"Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless within another person."

— Rachel Naomi Remen

The deepest listening rarely involves speaking

I captured Dr. Remen's quote at the end of a coach training call last spring. It struck a chord that resonated even more deeply after I met Anita Moorjani at Omega a month later.

Anxiety can hang out like a homeless person, unattached and unsupported, wandering about in our minds, not knowing where to turn. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to land. Unmoored and tossed about in a storm of worried thought. How much better we feel when we share our concern with another who receives it with unconditional love and no judgment. When our worry finds safe harbor in a sacred, secure place in their heart. A sanctuary.

This truth hits home when we enter a crisis, especially one affecting our health. Anita's perspective on cancer care sends an arrow to the heart of this topic - the need to feel supported. To believe both in the care you receive and the caregivers who provide it. But equally important is that you retain your power in those relationships with respect to your health. That you love yourself unconditionally and not abdicate authority over your condition and course of treatment to those providing care and support. That you give yourself permission to make these calls.

Owning that can be a monumental task while anxiety remains homeless, wandering around inside you. If you relate to this, find sanctuary for your worry in someone you trust. One who can wrap your concerns in a blanket of love and lay it down to rest without judgment. One who supports you by honoring your power. Honoring your decisions. Honoring the wisdom that emerges as the unconditional love you have for yourself and one another brings peace and calm and clarity.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of that homeless guest, providing sanctuary for another's cares, revel in the gift it brings. My wife, Sarah, spent an afternoon with a dear friend in hospice care last summer. She welcomed Diane into her sanctuary, wrapped in their deep, abiding friendship and love. Diane passed soon after. I don't know if she had a homeless guest in need of safe harbor that day. But I do know this. If she did, it was there, and Sarah received at least as much as she gave.