listening with our whole selves

I don’t know if I heard someone else say this recently or if it came into my head of its own accord, but its been rattling there for the last couple weeks.

Its rattling around alongside these two things as well..

1. Accomplices “listen with respect”, are explicit about their own agendas, are realized through mutual consent with shared accountability and responsibility, “aren’t afraid to engage in uncomfortable/unsettling/challenging debates or discussions”, try to listen more than they speak or plan.

2. The other day I was listening to Esther Perel on a podcast and she said something along these lines: ‘I am talked about as a thought-leader and an expert. I think of myself though as a student. I’m curious and avidly learning on a daily basis. I think about these things a lot. I continuously seek to be challenged. I invite conversation, difference, disagreement. I try hard to embrace nuance and complexity.’

I’ve been asking myself:
Can we listen when we are leading?
Can we truly hear what others are trying to say when we are ourselves also thinking, planning, plotting, solving, strategizing?
Can we become an accomplice to others’ efforts if we believe ourselves to be expert in any way about those efforts?
What would a society look like that valued the student above the leader, the avidly curious above the close-minded pundit, the ambiguity of difference above the clarity of immovable poles?

Maybe we need fewer thought-leaders and more listener-accomplices right now.

And I also ask myself:
How can you make your body become all ears?
How can you let the other person’s words, sounds, stories, beliefs fully in?
Hear them, feel them, understand them without filter, resistance, or fear.