Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Need to talk? Someone will listen

It was just last week when I felt I needed someone to talk to. However, I didn't want it as a baggage with a friend. And so I thought how nice it would be to have a stranger to talk to, someone caring enough to just listen and help me through some thoughts and issues. I googled for "free online counseling services" and found 7 Cups of Tea

It is not a counseling website per se but a community of trained active listeners-volunteers who offer an ear to anyone who needs one. It is a free service, unless you request for extras or if you need a certified therapist. 

I thought I'd give it a go and requested for a connection.  I was hooked up with a listener in just a couple of minutes. It started off slowly as I treaded carefully but it turned out to be a very pleasant conversation. The listener I had was a good one and he practiced emphatic listening. He did not advice or lead me along with his interest or questions but spent time helping me bring out my issues and even answer my own questions. It was an excellent way for me to have a good sounding board. And it's comforting that the connections are anonymous and all conversations are deleted. I just let it all out and then I move on. I need not worry about any follow-up conversations that would be necessary with a friend. 

I then signed on to be a listener myself and completed the online training and tests yesterday. I did the practice chat this morning and went ahead and got connected to a couple of people. It was not easy and I hoped I had been a good listener for them. And I will be praying for this one person from now on as well. 

Do check it out. You can try it and get connected to a listener for a start, especially if you have something that is nagging at you, or some things you need a fresh perspective on. And after that, think about how you could also be a listener too. 

I also wondered why it was called 7 Cups of Tea. It was named after a Chinese poem by Lu Tong. The poem is beautiful and fitting. It brings you seven cups of tea as seven levels of healing. It is like going into a deep connection while sitting down with someone and have that seven cups of tea. Beautiful, profound, brilliant. 

7 Cups of Tea, by Lu Tong (795 - 835 CE)
The first cup kisses away my thirst,
and my loneliness is quelled by the second.
The third gives insight worthy of ancient scrolls,
and the fourth exiles my troubles.
My body becomes lighter with the fifth,
and the sixth sends word from immortals.
But the seventh—oh the seventh cup—
if I drink you, a wind will hurry my wings
toward the sacred island.
Translated by Christopher Nelson



  1. Love the poem. Also love the idea of you listening to others.

  2. Yea, love that poem too. And thanks, but I am taking it slow. It does take a lot of time, but it's a good thing.