Charu Eliza Hermsdorf
COMMUNICATION - From Knowing to not Knowing
Communication, what a vast field to explore, what an endless challenge, what a well of infinite surprise and fascination.
Communication, what a vast field to explore, what an endless challenge, what a well of infinite surprise and fascination. For a long time I would have considered myself a very communicative person. I find great pleasure in speaking, chatting, entertaining and there are few things, that do not interest me. I can pretty much speak to anyone, about anything. I get fascinated and intrigued, amazed by the endless thoughts we produce and how very different we are in where we take them, or they take us.
I love to offer my opinion and also very much enjoy an argument. Once these become emotional, they easily escalate and cause unintended pain and damage. I learned that there is a fine line between honesty and offence and it is a blurry one to me. I realised that most of my communication is based on the intention of maintaining harmony. I do not like to be challenged in my beliefs, my morals and ideals and I seek not to challenge others. My communication is based on ideas and assumptions I have about other peoples ideals, morals and beliefs, this leads to me knowing which subjects are safe and which will cause an argument or a conflict. I often experienced that I felt something I wanted to say or do and became endlessly tangled up in wanting to please, wanting to be loved, wanting to be accepted, wanting to be included. I might have felt something very strongly, but it was impossible to not consider the reaction from the outside. With endless assumptions, based on worries and fears, I could talk myself into a more pleasing, a more adequate, a more acceptable position, that usually sat so uncomfortably with me, that I just tried to disappear until the situation passed, became depressed or aggressive and full of endless doubt and absolute confusion. I have caused much pain and also suffered much from miscommunication and it has made me eager to learn more, to understand deeper and to find a place in which I can be me and communicate at the same time. My main point of focus has become: Clarity. Finding it in myself and then trying to communicate it to the outside. Finding clarity in myself is not so much the issue, much more finding the courage to put it out, without watering it down and somehow making it rounder and softer, adding more adjectives and ultimately more confusion to deviate from the crystal clear No or Yes. The more I practice, the more clarity I find, the more I learn to accept not only me but everything, simply the way it is. I experience that clarity is usually not challenged. It is the closest thing to neutrality that I have experienced. It seems to offer no loose ends to become entangled in. It seems not to offend. It can feel harsh to some, like a light can simply be to bright, but who takes that personally? The more I try to please, the more power I give away and even worse, the more power I take away. In my assumptions of considering the other, I also imply, that I know better than the other, or that the other does not have the strength or power to tell me otherwise or will simply let me know what her or she needs or wants. This now leads to the other main subject of communication, which is listening.This ability does not only require ears, it requires a disposition in the heart that is reflected in the body, in the eyes and in the voice. It requires a space, an emptiness in the listener, in which she is not. In this emptiness there is no right or wrong, no action plan, no potential for optimisation, no solution. There is a matter of fact like acceptance of the situation as it is being experienced, so clear that it stands for itself, and there is heart. Heart to feel compassion, pain, joy, grief, anxiety, worry, anger, rage, despair, hope and longing. What if I offered myself simply as a mirror, reflecting everything I hear and understand back to the one that is sharing with me? What if I suppose, that what is being shared with me is not about me and that no advice that I have is of any use to the person sharing? What if I believed, that all the answers, all the solutions, lie with the one seeking. What if my only job is, to enable the other, to allow them to appear? What if I was not in any way attached to the solution the other finds for him/herself? It has been my great pleasure to discover, to train and continue to train this form of communication in becoming a mediator and conflict counsellor. The work allows me to shift my awareness and the ongoing practice is changing my life, my relationships and my take on the world we have created and are creating. Detaching from the fundamental idea of right and wrong and continuously moving from knowing into simply not knowing is making my life more complex and intricate and it has lead me to a well of curiosity and compassion. With love Charu Eliza Hermsdorf