The Power of Think-and-Listens

With all of our chronic material [distress] restimulated by this COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that many of us are having a hard time thinking freshly and expansively. My mind has been at work all these weeks. However, my thinking has been almost entirely in response to the external situation as it unfolds. What has been missing has been the opportunity to let my mind run free, consider the larger picture, imagine what might be possible, identify new openings and possibilities.

Of course, we need to discharge on early distress—more than ever these days. And discharge reliably frees up fresh thinking. But I’m starting to wonder if we are taking full advantage of the potential for Think-and-Listens. The following are some that I’ve been part of recently:

At our Regional workshop at the end of March, the leader divided us into three-ways for discharge. This was followed by a Think-and-Listen. It was wonderful and invigorating to do both. I did the same thing in my teachers’ and leaders’ class with good results. 

At one of her workshops, Marcie Rendon (the International Liberation Reference Person for Native Americans) responded to someone’s question by giving that person an opportunity to think for five minutes in front of the group—and then gave her another five minutes. In my session the following week I remembered that possibility and took ten minutes just to let my mind work. It felt like a breath of fresh air!

The following week I was on the phone with someone from the workshop and I mentioned Think-and-Listens. He said that was just what he needed. So we exchanged ten minutes each way. Our minds were eager to reflect on our situation and come up with [think of] steps for moving forward that we hadn’t been able to formulate without that protected space and added attention. It was an empowering and hopeful experience.

A leader from outside my Region said that she was asking people in her class to take one minute each to talk about the world they want—another example of thinking with attention.

I encourage all of us to remember this powerful tool we have in our RC toolbox and find ways to use it more often in these extraordinary times.

Pamela Haines

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion
list for RC Community members

(Present Time 200, July 2020)

Last modified: 2020-07-21 02:14:04+00