Fewer Words. More Presence.

I recently had my first “mock “ counseling session. For a first try, it went okay! It certainly wasn’t perfect, but when your doing your first counseling session you’re less worried about perfect and more worried about not totally screwing up the person sitting in front of you.

As I sat down to go over “the film” of my session, I had this deep conviction that I had talked too much. As I explained this conviction to my supervisor, he looked at me and said something along the lines of: “I think you’re on to something Matt… Fewer words, more presence.”

Fewer words. More Presence.

His words really resonated with me! I don’t know where you are at on your own journey, but if I had to guess, you’ve had a time or two where you wished someone would have heeded to this advice:

Fewer words. More Presence.

As in: Don’t tell me what you believe. Listen to what I believe.

As in: Stop talking about what is right and wrong. Please, first just listen to what I’m experiencing.

As in: I understand you know who you are and what you believe in. But can you love me even though I don’t really know who I am and what I believe?

I’m beginning to realize that it’s really hard for me to shut up, listen and be present. In other words – I think it’s really hard for most of us to sit in the presence of another fearfully and wonderfully made brother or sister and embrace them for who they are, where they are.

I have two brothers and they are both exceptionally good at this. You could call them twenty times, and they might not answer one of your calls. But when sh** hits the fan, they are there. I know I’m being brief and to the point, and please know that I do believe and understand that words are terribly important. But when sh** hits the fan, I don’t need your words, I need you!

I wasn’t going to make this an overtly religious or political post (always a risk), but as I have been shutting my own mouth and listening a little bit more, I’m beginning to realize that not listening AND remaining silent isn’t always helpful.

So – as I fully acknowledge that it is somewhat hypocritical for me to “speak” in your presence as you read this…Here I go: As a blonde haired, blue eyed, white, and ridiculously privileged male, I’m going to try my best to embrace my mentors advice:

Fewer words. More Presence.

Stop Talking and Start Being.

Stop Proving and Start Listening.

Stop fighting and Start loving.

And then maybe… just maybe, once we have built real trust, our words will start to mean something again.

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