a new thing

Jun 20, 2018

When I am leading a session I often discourage those in the group from taking notes. Schools probably still teach that it is helpful to write while listening, but I’m not so sure.

At times I have encouraged students, if they have to have a pen in hand, to doodle while actively listening. While some might take up my suggestion for a while they usually return to default setting pretty quickly filling pages with words.

Most often these words do nothing more than duplicate the speaker’s script.

Recently on a weekend retreat one of the participants showed me the notes he had taken as I spoke. The theme of the retreat was “Behold I am doing a new thing, can you not perceive it.” Isaiah 43

His notes were mostly sketches he had drawn with a few key words added. While Robin’s drawings are impressive (the people present are easily recognisable in the drawings), I was most moved by the way he had not simply reproduced my words but related them to his own experience. This is a sure sign of active listening.

Robin is happy for me to share his work with you.

You can see more of Robin Hutton’s work at this Flickr link.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Fr John, very thought provoking, my current intentional practice is to avoid sinning until I at least exit the church following mass, and beyond if I can, I am constantly amazed at how hard that is without conscious effort! The more of an effort I make though the easier it becomes. Lord forgive me …

    Reply
  2. I find that drawing enables me to see my surroundings and the people I come into contact with in a very clear way. A visual summary of individual events that reminds me of the context of the talk or experience!

    Reply

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