Not filled out with knowing

BY DENISE TORGERSON

Prince George Hospice

This is a line from one of my favorite poems called “Promise”. It is a poem written to our patients, guests and clients from a helper. It is a poem by Ginny Buzzell.

“I promise you this: That I will come to you raw-boned

And not filled out with knowing.”

I love this line because it speaks of the importance of the helper not trying to “fix” things. It speaks of the helper showing up- real, raw and authentic. It speaks of the helper using the profound skills of curiosity and listening.

It is hard to explain to people – the impact of simply being present and listening. I use these skills all the time. Truthfully, it is my goal to use these skills all the time, sometimes I miss the mark. I am always gentle with myself when this happens.

My point is though, unless you have had an experience of “being heard”, you won’t understand the impact it has. Unless you have had the experience of being the listener, you won’t understand the impact it has.

It is amazing. I have sat with people and listened and not given any information or advice, not “tried to help” but have just acknowledged the person and what they are feeling and I have seen them shift in front of my eyes. Their body posture changes, their eyes are brighter, they breathe deeper and their face literally changes. It is from this place of “being heard” without the fixing, that the person becomes empowered. They come to a place where they know what their next step should be, or they know that they will endure and move through their experience.

When I am in conversation with someone, I have to be real, authentic, raw-boned. If I’m not, they can sense it. If I am pretending in any way, they don’t feel safe. They won’t open up. They won’t share.

“Not filled out with knowing”

It seems paradoxical. That by doing nothing, you can help the most. By not knowing, you will help them come to their own truth. By not fixing them, you will help them heal themselves.

When given the opportunity to figure things out, to untangle their thoughts, humans have the capacity to hold their own pain, to hold their own truth and to heal. I “Promise”