Listening is Conception

After a speech I delivered this summer, I was asked: "what kind of world do you hope to create for your son?" I took a deep breath and said "I want him to experience a world where nature and diversity are celebrated, and I want people to listen to each other with reverence." I've been learning about listening. 

On listening well / thinking well, à la Nancy Kline:
"If I could have, I would have asked Bill whether he meant that when we love people, that is, when we respect them as human beings, as thinkers, our love - our respect - sets up the conditions for them to say the true things, the real things, to face the barriers, to understand them, to banish them, to see the possibilities, to discover how to get there, to do, in other words, their own thinking. And being present for that is a gift to us, the listeners. To help make that happen is a privilege.

Listening like this is conception. It is a creative force, and it is a paradox. It is creator, and it is creation. It is the sending of seed, and it is the soil. I am sure that only physicists and poets understand this kind of impossibility: the genius of opposites. One and both, at once. 
Most people have no idea how to generate Attention like this. Most people think that listening is linear. They think that listening is their impatient not-doing until they finally can do. Most people watch for the holes, the pause, the intake of breath. The looking off into the sky, the slightest flutter of being finished, so that, finally, they can speak.

Most people miss the creator. Most people miss the ignition that is inside the listening. A person's finest thinking lives inside those linings of minutes when you are not plotting or trying or prying loose." In the moments when my reverent listening enables a person's mind to realize its own stunning power and I watch their eyes come alive, I find myself wondering how I could have ever wanted them to look to me for their answers. Holding this particular kind of space for my clients is where much of my coaching work is moving, and it feels so...profoundly true. I am both essential and irrelevant. My success has everything to do with the inherent beauty of my clients' minds.