Val Walker came to Kennebooks to talk about her new book The Art of Comforting. This author’s talk started off feeling like a course in sociology, as
she described different models of counseling (companioning, relational….), but then it quickly became more personal, as she related some examples of comforting from occasions in her own life when she’d needed it.
She explored the question of what it means when someone says they are “there for you”, and what that shape that might take as a comforting act for another. Sometimes, just sitting with someone and letting them “feel their feelings” is all that is required.
Val thinks that to be an effective comforter, one must “let go of the outcome” (this phrase will be familiar to you yogis out there :)). One will not always know if her comforting efforts have been helpful, and it is not necessary to know. The fact that effort was made is enough.
After the talk, Val offered to take questions from the audience, however it was a rainy night, and many of those present had traveled a fair distance to see her, and they were anxious to head home, so she graciously changed course and immediately proceeded to signing books.
As a side note, Kennebooks always puts put coffee (the coffee is good!) and cookies (the cookies are good too!) for all of their book signings, as well as water and tea. They are always enjoyable and who knows? You may even learn something new!