Learning From Dinosaurs

dinosaur

I’d seen him around the town. He’s an old, portly man with an air of white privilege. He seems to be a typical conservative, stuck-in-his ways, misogynistic and probably racist dinosaur. I’ve never spoken with him, but I imagine he’s the kind of man that talks over women, believes in the empire and dismisses anyone who disagrees with him. He is a package of everything that riles me.

Now here I am phoning him up. I listen to the phone ringing waiting for him to pick up. I’ve had a message from the social-prescriber, and she’s asked me to call.

As he answers the phone I brace myself. I mustn’t let my contempt show. Whatever he says and however he responds to me, I must be polite. I introduce myself and the conversation starts. My mind is in defensive mode, waiting for this domineering man to start spouting forth. But I’m taken off guard when the first thing he explains is that his wife died unexpectedly a few weeks ago.

The chattering disapproving voice stops. It is like the off-switch has flicked in my mind. In this moment, I forget the myriad of stories I have created. They no longer exist and instead of stories compassion wells up. He is lonely. Here is a man, who walks with an air of confidence and ease, yet he is desperately sad and lonely.

As he continues to talk he explains he is a bit deaf and apologises if he mishears me. My hard heart melts a bit further. Then in a self-deprecating way he says he likes stamp-collecting. He calls himself ‘boring’ and laughs at this odd hobby. A slither of love reaches out from me as I listen to him – it’s impossible not to love this vulnerable human who has let down his guard to connect with a stranger.

I tell him about the Community Hub, a place he can come in Ivybridge to meet up with people and he’s keen to give it a go. Then we say our goodbyes and I sit at my desk reflecting.

I of all people should know better. I who teach others about being wary of the stories we create and believe had myself created and believed a story about a person who I hadn’t even met. I had built up barriers making him wrong and me right. I had braced myself for engaging in a kind of combat, where the enlightened warrior (me) takes on the old monster. It was a typical story where I cast myself as the hero and others as villains.

The truth is very different. When I witness and become present to the love and compassion behind the stories, then connection is inevitable. And when I feel this sense of connection then anything feels possible.

 

To Listen is To Love is Liz’s new book. This is a beautiful book with a simple message that will bring joy to your relationships.

You can buy a copy here.

1 Comment

  1. Kay Reynolds

    Yes so very true. We can get caught up in our stories but when we open our hearts with compassion anything is posdible.

    Reply

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About Inner Compass

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are trainers, coaches and speakers. They work with individuals and groups across the UK. They also help develop coaching cultures (founded on wellbeing) within schools and organisations.

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Discover how the Inner Compass can guide you

How can you uncover your in-built resilience and wellbeing? What's the best way to share a message of wellbeing with others? The Inner Compass can guide you.

i

Explore our articles, podcasts and resources

Our articles, podcasts and resources will help people like you find the language to share the Inner Compass (also known as the Inside-Out understanding) with others.

Become a Wellbeing Listener

Discover the simplicity of powerful listening. Our Wellbeing Listener programmes are affordable and accessible.

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Do you want to find out more about Inner Compass? Or have questions about the Inside-Out (Three Principles) understanding? Get in touch.

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