Please enjoy this post from my friend Brittani Morris (you can learn a little more about her at the end of this post). Brittani is a compassionate and nurturing counselor and coach who practices what she preaches in this post. She’s a great listener, and I encourage you to consider taking her tips to heart.
Recently I received the blessing of becoming a mom. I’m also a newly professionally trained life coach. Both roles encompass skills that I have used for years: nurturing, supporting, listening, asking questions, and others. I value people and love to care for and serve people deeply.
In the hospital I met several incredibly skilled and kind nurses who advised me about caring for our new baby. One nurse, Patty, taught me that babies will have growth spurts and will engage in “cluster feeding.” Essentially, they need milk more often to keep up with their fast-growing bodies. This gem of truth got tucked away in the treasure chest of information that I took home, all teary-eyed and awed.
Once home, we quickly began to recognize our daughter’s hunger signals. Newborns typically show their hunger by “rooting” or crying. One early morning, after being up with her for close to an hour burping and feeding, in my exhaustion I concluded, “She has to be full. It must be something else.” After several minutes of more crying, my husband reminded me that she might be “cluster feeding,” as all the signals indicated she wanted more milk and not another bird noise, shhh sound, or bouncy walk. His words breathed new life into my bleary-eyed and exhausted state. I had been convinced that three rounds of feeding had to be enough. I was ignoring her needs. I had stopped paying attention to what she was telling me. Once I took Tim’s cue and fed our crying baby again, she quieted and went back to sleep.
The life lesson from that night touched my heart. When do I find myself ignoring people? How well am I paying attention to others? This familiar concept came to me in a fresh way and reminded me to pay close attention and listen.
In our marriage we experience deep levels of connection when we listen to each other. For more than five years, Tim and I have practiced asking each other one simple question: ”How’s your heart?” We then take turns sharing what’s on our hearts.
In the beginning, we used a helpful acronym to get things rolling: S.A.S.H.E.T. (Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, Tender). This was a launching pad for tuning into our hearts and a framework for sharing and listening to one another. I might say, “My heart is tender and happy. I’m tender because one of my clients is struggling in her marriage and it breaks my heart. I’m happy because I had a great time with the Lord this morning and it refreshed my soul.” We will then reflect to each other what we heard each other say. Tim might say, “Sounds like you really care for your hurting client and you loved your quiet time with the Lord.” It’s a simple and powerful practice that can be done in the car, at a meal, on a walk, in bed–anywhere!
How might listening and taking time to SASHET together impact your marriage? friendships? family?
A certified life coach and professional counselor, Brittani Morris empowers parents to live with purpose. She loves adventuring through life with her loving husband, Tim, and their joyful baby, Phlox.
© 2016 Amy Simpson.