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|by KD Farris, Ph.D. |
HESHE & Clearing the Space for Communication - Part I of II
Communication is a complicated issue and one that stands in the way of many couples reaching their full potential. In clearing the Space for communication we want to view communication in two essential forms: Hearing & Being Heard. The difficult task that most of us will have in clearing the Space for communication will be giving up our need to be heard in favor of choosing to hear our partner.
One of the principles of HESHE is Giving and Receiving As the Same Thing. Weíve all heard the saying, "It is better to give than to receive," but the true meaning of the statement is that in giving, you do receive. And in most cases, when you look beyond the surface, what you receive is exactly what you have given, and usually more of it.
Power struggles within couplesí lives often define the push-and-pull between the value each assigns to giving and receiving. If giving is more important to me, then I will struggle to gain power in this way. But if receiving becomes more important, I will define my struggles in that direction. If in partnership we each take a different position in any given situation, then there is no struggle. But if we each want to give or each want to receive, the struggle ensues.
In other words, if we look to what we are butting heads over in our relationships with others, we will most often find the value of giving and receiving at the helm of this discourse. Usually what happens in the area of communication is that both people want to be heard. They want to give their feelings, opinions, point of view, and nobody wants to receive - no one is listening or doing the hearing. Let me show you how beautifully this works.
Letís say that Iíve hit a power struggle with my mate, friend or family member, because both of us want to be giving information to the other, and neither of us is feeling heard or doing any hearing. I can choose to define listening as something that I give to another, and immediately position myself to listen to what is being said in the face of trying to get my own point across. Once I feel as if I understand my partner, my next action will be to see if I am correct. This can be done simply by telling the person what I felt I heard them say. After a few corrective rounds to get all the details sorted through, two things will have been created. (1) My partner will feel fulfilled having been heard, and (2) I will feel satisfied having heard them completely.
As the result of this exchange of energy and information, both of us are feeling as if we received and the energy between us calms. The Space clears. With the tension reduced and my partner now heard, there is room for more communication. If I choose, I can now present my own view. And, since my partner has now been heard, it will be a lot easier for them to receive me.
If, however, I value receiving and I consider being heard the most important thing, when tensions mount I will find myself needing to get something from my partner in order to find peace within myself. It is much easier to give to others than it is get something from them, and so I could expect a true power struggle unless my partner chooses to value giving during the same encounter that I choose to value receiving.
Unfortunately, the very nature of a power struggle is to have two people needing the same thing at the same time. The art of creating Space for better communication is to gain awareness and clarity such that you have the freedom to choose the order in which you get your needs met. "First I will give, then I will receive."
As with most couples, my husband and I were dealing with old childhood wounds in the early years of our marriage. As we became more and more safe with each other, the underlying issues of our past that needed attention rose to the surface. This is a natural healing occurrence, though most of us in love belief the opposite to be true.
Most people that I counsel bring issues to session that are based on the assumption that "because I have found love, my old wounds should disappear." Once they come to see that it is because they are experiencing love that their issues find the conditions necessary to surface, they can turn the initial letdown into a framework for healing.
In just such a framework, my husband and I both found ourselves in need of being heard. But neither of us had the skills to hear the other but for the volume of our own needs. It was only through the counsel of one of my teachers that I was able to break out of this pattern and provide a container for my own healing process.
I broke the pattern with very specific actions and techniques. These exercises, if you will, strengthened a muscle in me that I still draw on today. I went to my therapist and asked for support while I practiced six full weeks of listening without asking to be heard. Through giving up needing to be heard, and by committing to do all the listening, only then could I allow the listening that I was doing for my husband to be the Ďbeing heardí that I needed for myself. Let me show you how this works.
Giving & Receiving As The Same Thing
In giving ear to anotherís needs, we are able to see our loved ones in a whole new light. Usually, we think weíve been listening which is why we are so anxious to get our own point across in rebuttal. But only when we can see how our loved ones are valid in their communications can we be affected by their position enough to be changed ourselves. And it is in this being changed by what we hear that we will find ourselves better communicators.
Hearing validity in what someone else says takes inner listening. You have to be able to hear beyond the words sometimes, because usually, much of what people have to say they have never said before. When it comes to childhood wounds, most of us have no idea what is happening. We think we are mad at the cat, or mad at her for paying more attention to the cat than she is to us, or mad about the chores around the house not being done well. We get mad about how things are done and when things are done. But really, we are just mad. And after mad comes pain. And after pain comes fear. And following fear is understanding - which eventually leads to love.
The problem in our communication with our loved ones is not what is being said, but what is not getting to be said because we are interrupting the natural flow of communication. So, if we choose to be the one who is going to hear our partner first, what we eventually get to hear is the love they need to express. But we have to get past our reaction to their anger first. And that takes skill and practice.
In my own marriage, when I made the choice to listen in the face of desperately needing to be heard, I was also able to see myself in his needs. During courtship we can see our similarities for they include some of how and why we connect and enjoy each other. But when the power struggle takes hold, we forget about how we are similar. I was reminded how in the pain we could be as twin flames, just as we were in the love and joy. In giving understanding to him, I was able to give understanding to myself. In giving understanding to myself, I was receiving even more than if I had been given understanding by him.
