By Bernadette Healy
What is it like to be with the other when you truly focus on listening to them and their story? Embarking on this kind of journey – if only for 10 mins – is a little like going to a foreign land as we cannot really know how it is for the other no matter how well we know them or think we know them. If we want to truly be with the other we must let go of our preconceptions and our petty needs such as the use of conversation with another to gather data; compare ourselves; or make ourselves feel better etc. Paradoxically if we approach it with the openness and curiosity that we typically bring to travelling, we will find that the other can help us, like a travel guide, to see their world through the eyes of the local expert: – them – as, after all, we are each the expert in our own lives. There you will discover the other in a new and wondrous way and find yourself in the midst of connection.
The following is offered as a representation of being with the other:
The red ribbon sits between us
A floating promise
If I or you tug too hard it falls from the other’s hand
If I let go it drops into the space beneath,
out of reach,
not ours anymore.
Holding, not grasping
Keeping it untangled and free.
Holding so you know I am there but not calling for you unbidden
We can leave it still and sit connected.
We can place it down and take it up again at another time.
We can take turns offering and leaving it resting.
My rabbit holds it at times – but I must not allow him to run off too far afield.
I am there with you
My ribbon will sometimes meander as I try to stay with your twists and turns
Remind me if I am falling behind or have strayed too far ahead or away from you
The ribbon connecting you to me to you to we
Safely softly huge
Holds contains encircles