Why am I doing this || An evening edition of Free Listening
I asked a woman tonight, “what is it about the sign you noticed, is it the “hear for you” part or is it the “free listening” part, or is it a combination of everything. “It’s everything she said, the hear for part I saw first and then I saw it all and it made me pause.
What is it that is pause-worthy about this? This question was going through my mind during slow periods, when no-one was in the other chair, and I was left with the scenery, the whirr of curious passerbys, and my thoughts, a near meditative state where I'd be really asking that spirit make it clear to me why I am out here doing this.
Everyone asks, “why are you here?” “How did you get the idea” or “what made you want to do this?” I can feel myself wriggle in my seat a little when asked this question. Because even I do not know.
It’s totally beyond explanation, it’s not something that’s understood, it’s something that’s felt. Sit down and you'll feel it, I wanted to say to people. And maybe I should start saying that, because it's true.
It’s my purpose. It connect me to my highest excitement and greatest good. It feels good. I like it. It’s powerful. It’s helpful. It’s something I can do. It’s a simple and pure gesture I can make.
These are the things I end up saying and I ask myself after, what was that? “Your answer sounded elementary!” Then I realize my answer is elementary because Free Listening is an elementary idea, because it’s based on listening, paying attention, being present, offering help to others, not for any reason other than because it’s the right thing to do.
These are concepts we literally learn in E L E M E N T A R Y school. Which is why my answers sound simple, intuitive, and speak to the fact that it’s not MY idea, none of it is, I’m simply going back to my roots and being the person I was raised to be, a listener, a helper, tolerant to all, purpose driven, connected to god or source.
So when people tell me that it's a good idea i say i “yea, that’s what I said!” Because I truly did GET the idea, I didn’t have the idea, It was my spirit’s distillation of every concept my brain has ever learned, presented to me in a way that made sense.
From there, I did the rest. I took the steps to make it happen. Got a notepad, some pens, a sign at a thrift store, chalk, a couple chairs and the courage to just set up the Free Listening display.
See it’s that last part that was really the only thing stopping me from doing it. I just needed to combine energy and intention. Take action. Get out there. Do it. And I did. I continue to. I will do this for however long I wake up inspired to continue doing it.
I want to say to people through my actions that “you are welcome,” “YOU are wanted,” “I LOVE you, please TELL me your story,” “I’d LOVE to get to know you,” “you are WORTHY, “ “you’re interesting as your are.”
Above all, "I’m here for you."
I believe that the smiles and laughs, ooo’s and awww’s, hand to heart gestures, and encouraging remarks are proof that the message is being received.
I haven’t received one negative feedback from this.
Sometimes people do their best to turn it dark, like today when a woman wanted to make sure that I had access to a help line in case someone experiencing suicidal thoughts came to the stand.
I said “no I don’t know the number for that but it sounds like you could give it to me, so please do!” I said extending my yellow pad to her and a pen.
She did so. And I learned some valuable stuff from her that she prattled off as she wrote down the information, for which I thanked her.
But it was still a little weird feeling. Having provided a solution to her initial request, I could tell that there was more than concern behind her inquiry. She appeared agitated, thrown off, saying things like, “well I’m a therapist so. .. “
The thing is, I get lots of therapists coming over, and the crazy part is, none of them sit down, they usually make a suggestion or improvement, with a look of concern, like “what does his kid think he’s doing?”
I think they are confused how someone, with no 21st century qualification could reach people, without taking money, by simply choosing to be there.
“How do I know I didn’t make a mistake” a young man asked me with a true longing to know.
Now here’s where that last part comes into play. Who am I to speak to this young man. How do I know to say the right thing?
Well here’s the thing, what I said next was a pure outpouring of words that originated not in my mind (though they were assembled into sentences there) but from deep within me as a looked into his eyes for the answer that he already knew and just needed to be reminded of.
This young man had recently decided to come to school here in San Diego but was questioning if he made the right decision, as he had decided between this and another school in LA.
“Are you happy where you are?” I asked him. He would say things like, “well, it’s beautiful here.” or “yea, i have my friends here,” and each time I would direct him back, "and are YOU happy here." I saw a shift in his state, and all it took was consistency in asking the right question to get him to look within for the answer.
He lit up and I realized that he was happy. And that was all the information I needed.
I explained that it’s him that it’s easier to come to terms accept our decisions in retrospect because time eliminates options and at some point we’re left with the decision we did make. I explained to him that his degree would not matter, much less where it was from. HE would be deciding factor in his future.
Eventually as he and the group of friends he was with walked off into the evening sunlight that was receding over the cathedral like buildings in Balboa Park, I said “ I believe you know whether or not you made the right choice.”
Where did all this come from, I don’t know. But it certainly wasn’t my opinion, it wasn’t advice. It was a reflection from one person to another of what was written in his body language, and in his eyes. I didn’t have any doubt within. I could have been asking myself the same question that HE asked me, “how do I know didn't I make a mistake,” but i was not.
I could feel the vibration of this dude’s heart shift from questioning himself to self-acceptance. That their are no wrong decisions and that he is perfectly placed where he is. And that he’ll be okay.
So that’s how I know I’m doing the right thing. When time after time, people are left, and I can FEEL this, they are left poised in themselves, secure in who they are, and ready to love the world harder than they ever have.
That’s the answer to the question why am I out here.
Knowing I can give people that, why would I choose not to?