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QUOTE: The Compassionate Listener 
Started by eKIM
03 Apr 2014, 3:11 PM

“People don’t always need advice.  Sometimes all they need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a heart to understand. Often their answers lie deeply within themselves and only become clear when spoken to a compassionate listener.”  - unknown

Whether you were the listener, or the one being listened to, do you have any stories to share?

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Reply by eKIM
03 Apr 2014, 3:13 PM

At certain times in my life I have met a compassionate listener who took time to hear my story.  I don’t ever remember receiving any advice, only their undivided attention.   What I do remember however is coming away with a sense of peace and a certainty that I was on the road to healing.  Since then, I have tried to be that compassionate listener for others.  ~ eKim

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Reply by passirose
04 Apr 2014, 1:31 AM

I am a compassionate listener, and a good one I suppose since I was told how good it feels to be my "friend". 

But now that It's my turn, I need to be listened, I realise I don't know how to talk , how to share all this feeling inside me...

But it is ok, I can learn.  :)


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Reply by eKIM
05 Apr 2014, 1:31 AM

Hello Suzanne

I am touched after reading your latest posting.  My hope for you is that you have a compassionate listener who will be with you when needed.  If you like, you can “speak” freely with us, here at Virtual Hospice.  The only “qualification” that we can offer is that “We Are Here”.

“The compassionate listener travels the path chosen for him.  He carries before him, but one small candle.  The path is dim, the destination unclear. 

In the distance, a candle - no brighter than his own - flickers an uncertain greeting. 

When the two candles unite, not much more of the path is illuminated.  But each will find that, even though the road ahead is dark and uncertain, that two candles light the way much better than one.”

- eKim

“Draw near dear one, with your little candle so divine. 

Whisper your words and I shall whisper mine.”  -  eKim

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Reply by Brayden
05 Apr 2014, 2:09 AM

Dear Suzanne,
I would like to relate an experience that I had with a lady in the hospital that was in her final hours. I entered the room and found two immediate family members sitting at the end of the bed, not saying a word. They whispered to me saying that she was dying. I had visited this lady a number of times over the last two months. I walked up to her and said who I was and gently kissed her on the forehead. She did not open her eyes and the blanket was pulled totally over her, except for her face. I continued to speak words of support and encouragement into her ear. Suddenly I noticed that one hand was coming upwards under the blanket and she raised her hand out to me. I took the hand and she held my hand with such strength that I could not dare move. At that point I just felt such a bond and sense of peace between us and she would not let go. I could talk to her and hear her response without her saying a word. Her family members nearly fell off their chairs. I still always feel that that was one of the most meaningful conversations that I have had with someone. It is always good to listen and speak with compassion, but sometimes it does not take words. I sure hope that  you have someone come by that will have that heart of compassion.
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Reply by Tian
05 Apr 2014, 2:43 AM

I think the French philosopher Montaigne pointed out the essence of compassionate listening.

" The word is half his that speaks, and half his that hears it."

I think this is particularly magnified when a person may have doubts about what they are saying. Knowing that they are really being listened to can encourage them to continue so that ultimately their feelings can be expressed. Compassionate listening leads to real communication.

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Reply by marstin
05 Apr 2014, 5:32 AM

I can remember at the beginning of my journey after losing my partner and my Mom, how so alone I felt. I forced myself out the door everyday rather than dwell on the pain. On one of these days I was coming up an escalator at a plaza that I frequented when I saw a woman that I recognized but did not know, coming towards me. She put her arm around my shoulder and asked if I had a few minutes to talk then led me over to a bench and let me pour my heart out. She listened to me talk and barely said a word, only wiped the tears off of my face. I don't know how she realized how bad of shape I was in, but when we parted ways I felt like an angel had been sent to bring me comfort. In that moment I knew that I would always continue to pay it forward and share the gift that she gave to me.

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Reply by eKIM
05 Apr 2014, 7:13 PM


Brayden, I must say that in reading your posting, that I was encouraged to hear of someone else who has experienced this most beautiful of all forms of communication.  It is a regular occurrence for me at hospice.

Your quote, Tian is very powerful.  I am still pondering it.

Marstin, that was a great story regarding that “chance” meeting.  Just recently I wrote something that I would like to share with you:

“Hi, how are you?”, the friend asks.  “Ok, how are you?”, she replies automatically.  Normally – as per our usual social interaction - the friend would say “Fine.” and then simply continue on with what she was doing..

But this time she saw something in her friend’s body language and in her eyes.  Now the really, truly great friend re-asks, “'How are you really?”  

The lesson here is thus: help the person who is hurting to “open up” to you.  Simply listen  honestly and compassionately.  This will allow the person (at least for a moment) to have their load lightened.

You will be rewarded as well because you will be viewed as - and spoken of - as a very, tender, caring person.”  - unknown

“In communicating there is the speaker and the listener, the message shared, the reply received, the analysis of the words, the implementation, and on and on.  When a compassionate heart meets a broken heart, then none of these facets of communication hold the power of the moment shared.”  ~ eKim


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