave together in a subtle interplay of summersaults…one illuminating the other.

If it is true that there ‘has never been a people without a narrative’, there has also never been a narrative without a listener. Make time to sit with someone you love this week; ask them what you should know about their week, andreally listen to the answer. To the words, and the feelings behind the words. And then sit and reflect in silence, together, for even a moment, upon how it felt to be fully engaged. It’s a practice, and it will take some!