Saturday, January 21, 2017

Listening to Myself - Make A Wish -

I'm a listener. I spend my days listening to patients and students. I talk, for sure, but I talk based on what my students and patients want to know. And I adjust my message based on their needs. So I listen - to what they're saying, what their loved ones are saying, their body language, the language of those around them, and then I share - sometimes a nod, smile, hug, a lean in closer, a few words, an experience, or a lesson. But in the end, I listen, and I adjust my sails based on what is being presented. And I do what I can to help them find direction.

For the past year I've spent time listening to a close friend. "Nancy" has been dreaming and scheming for as long as I've known her. Most of this is because Nancy needs someone to be that listening ear, which is what I do, so I did. I am her confidante. I've been with Nancy through some poor relationships, several moves, some faith transitions, some depression, and some reworking of life goals. I listen, listen, offer insight - typically rewording what has been presented, and go back to work. Nancy counts on me to listen - she contends she has no one else who listens as well as I do.

Jenna and I were talking about this yesterday. Is it because I make eye contact when talking and listening to someone? Is it because I stay engaged, not wandering, when in a conversation? Is it because I genuinely believe that everyone deserves to be heard? As long as I have stayed separated I have been fine with taking student's words and patient's words and emotions and traumas home. I don't really internalize. But I am in the listening professions. 

Lately though, Nancy's dreams have begun to include, "What you should do, for us, is . . . " And because I know Nancy is a dreamer, I listen and try not to internalize Nancy's dreams for me, which are not necessarily my dreams for me. But that's hard, particularly because Nancy's type of processing life has reminded me so much of my past life and relationship. And I wonder why I have allowed myself to be the confidante. And while I've been trying not to internalize, I have, and I've put some credibility in Nancy's dreams for "us," although they are not my dreams, and I have not foundation for believing in Nancy's dreams. 

This past week Nancy told me her dreams had changed, which then, I was informed, changed "our" direction. "Ok," I thought. "Enough, now I can make some plans," but I realized I had been holding on to Nancy's dreams, and they had become mine, and I had begun to believe in Nancy's dreams for me, for us. And I'm disappointed, and I'm let-down, and I'm bummed, irritated, at Nancy. 

But mostly at myself. Because throughout all of this last eighteen months, I hoped, I allowed myself to believe that, "just this once," the dreams may evolve into reality - if I listened enough, worked hard enough, I could make this happen - single-handedly, on my own, for the two of us. Just like so many times before - in this life and mostly, in my past life. I am not a one-person "Make a Wish Foundation," although I've led myself to believe I could be. And I've allowed myself to postpone my own dreams.

When am I going to learn the only dreams I can make come true are my dreams, for me? What are my dreams and wishes anyway? I'm so busy listening to others and manipulating my words to match theirs, that I haven't taken the time to be on my own path - pursuing my own. Listening - 

Time to get back to listening to myself - dreaming for myself, creating my own wishes for today and tomorrow. 

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