Kindness 2020 challenge - Blog 5

11th September 2020

Free Listening in Liverpool - 0 miles completed, 4 people listened to. Breakfast consisted of waffles with compote and thick yogurt, bowl of Alpen (other muesli is available but not at the Hilton on the 11thSeptember 2020), four slices of toast, a fried breakfast (2 sausage 2 bacon tomatoes and hash browns), two hot chocolates, an orange juice

I got some other work completed in the morning after breakfast but wasn't fully focused until I headed to Liverpool to do some free listening.

My friend Jo came, now let me tell you about Jo. She is the one you want on your team, she is a doer, a chatter, a listener and has an innate ability to know things before they happen. I can only imagine her Emotional Intelligence score would be through the roof. I am honoured to call her a friend and to be supported by her in this funny old journey called life.

Now I was curious how Jo would get on with 'free listening', she can talk even more than me. However people are drawn to her and that was exactly what happened. She was rarely alone as she held up her piece of cardboard with 'Free listening' scrawled across it in the black sharpie. A signature of the social movement 'Urban confessional'.

(Side note.......Urban confessional was set up by Ben Mathes and it has a story of how it evolved into a global movement. I was fortunate enough to interview Ben for my Culture of Kindness podcast and its really one to listen to

I had decided to do Free Listening in Liverpool because it I liked how the Ls sounded together. I had never been into the city of Liverpool and was curious to the outcome. Listening and giving someone time is the ultimate in kindness, it is simple, free but not always easy. There is a fear that comes for most with putting yourself out there to be kind because when kindness is your focus you suddenly become acutely aware of the people around you in your space.

I saw the homeless man with odd shoes looking like he was just about holding on to life. The ex forces guy looking for work that I didn't get back to to speak to before he had moved on; something I will think about a lot over my life no doubt. The high fashion females and the workmen. Those fearful and those confident about being outside with the current pandemic. The variety was glaringly obvious but if I had been in my own world, watching my phone, consumed by my own thoughts or worries all of it would have passed me by with no awareness.

I had a lady come up to me ask me what I was doing. She talked and I listened. If I was to share what was said it would feel a breach of trust. She did however in one part say that there were some things she couldn't talk about because she would walk away in tears even after all these years.

We are effected by things and in so many ways it is all our jobs to understand what it is like to stand in the shoes of someone else. She didn't share that particular story but I knew enough to know that there was a deep rooted pain. That awareness is key for our ability to co exist and ultimately be kind.

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