Is it advice you seek?
Years ago a friend would phone me and open the conversation with “Row, I need your advice.” I would listen as he told me about whatever was troubling him. When he had finished I would share my best advice with him. Over time I wondered and even became frustrated at times; why would he call for advice he rarely followed? Finally I think I understand, he called because he needed somebody to listen. Our shared history had told him I was good at listening, but neither of us had the experience at the time to understand what he really wanted. So instead of calling and saying “Can you hear me? I need someone to listen.” we engaged in a facsimile which was limited in how helpful it could really be. When someone is willing to really listen, when someone is willing be present with us in our tears, when someone is able to ask us the kind of questions that help us see ourselves more clearly and discover our own answers, it can be more helpful than reams of the best advice. This can be uncomfortable space to be in. Yet each time we sit with someone allowing them to be without trying to fix, allowing ourselves to feel any discomfort that arises within us; we both become stronger. When we gather for stories we can rest safe knowing any advice that needs to be had can be discovered through the story by those ready to hear it. That frees us up to listen, to be present with each other, to feel our own feelings and to begin to heal.