Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Creative Listening

By Richard P. Holm MD

We all know people who are never happy. Contrast those with individuals who almost always seem interested, satisfied, and enjoying life. What is it that makes the difference? 

Numerous studies have shown that people find self-fulfillment when they have strong social support, sense a spiritual meaning to life, and last but not least, are able to find time to be physically and creatively active. I think it's that creative element for many that is so elusive.

Obviously we would all be better and happier if we allowed for our creative parts to come out, but how does one do that in a loud and cacophonous world? All the noise out there makes it difficult to create music of our own. I would submit that true creativity begins not with making more clamor, but with very concentrated listening. For example, the improvisational jazz sax is best when played in sync with piano and base.

As a med student I had a physician teacher, he was a cancer specialist, who taught by example on how to find fulfillment by creatively approaching patients with ears wide open, listening with all concentration. He was known as one who could perceive the nuance, the hidden pain, the color of the mood, sensing the broken heart& He said the creative person is one that is open-minded and listens.

I remember learning about his reputation as a true healer, one who creatively found a way to bring the patient back to health relying not only on the knowledge of medicine but also of human nature. He had the capacity and confidence to know when to cure, and when to move to comfort, to let go, to sing the lullaby&

Whatever job or talents we possess, each of our lives could be so full and balanced if we learned to let go of unneeded and rigid rules and fears, opened our minds, and creatively listened, truly listened with all of our might.

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