Listening Is An Act Of Love

Elaine M. Bourne

Elaine M. Bourne

Sunday Message by Guest Speaker Elaine Bourne —

Elaine M. Bourne is Director of the Community Mediation Services Program (CMS) of Volunteers of America, Northern New England (VOANNE); a state-wide program designed to transform conflict and preserve relationships. She is an experienced mediator, facilitator and conflict resolution trainer and consultant. She leads a diverse team of individuals providing mediation services for members of the agricultural community, veterans and military families and a full-range of community-based conflict resolution services, training programs and skill-building sessions.

Elaine is a member of the Board of Governors of the Maine Association of Mediators and is active with other organizations, including the Beginning Farmers Resources Network Council in Maine. Prior to joining VOANNE, Elaine worked for more than 15 years with law students, developing extensive experience, and a national reputation, as a leader in legal education administration – student services, including admissions and career development. Institutions she was associated with include the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Boston University School of Law, and the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. She holds a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a B.A. from Eisenhower College of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey

Happy Valentine’s to you… God loves you and so do I!

This Sunday is our Annual Meeting and everyone is invited. It is a time for us as a community to come together and discuss the health and support the mission of Unity of Greater Portland as we look at the past year and the way forward. Your voice and presence are important to us – it takes all of us to make this community.

This past Sunday we had as a guest speaker, Elaine Bourne, a trained mediator with Volunteers of America. She shared the importance of listening and good communication skills. Did you know that the very same letters are found in “listen” and “silent”? It stands to reason then we must be silent in order to listen. Listening is both a skill and art that many of us have not learned very well. If you are anything like me, you are formulating a response rather than being fully present. This doesn’t happen in every interaction; however, it is pretty common. Multitasking is another deterrent from being fully present. I am watching myself as I am typing this that I am also half listening to a comment from Rev LeRoy. I can just imagine that you might do the same thing.

In her talk, Elaine showed a slide that broke down the components of the Chinese symbol for listening. The symbol for that one word is comprised of symbols for ears (to hear), heart (to feel), eyes (to see), mind (to think), and undivided attention (to focus). This demonstrates the complexity and richness of good listening.

Elaine gave great tips on better communication skills which everyone of us can benefit from.

I will leave you with this quote, and look forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting on Sunday.

“We should all know this: that listening, not talking, is the gifted and great role, and the imaginative role. And the true listener is much more beloved, magnetic than the talker, and he is more effective and learns more and does more good. And so, try listening. Listen to your wife, your husband, your father, your mother, your children, your friends; to those who love you and those who don’t, to those who bore you, to your enemies. It will work a small miracle. And perhaps a great one.” — Brenda Ueland

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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