Ruth McDonald was at Memorial Square downtown Barrie May 15 with a listening post for anyone who needed to talk to someone. She has started a project at the David Busby Street Centre as well. - Janis Ramsay/Torstar
There is a skill to being a good listener. And Ruth McDonald believes people are looking for an ear to bend, so she hosted a pop-up listening post in Barrie. “We believe people have a lot on their hearts — and we want to be there to listen to them,” McDonald said. “It’s about being heard without someone trying to correct us or judge. It’s about being present.” McDonald, along with friends Colin MacDonald and Elizabeth Morley, were at Meridian Place May 15 with signs that read "free listening."
Shortly after McDonald set up her post, Kathie Leece walked by. “Listening should always be free,” Leece said. She went on to talk about some of her life events in Guatemala and how she’s hopeful for her future. She liked the concept. “I think my son would be relieved I was talking to somebody else. He thinks I tend to babble on,” Leece said. Trained as a spiritual director, McDonald modelled the pop-up listening post after the urban confessional in Los Angeles. She has also started a listening post at the David Busby Street Centre on Thursday mornings. “Listening is about understanding what the person is saying, not to suggest or imply they need to do something about it.”
by Janis Ramsay
Ontario Morning CBC Radio 1
June 12, 2019 Interviewer: Haydn Watters So much care, intention and nurturing has gone into the Listening Post Barrie... the generosity of the former Living Waters Presbytery, the leadership at Burton Avenue United Church, the Busby Centre in Barrie, the directors and leaders of Listening Posts in Anchorage and Vancouver, Barrie's Ward 2 Councillor, volunteers at the Listening Post in Barrie and those who listen with me. With heartfelt thanks Ruth McDonald This is a recording from CBC of the Listening Post segment from Ontario Morning of June 12, 2019