Three Steps to Mastering The Art of Loving and the Art of Birth Story Listening

Pam England

August 29, 2019

I dedicate today’s blog to the Birth Story Medicine students who completing eight weeks of Summer School (Parts II and III) tonight. Bernice, Aubrey, Megan, Sabrina, Donna, and the other students who audited the course.

As the summer semester came to a close, students considered their vocation as a birth story mentor and acknowledged areas of growth with a bit of humility and room to grow. Their intention to master the art of birth story mentoring brought to mind the patience and wisdom of Erich Fromm, author of The Art of Loving published in 1956; Fromm was a philosopher and psychoanalyst who outlined three steps necessary to mastering the art of loving, which I think applies to mastering the art of birth story listening:

“[Begin by becoming] aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, the art of medicine or engineering. What are the necessary steps in learning any art?

“The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into [three] parts: One, the mastery of the practice. If I want to learn the art of medicine, I must first know the facts about the human body and about various diseases. When I have all this theoretical knowledge, I am by no means competent in the art of medicine. [Second,] I shall become a master of this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one—my intention. [The] third factor necessary to master of any art . . . must be . . . that there be nothing more important than [mastering] the art.

“. . .Why [do] people in our culture try so rarely to learn [the art of loving or the art of listening], in spite of their obvious failures, in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered more important. . .: success, prestige, money, power—almost all of our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to the learning the art of loving.”

Birth Story Medicineis not only building a website and learning library, but together we are building an innovative community of pioneers, visionaries, researchers, tutors, writers, and stellar listeners and mentors. All of us welcome all of you into this community. Join us for Around the Campfires and continuing education. Get on Birth Story Medicine Facebookto receive new course announcements, blogs, and to stay in touch with other story-mentors.

With gratitude and appreciation to each student and student-facilitator who dedicated time learning the art of birth story mentoring during summer 2019 in the midst of kids home from school, vacations, camping, work, and whatnot. Now it’s time for s’more!


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