Friday, November 28, 2008

Listening Generously - Rachel Remen

Speaking of Faith's show with Rachel Naomi Remen was rerun this week. Here is my review about the original interview again. It was so wonderful, at the time I proceeded immediately to listen to the full, unedited interview (download) and found in that one even more gems of thought.

Rachel Naomi Remen is a medical doctor who has discovered how much healing is different from curing and how it needs to involve listening, what she calls generous listening - let the patient talk as long as he needs. Apart from explaining how this works, she really delves into the essential roots of this and that is how we deal with loss, or alternately with the imperfections of our lives. That, of course, is more universal than just disease and dealing with being ill, or the illness of a close one.

What she insists is that we can have the good life, even if it doesn't seem perfect, easy, or in any way exemplary, heroic, successful or whatever grand goals we are taught to strive for. In her opinion we do not need to be perfect and the next step is even more important. What does it mean if we do not need to be perfect; it means our wounds, our imperfections, our failures and drawbacks are an integral part and we are still exactly what is needed. That is not just consoling (one should hope), but is also pulling us back to our own responsibility to actively live the life we live.

There is so much more to say. You must hear Remen explain the importance of stories, you must hear two specific stories. One of these stories involves the sponge cake and unfortunately it has been cut from the broadcast parts of the interview. Hence, listen to this podcast and also, please do, to the uncut interview.

More Speaking of Faith:
The Sunni-Shia Divide and the future of Islam,
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel,
Karen Armstrong,
Wangari Maathai,
Faith based diplomacy.

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