When I met Shamanie a few years ago at an art camp, I hit it off with her right away. I knew as soon as I met her that she was a listener ... which happens to be one of my love languages. I feel loved when a person listens to me. And one of the primary ways that I love is by listening to people. I'm good at it. (There are other languages that I'm not so good at, by the way.)
I've realized through my therapy sessions and other lessons that I also feel loved when listening is not accompanied by judging. To hear my story that is made up of my good and bad, of my choices as I maneuver through dangers that are present, the highs and lows ... as I observe and consider all that is out there, make decisions for my life without taking a poll about what I should or could do. To simply share my story rather than have it measured.
I'm not sure if I've always been a listener without judgement. Actually, I know for sure that I haven't always been that way ... especially during times in my life when I allowed dogma to direct my conversations and allow that dogma to dispense shoulds, coulds, oughtas, and other generalized command statements.
I recently flew to Colorado to spend the weekend with Shamanie. To get caught up with each other's stories. The highs. The lows. And every space in between. We worked out. We ate. We hung out with her kids. We laughed hard and shed a few tears.
Loving without measuring. Sharing without judging. When it works, it's a beautiful thing. When it doesn't, not so much. And why it works is kind of a mystery I think. It's as simple as a puffy white cloud in the sky. And it's as complex as how that cloud got into the sky in the first place.
It reminds me of art. When it works, it just does.