Have you ever had the experience of being deeply listened to by a friend. Someone who remained attentive and present throughout your conversation. Instead of interrupting or offering you tailor made solutions, they left pauses for you to think, and then listened some more.
Because you knew that they were really listening to you , you maybe shared more of what was on your mind. In doing so, perhaps some clarity arose for you. Some unique solutions emerged from a place that might have felt unfamiliar. A clear direction arose from what previously felt like being lost in the woods as it were.
Within the field of massage therapy, especially from a holistic perspective, this was of listening is of paramount importance and vital for recovery. It involves the therapist ‘listening’ to your body in an attentive, intuitive, non-judgmental way. ? There is no pressure to change, more of a kindly, tactile invitation. This supportive touch invites the body’s natural healing processes to emerge. As the tissues offer up their tensions, telling their story, the hands follow until there is a sense of ease. It can feel very gentle.
Despite this gentleness, powerful changes can ensue, often in ways that surprise us.
One of the benefits of listening carefully, without agenda, is that the client gains the opportunity to connect with their body’s own wisdom.??
Deep within each and every one of us there is an sea of intuition or ‘wise knowing’ just waiting to arise.
What this means practically is that a deep healing process emerges. The held patterns of tension in the body begin to unfold in a unique harmonious that tends towards greater integration and balance. Connections, memories & emotions can arise allowing a greater sense of meaning and understanding. ‘Ahh, I’ve held tension in my jaw ever since those teeth were removed when I was young.’
This can be a route of deep healing and repair involving both body and mind. Looking back, it’s clear that we couldn’t have predicted the order of events. It had to unfold, organically, according to its own particular wisdom.
This body wisdom can be a vital ally on any healing journey. As a therapist, I don’t imagine I have all the answers for my clients, but I aim to give space for their body wisdom to be heard.?? Surprising discoveries can arise even amidst complex health challenges. As long as we listen to the gut and the heart and the places that ‘know’.
The gift of the listening hand
It is truly an honour to listen and a joy to be truly heard.
The experience of being heard, deeply, provides a wonderful feeling in the body and quietens the mind.
May I ask you, when did you last feel truly listened to ?
At this moment of writing I am sitting in a coffee shop, mindfully sipping my tea and listening deeply and profoundly on a number of levels. What can I hear ?
I hear the beating of my own heart, although there is a great deal of noise and clamour all around me. I hear a great deal of chatter and it appears on the surface that nobody is listening. People are talking over each other but not being heard.
There is a kind of ‘listening’ through my feet as i feel the vibration of the floor beneath me, and in this moment i ‘hear’ the vibe of the keyboard through my fingertips as I type.
I am wide open to the vibration of life and it is, by and large, a similar experience to sitting with a client in the massage suite.
When a therapist is sitting with someone who has come for a massage they are totally and utterly available, present to any words that are shared both in the consultation and during the treatment itself but moreover to what is unsaid and yet present.
Have you ever been with somebody and picked up their joy of sadness, even when they haven’t uttered a word ? This is how it is for a holistic therapist both in massage and in counselling sessions. The result, that when we are deeply listened to in silence we get to experience the joy of being truly heard. When we are available like this the magic happens.
My experience, with my clients, is that when I sit very quietly and am totally available oftentimes they will say something quite profound that has come up in their mind in the silence. It is as if we really need this quietude in order to hear our own wisdom. Unless we meditate or spend time being very quiet on a regular basis we may not hear the quiet whispers of wisdom that lie beneath what some call ‘the monkey mind’.
I may not have all the answers my friends but what I do have is a listening ear and a listening hand. I will say more about the listening hand in the next blog. For now, here’s to a quiet mind.