The Power of Presence and a Listening Ear
What if the simple act of being heard, even if by someone you may never meet in person can be positively life changing? What if just knowing that you matter can make a dramatic difference? Many people find themselves feeling lonely and isolated, either because they live alone, work in environments with low connectivity, or pass folks by on the streets with their heads down or tapping away on their phones. The current state of world affairs is enough to contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Not everyone has access to family and friends who can provide support. Many years ago, I learned the twin phrases, “Speak from the heart and listen with the ears of the heart.” I translated that to a need to be fully present with the other person, truly drinking in what they were saying, as well as what they were not saying. It mirrors a created word from one of my favorite books, called Stranger in A Strange Land, ‘grok’, which, according to the author, Robert Heinlein means ‘to drink,’ as in to fully get what is being said. I learned the art of Active Listening while working on a crisis intervention hotline in college in the 1970s and 80s. There, my skills were honed as I provided information, resources and an empathetic ear to those who called in at all hours needing support.
With the advent of modern technology, a new service is available in the form of HearMe.app Created to meet the aforementioned needs, it can be downloaded for free. Those on the listening end of HearMe.app are carefully vetted and trained and are available 24/7 to provide that open heart and those open ears. A caveat: It is not psychotherapy and not a substitute for it. The interaction is via text.
I was delighted to be introduced to this service by Adam Lippin, who is one of the co-creators. We are part of a community of relationship and consent educators whose intention is to make the world a safer, more loving and harmonious place. I can relate it to something I do on a regular basis. To forward my passion and purpose, I offer FREE HUGS as the founder of Hugmobsters Armed With Love. Nearly six years ago, I formed this group so that people would experience that same power of connectivity and validation. When I hug strangers (and I estimate that there have been many thousands with whom I have shared an embrace,) we take the time to be fully present with each other, breathing together, acknowledging each other’s essential value.
When people reach out via the app, they can seek support for any number of issues, including personal relationships, career decisions, daily stressors, health concerns, loss, and life changes. They can know that there is a caring person on the other end who is fully present with them. “Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” ― Roy T.