From Valerie Threlfall:
“It’s easy these days to feel overwhelmed by the noise coming at us from all sides.
“There’s the most common noise, of course, the noise of daily life—children in the flurry of their final weeks of the school year; ongoing COVID decisions – do I go? do I Zoom? Even the excitement (and additional noise) of trips to see family and friends.
“The ‘noise’ from our culture and society can feel even louder, more damaging, and more chaotic. We continue to see tragedy unfold on a daily basis and must consistently fight efforts by some to strip individuals of their rights, whether that be voting rights, reproductive rights, or the right to safety. Conversations around change feel heavily polarized and frankly, unhopeful.
As it goes in charged and difficult moments, we tend to reserve our energy for reaction more than listening. But, in times like these, it’s important to reground and try to center on what matters most. For me, that means remembering why I do this work and why listening is the at the core of it. Real listening, the kind that puts you squarely in someone else’s shoes, brings about greater understanding and empathy. We lack this right now and it shows, across our daily lives and our cultural lives.
“To get a little more concrete about listening, think about those comments we’ve each received in our feedback work that have truly stuck with us and allowed us to stand in someone else’s shoes. These moments remind us not to flee from the ‘noise’ or react to it in a knee-jerk way, but to stay centered and keep listening.”