“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Jung
If I am lucky enough to continue this work I have a feeling that each person I spend time with will stay with me. That each encounter will be vivid and will move me, transforming me. It is such an honour to be able to meet people in this way.
I spend most of my days brushing past people. Having cautious flirtations with how much or how little to reveal to the strangers I meet in this big city. Feeling the deadly awkward grip of the things not said lurking behind our banter. Even with the people I’m closest to sometimes I don’t manage a total honesty of presence.
When I have really connected to someone it becomes embedded in me. All those unusual encounters, however big or small, in which me and that other person were really there. That stranger you met years ago in the youth hostel, the day to day intimacies with with your partner, that conversation with an old friend, I bet you have a similar gallery of these meetings.
Living Words requires that we offer this level of presence and intimacy. That we consciously put ourselves into a state in which we are truly available. In this state we are moved. The space between me and the person I’m working with is smaller. This space is fluid and honest. Someone asked me what the greatest thing I had learnt from training with Living Words and I said “to be bold and soft, strong and gentle.” I think what I meant was you have to be a kind of foolish heart warrior to offer this space. It’s not easy but it is worth it. My life is richer the more of these ‘reactions’, as Jung puts it, are a part of it. It’s just “Love, I suppose” as G put it after our sharing of everyone’s words at the care home. He hit the nail on the head.