A woman has found a unique way to help us listen to each other and combat loneliness.
When you’re lonely, what is the one thing you need from the people around you? Loneliness has become so common in our society that we sometimes can’t see a simple remedy that has become far too rare: listening. In modern society, we are encouraged to make ourselves heard, to speak up, to use our voices … but when was the last time we were encouraged to listen and take in another’s experience or perspective?
In response to this problem, Tracy Rugel has founded a listening project to bring the human capacity for listening to the streets. Standing on sidewalk corners, she and her colleagues invite passersby to sit down and be listened to.
“The human animal is a hurting animal,” Rugel says. “We are meant to be in contact with each other. We offer human connection on city sidewalks to give people a platform to find balance in themselves.”
In launching this project, Rugel hopes to take our responsibility to each other as humans more seriously. “Our entire sense of self is developed in relationship. That’s a big, big deal.” This an initiative that every person can implement in their personal life to bring healing to ourselves and others — to practice listening with an open heart.
“Free Listening”: The art of listening