LP is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic. As of today, 3/12, we are pausing from our regular service of listening in all of our 8 sites, and postponing the opening of our site at Providence. We will take one month off at all sites to model our care and concern for our local community, the global community, as well as to practice self-care.
Social distancing is needed in order to minimize the spread of Coronavirus. Our service of heartful listening has been the opposite direction by making room for deep contact, so the LP response to Coronavirus may tug at our heartstrings. Still, pausing in our regular service is a form of listening to the needs of the greater community. If you are interested in learning more about how social distancing can be important to help slow down this pandemic here is a link to a helpful and simple to access NY Times piece on the subject: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/science/coronavirus-curve-mitigation-infection.html
Listening is as important as ever. During this month of stepping back from our regular service, we will have plenty of opportunities to listen – dedicated though informal listening. Three new volunteers took our introductory training just last night – whether you are brand new to the LP or have been serving for years already, please know that our listening hearts will be called upon during this time of need. There may be many ways we find ourselves listening during our month-long pause from formal service. Listening to family and friends – always an opportunity regardless of what else is happening – may even come into clearer focus during this time.
I am reminded of a story that has sung to my heart for years. An acquaintance who is a professional photographer told me that when he first took up a camera, he became enthralled with technique. He became a serious student of the camera and other equipment used in the profession of photography. But at some point early on he realized that knowing how to use the camera was not the same thing as learning to see. If he was going to be a good photographer he needed to see, and see clearly, the world around him. Upon recognizing this he did something very dramatic. He put his camera down. He left his familiar surroundings and relocated. In a place that was foreign to him (he actually did go to another country) he allowed himself to pay attention to the obvious and the nuanced world around him. He spent 5 years doing this and during those 5 years he didn’t pick up a camera once. Many years and many photography awards later, he attributed his gifts as a photographer to the years he spent ‘just seeing.’
Of course I share this with you as a form of support for ‘just listening’ even though we will be stepping down from our regular shifts until 4/12/2020. Support for practicing listening will not be interrupted – these weekly letters will continue. And our Volunteers’ Monthly Meeting will still be held – with one significant change: we will meet via Zoom video conferencing (if you’ve never used this form of video conferencing, worry not – I’ll send instructions in advance of the meeting. Zoom is very simple to use!). We will still gather as a group of committed listeners to debrief and practice listening skills from the comfort and safety of our own homes through Zoom on Tuesday, March 24th, beginning at 6pm. Our meeting will end at, or before, 8pm.
This has been a very difficult decision. Thank you for your understanding and, as always, thank you for your listening hearts,
Avie & Susan