Ultimately, the love and acceptance others dole out is really the first step in the lesson toward giving it to ourselves. And so for myself, by choosing to give at the time when I most needed to receive, I was able to both soothe my lover and educate myself. As I became more educated about my own needs, I also became better equipped to identify and articulate them to others. Giving and receiving was the same thing and they both felt terrific and came rich with information.
When we begin to see anotherís point of view, we make room for our own view as well. As soon as you can open your mind to the possibility that more than one person may be right on; as soon as we are able to recognize that each person, from their own vantage point, is stating something valid and meaningful for them -- the fight, the s t r u g g l e, is over and negotiation can begin. But negotiation cannot begin if both parties feel they are right, for if you feel you are right, what is there to negotiate? Only when you see that both positions have validity can you value negotiation.
Every personís priority is to support their own personal view. Some of this view is conscious and some of it is not. Some of this view is healthy, some of it is not. Some of this we would alter were we able to see it more clearly. And some of it we would not. It is in the wholeness, the complexity of our own view that we must first be enlightened. And if we choose to do the listening first, we will learn of our own hidden agendas as we will learn of them in another. We will learn of our own hidden emotions driving our strong opinions, just as we will come to see our loverís strong emotions that are hidden and driving things now.
When you are able to see how the past is affecting your loved ones, you will come to see how it is also affecting you. So, no matter who goes first, no matter which one of you chooses to let the other go first, you will both be getting plenty. For only when you set aside the judgment of right and wrong, the conviction that there is only one view, the fantasy that you understand the depth of your partnerís complaints -- only then can you come to see the gift in the power struggle, the gem in the miscommunication, the hidden beauty in our attempts to heal our past.
But what about defenses? What about the needs that well up so intensely and cause us to fight so hard for what we want? All I can say to that is that when you are truly listening, you are fully protected and your defenses naturally fall away. For when you are listening you are not filtering everything through what it means to you, rather you are doing all you can to hear through what it means to someone else. Your lover is the one who is in pain and seeking love. When you choose to listen, your need to be heard slips safely away. You are no longer the one who is suffering, you are merely a witness, a loved one who cares enough to be present, providing a container for someone elseís pain, their frustrations, their history. And by receiving their story, you help to reframe it at the same time - and there again, you get to learn about yourself.
By giving the gift of listening, of mirroring, of containing, you are learning the power of these three very valuable tools in your communication with another. Look for techniques of communication in next monthís issue as we continue with Part II. And for the next few weeks, simply pay attention to your needs, and how much freedom you might have to give, when receiving is what you want.
© Copyright 2003 KD Farris, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved.
Read KD's Past Columns:
January 2003 - "Body & Soulful Living"
November 2002 - "Getting Into MESHE with Your Home Through Minor Adjustments"
October 2002 - "Being in MESHE with Clearing Clutter"
September 2002 - "Discover Going on Retreat"
July 2002 - "Build Your MESHE - Seek the Space: A Process for Reclaiming the Shadow"
June 2002 - Revisiting: "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
May 2002 - "Bodywork 101"
March 2002 - "Being Present Within Your Prosperous Life"
February 2002 - "HESHE and The Third Bird"
December 2001 - "Manifesting Your Perfect Partner with Personal Truthz"
November 2001 - "Remembering What We Already Know"
September 2001 - "Be Led By What You Are Trying to Avoid"
August 2001 - "Draw Your Way to Clarity, Health & Balance"
June 2001 - "Tending to the Negative Mind"
May 2001 - "Gentle Conscious Living"
April 2001 - "MISON and The Moment"
March 2001 - "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
KD Farris, Ph.D. is a successful counselor, healer, and bodyworker. For more than twenty years she has taught
extensive workshops based on MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT as well as many other self-discovery topics.
KD began developing her integrated bodywork and counseling techniques in 1983 under the tutelage of many prominent doctors and healers throughout the United States.
Her education into the spiritual and physical aspects of the human experience served as the foundation for her private practice and the development of a new philosophy. She combined her techniques into four guiding principles, which she shares in her book, MESHE, HESHE,
MISON & ORBIT: What My Grandmother Taught Me About the Universe. She teaches a companion workshop series, where she creates an interactive environment demonstrating the material from her book with tangible, life altering effects. In these workshops, individuals discover a
deepening of their relationship to self, others, and life itself.
Through individual counseling and group workshops, she has taught her results-oriented programs to many different types of people including those confined to mental institutions, substance and food abusers, and generally, people in life transitions, struggling with intimate
relationships, or who lack direction in their lives. Visit www.kdfarris.com.
KD is currently touring a new body of work, Talking About People in Transition, Also Known As
Liminal Space. She will be writing about liminality and its relevance to day-to-day living in upcoming issues of Soulful Living. For more information on this new and exciting topic, or to learn about more her private practice, workshops and lectures, visit
Contact KD at: info@MESHE.com