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When Someone Deeply Listens To You

When we listen to our self closely and deeply, we open our self up to listening to others and the world deeply. In turn, the world and others are able to listen to us deeply as we create vulnerable spaces exposing ourselves and holding that dented cup out with certainty that others will respond.

John Fox wrote this poem about others listening to us. The process begins within us and moves out. When we are unable to listen to our self, we should not expect others can listen to the person we are unable to listen to, our self. Spending time in meditation, taking Sabbath breaks makes this possible.

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

40 responses »

  1. Amazingly beautiful and true…we have two ears and one mouth, which means we probably should listen more than speak…a lot of wisdom in that poem!

  2. This is a favored piece of mine. Lovely

  3. Andrea Tyrrell

    To really hear and be heard. So valuable. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  4. MicheleMariePoetry

    Learning to listen is quite difficult- I always want to but in and ‘help’ but often an ear is all that is wanted…not advice. Beautiful poem up there.

  5. i’ll have to continue
    practicing listening
    to fulfill the possible 🙂

  6. Beautiful piece of work, thankyou for posting it.

  7. Ah yes … I hear him. So beautiful!

  8. Really love this, thank you!

  9. That’s beautiful!

  10. Beautifully written about something that is not quite easy. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Beautiful post. As a therapist, I often say, “presence is an intervention.” Sometimes, just being and listening is enough. Blessings…

  12. Really listening shows love. When someone really listens, you feel like you have been given a gift.

  13. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    Meditation is a wonderful tool and I don’t think the younger generation makes enough time for that. My stepdad told his daughter she needed time to be alone where she had no friends over and was not going off on any activities. She was upset at the time but came back and told her dad years later that she finally understood the value of his words. Listening and understanding are the most valuable of immaterial gifts you can give.

    • It takes time. Richard Rohr says we spend the first half of our lives running and the second half discovering if we wait things come to us. He argues it is a maturity process and agree. I am much more settled in the second half than I was in the first half.

  14. Very nice article and lovely, heartfelt poem. beebeesworld

  15. Listening is a special ability that few possess whether it be for themselves or for others.

    • You are so right Bev. To listen deeply to others and one’s self takes a level of attentiveness and intentionality most of us are unable to tap into on a regular basis.

      • It always makes me feel good when someone says, “You are a good listener.” Now if I could just learn to listen to myself better!

  16. Ivon, we no longer listen, we hear what we wish to hear.

    • I agree. At the core of mindfulness is deep listening to each other. It is giving each other our fullest attention. I watched the newscast today and was struck by how people they interviewed on different sides of a particular topic did not indicate it was important to listen to one another. We appear to have lost the ability to carry on a civil conversation, listen to each other deeply, and inflame existing tensions.


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