It makes me wonder, though, how often or not we put ourselves into the psyches of other humans – our spouses, friends, random people we meet during the day. You know I was a counselor for many years and I did this all the time, just part of a day’s work, without realizing the importance of this exercise. To get into the head of a student who was struggling and articulate the root of the struggle, to understand what the student was experiencing--whether it was a personal issue like failing a test, or parents who didn’t understand them, or friends/lovers who were deceitful and hurtful--that's what I mean. Sometimes the issues were more serious, criminal even, which required a heroic effort to “turn it off” when I left my office for the day after I did all I could to rectify the situation.
The lesson for me was to stop thinking my thoughts and just sit for a moment in the other person’s world. To go there with them. To feel with them. To listen to them. Most of the time we can’t fix the problem, since it’s not our problem. Or as John Travolta says in the movie, Michael, “It’s not my area.”
Sometimes, though, listening, bearing witness to another’s pain is quite enough. When problems rolling around in the head can be heard by another person, it gives the person with the struggle the strength or permission to come up with a solution. And I discovered, they often do.
So, back to my symbiosis with Dundee… Wish me luck. “Woof!”