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I listen to people for a living. When you boil it down to the basics, then main thing I do is listen. People come to me when they are unhappy, frustrated in relationships, or suffering with symptoms of depression and anxiety. I listen so that I can pick up on what is “out of tune” in their thoughts, feelings and actions and help them learn how to adjust those things. The most effective tool I can teach a client is to listen to themselves in a different way (to develop selfawareness) so that they don’t end up the same mistakes over and over again and expecting a different outcome (which is the definition of insanity). We are all a little “insane” because we all tend to act, think and feel in predictable ways and most of us aren’t even aware of it! When clients come in for their first session, they are often very focused on someone in their life that is “causing them suffering”. It may be a spouse (or ex), rebellious teen, parent, sibling,
friend, coworker or boss who is doing and saying things that are upsetting to the client. I listen, then I ask them about their thoughts, feelings reactions. I usually draw the cycle on paper... “They do this, then you do this and then they do this and so on”... Then I ask them if I got it right or if I missed anything. They look at it and say, “Yes, that’s right!” Usually, by the time they have come to me, they have told this story over and over again and they feel very
sure that they are “right” and the other person is “wrong” and they are often coming to me looking for validation because they feel like that will make them feel better. I communicate empathy for my clients feelings and circumstances whether they are “right”or “wrong” and sometimes I actually agree with them. However, I’ve learned that simply tuning to another person’s way of thinking (especially when they are upset) only adds fuel to a fire and my job is
to help put out the fire, to repair damage caused by the trauma and relationships so they can have relief of symptoms and heal. So I listen in a different way, teach them to listen THEIR OWN lives, looking at things in a different way, which often results in them feeling better and making changes in how they react to the circumstance or person who was “the problem”. I call this process “tuning in” because I play guitar and the process is strikingly similar. I’ve
learned that if I want to play with someone else, I always have to tune my guitar first (using a tuner bc I don’t have perfect pitch). I check each string adjusting what is out of tune before playing with others, because when you play with someone else, it is obvious when you are out of tune and it sounds terrible, dissonant, hard to listen to. When two people are playing at the same time, it is hard to tell who is out of tune. Tuners are really important, they show you just how close or far away you are from the note so you can make adjustments, otherwise I guess you could just tune your guitar to the other person’s guitar, but if their guitar is out of tune, it is still going to sound off! So in order to play well with others and sound our best, the first step is
listening, then adjusting what is out of tune.

I’ve been trying to apply this concept as I look at our world today, why does it seems like we are all so out of tune? I think it is because we tend to hang out with people who are out of tune in the same way we are. Rather than picking up a tuner and checking to see if we need to make adjustments, we just tune to those around us. One group is playing flat, pointing to the other group who is playing sharp and everyone is accusing the the other of being out of tune! When in fact, everyone is playing out of tune! This is how I feel when I watch the news lately, it seems like we turn to the channel that is in tune with the way we think, or in other words, out of tune in the same way we are, just adding fuel to the fire. I’m thinking...”Would someone please just show up with a tuner for both sides so we can play a song together rather than making so much noise!”

I see myself as a tuner, not because I have the “right”answers but because I help people to turn down the noise and listen to the deeper internal wisdom that is inside. It is there, within each of us if we listen. I teach people to sense what feeling “out of tune” is like and learn to “tune in” to who they are (discovering their own unique gifts and talents), and what they believe (independent of others) so they can set goals that are in alignment with what is inside. When we are in tune, it helps us to perform better at life, finding meaning, purpose and passion. It improves relationships and well being enabling us to be the best version of ourselves. The purpose of tuning in is to discover your gifts and talents, have the courage to develop them, and share them with the world! What good is a tuned guitar if it is never played? We tune so we can play our own unique song, we “tune in” so we can “shine out”!