My story of “listening for life” started at three. After I couldn’t hear my mother’s friend on the telephone, I was diagnosed with total deafness in my right ear. It was a humble beginning with silence as my first teacher.

Over time, my senses adapted. Audiological exams showed that my left “good” ear, as it came to be known, tested off the charts. I never experienced my right “bad” ear as a drawback or loss. 

Instead, it appeared as a gain. It leaned me toward inclusion and creativity and was an absolute foreshadow in discovering that the opposite is always hidden in what appears at the surface.

I was a strong auditory learner in school, rarely taking notes. I absorbed information through my “good” ear and through a growing empathic sensitivity, with which I’d feel data that most others took in through two functioning ears.

As an adult, I became a kind of barometer in various circles: professional leadership meetings, my graduate school cohort, mediator training, and spiritual gatherings. I was especially a gauge for what others around me felt but failed to express. Often, I heard a secondary narrative running beneath the bubble and babble of conversation, as if it were an underground river flowing downstream from its Source.

My draw to the spiritual mysteries of life led me many places, ultimately to become a student and later senior faculty with an international school of neo-shamanism which focused on healing and the practices of shifting perception.The teachings, with roots in the wisdom traditions of the Andes, were adapted (like my good ear) into North American contemporary culture by one of my teachers, with the blessing of his mentor who lived in a village at high elevation in Peru, and was one of the last voices of a dying culture with an ancient history. 

Throughout this time, I used — or was assigned by others — labels I’ve come to set aside as more limiting than expansive: healer, shaman, coach, and counselor. The degrees I’ve earned, my professional experience, and other prized accomplishments no longer hold the importance they once did, though I am deeply grateful for their influence. 

I’ve found they distract from what is present now: living with the simple joys and unavoidable pain of being human. These deliver all that can and can’t be known about the flow of life force and its Source. 

This story ABOUT ME is the best description I can offer of who I am. Still, it falls short. 

For without YOU and YOUR story, the one ABOUT ME will never feel enough. Our unique perspectives build the fullness of life together…as individual feathers do to create a great plume of beauty! 

I’m grateful for the privilege to “listen for life” in your ABOUT ME story as we explore the good and the bad and what lies within and beyond it on your path to live life in your fullest expression! 

I’m excited to explore these stories, and the language of their primary Source, as the word listen contains the same letters as silent.


Pat Heavren

The Approach Contact/Fees Gathering Center