Andy and Michael Nelson. Photograph, Autumn Lee of Autumn Lee Studios.
TOPIC: Just before a loved one has surgery
Andy Nelson was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer in October of 2016. After meeting with both the colon and liver surgeons at Mayo Clinic, his doctors recommended two surgeries. Chemotherapy began immediately to prepare him for the surgeries. On March 6, 2017, surgeons removed masses in the left lobe of his liver and primary cancer growth from the colon. He has been waiting for the left side of his liver to heal and grow in preparation for a more aggressive surgery on the right lobe of the liver. On May 31, 2017, they will find out if Andy is ready for the second surgery. Michael Nelson, “the love of Andy’s life,” journals about her experience.
Project Talk + Listen is a practice to talk openly and listen empathetically.
It's an experiment and invitation to work with two experiences: talking with genuineness and transparency and listening from the other's point of view without judgment, evaluation, approval, or disapproval of the statements. It's not a discussion.
Invite someone to have a Talk + Listen experience.
Aim for 30 minutes total. Each person gets half the time to talk and listen.
Talk transparently. Listen quietly.
Agree to be curious, flexible, open, and courageous.
Sit, stand, or walk for your Talk + Listen experience. It's up to you.
Take turns talking and listening as you:
1. Describe what you read. Describing might sound absurdly simple. It's not. This quote explains how to do it and why it's important:
"Describing is a process of overall observing, particular noticing, and telling what you see or otherwise sense...To describe is to name it and its characteristics and qualities...People seem to believe that if what they are asked to describe is in front of you and them, then they think there is no need to say what they see because they wrongly assume that we all see the same things in the same way. We do not. We look at things differently, we notice different aspects, and we use different words when we tell about what we see." - Terry Barrett, CRITS (in contract, Bloomsbury Publishing, London)
2. Complete each of these two sentences in paragraphs.
When I read _____, I think _____ …
When I read _____, I feel _____ ...
3. Later, reflect on your experience. If you choose, share an insight with your partner.