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One of my favourite CBC radio shows is Tapestry. It is a show on spirituality, religion, the search for meaning.

Today, as I was getting ready to leave the house, I dawdled unnecessarily in order to hear Jon Kabat-Zinn talk about mindfulness. And while all of his reflections on meditation and meaning were probably ideas that you or I have come across in our own existential grapplings, he wove them together so seamlessly (nb: apparently the etomylogical root of religion is a "binding together"), I was riveted.

As a therapist (he runs a Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts), he commented on how often doctors don't listen or interrupt their patients. And the higher success rate the doctor has when they listen with their 'whole being'.

I am am among the dominant majority of people who listen in a distracted way. A lot of the time I draw other people's stories and experiences to reflect on my own in conversation. We all do that, right? It is not always a bad thing. Our experience is, after all, made of up small stories that we piece together to understand larger truths about ourselves, the world.

But it got me thinking about each time I have encountered people who listen with their whole being. And how it catches me so completely unaware, I practically fall apart, or have the urge to confess everything.

I went for my physical last week, and my doctor, who is one of those aforementioned listeners, went through the list from muscles to organs, from cycles to energy levels. Then, like every year, he put his pen down on my file and looked at me with a twinkle: "And how are you?"

The openness and compassion of his manner drove the question to my core. And like last year and the year before, my eyes got all stingy and tear or two made a break for my chin. "Oh, you know, I am mostly very happy with an accent of melancholy."

And then we laugh and he listens to my heart.

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post #993
bio: adina

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