Conversation with another human being is a great way to regain your power when it appears to be lost, assuming there is a degree of rigorous listening present. It’s one of the reasons I’m grateful to have such an incredible wife because when I really need her to be she’s the source for me. She grants me the space to speak and in her listening I am recreated and sense-making, as the social constructionists call it, occurs. Sense is made for me, sense is made for her and we walk away from the conversation with renewed sense of purpose or reinvigorated presence to our existing purpose.
Losing power is aggravating and annoying when you are aware of aletheia as I am. Knowing that you’re in a vicious circle of story about what happened influencing the way what happens is perceived thereby adding to the story about what happened and on and on (a vicious circle) doesn’t make any difference in getting out of the vicious circle. Usually it involves spending a lot of time looking inward to try to find the source of “it”…that thing which you know is wrong. But then, I know that nothing is wrong so I tell myself that everything is exactly as it should be, perfect in this moment, and so I spend time trying to be present to this moment so I can get that everything is exactly as it should be and be present to the miracle that life is. The more I try to get back to that present moment the less I’m able to get back to it and the more evidence I gather that there’s definitely something wrong.
This shouldn’t be happening to me. I’m so transformed that I’m writing a book on a unified theory of change. More evidence that something is wrong.
She was in the shower listening and I felt despair. I just started talking. Half of the time she probably wasn’t even listening, even though she was listening, but it was the space she was granting me to just question out loud the possible causes of what was creating this chemical imbalance (as I put it) that had me feeling so disempowered.
I’d examined all the possible causes in the past few days and the more I attempted to identify them the deeper it seemed to get. It started out that I’d been sick for so long I thought, and that led to me getting better, but continually getting sick. Then it was the lack of sun caused by this very mild Cleveland winter in which we’ve actually had quite a bit more sun than I’ve ever recalled. Then it was the impending completion of my MPOD program after next week’s residency and all the work I’ve been actually having to do at my day job. Then it was the day job in general and the wholesale feeling of despair about being unable to make any difference in the company I work when I’m supposed to be coming out of this program being proficient in organizational change (not to mention I’m writing a book about it). Then it was the laundromats and the fact that I still haven’t moved on some of the initiatives and then it was this and then it was that.
She mostly just listened. At times she would echo some of the same sentiments and recreate what I said in her experience. At times I would cut her off when she would start talking about her experience and she would let me, and I would let her let me because I, for a change, really felt like I had to talk.
Mostly I attempt to position myself in that space, as the space, into which other people can express who they are and generate themselves as who they are. I find that when I’m caught up in a number of deadlines and doing a lot of things that others are expecting outcomes from, including myself, that I have a more difficult time being that space. Caught up in doing rather than being. When it goes on long enough and it doesn’t appear that I’m really making any difference in the world I find myself caught in that place of despair. It’s great to have a committed listener to let me be and let me be known and let me be heard. She didn’t actually do anything, or suggest anything, or make anything better. She just listened.
She granted me power through listening. We can each do that for each other. It makes a world of difference.