Listening is not a natural function everyone is born with, nor is it a rare talent. It is, in fact, an artful skill that must be learned by committed practice. A spiritual and political technology, listening is an integral part of peacemaking and transformation at the personal and collective levels. It is the ever-present invitation to connect rather than sever, create rather than destroy.

What is listening?

Why don’t we listen?

What would change if we did?

What does it take to become a trustworthy listener?

WHAT IS IT?

The workshop is a place to explore the nuts and bolts of listening, and to then experience what’s possible with the ability and willingness to listen, and be listened to. Are you willing to be seen, in the truth of your vulnerability? Are you able to see another, in the truth of theirs? If not, why? How do we become trustworthy listeners for one another? Reliable allies? Devoted companions? Guided by a combination of storytelling, discussion, group exercises, and an exploratory listening walk, we gather together to better understand ourselves, each other, and the space between us through the lens of listening.

WHO’S IT FOR?

There is no one for whom the work of listening is not applicable and needed. My workshops are designed especially for:

 

  • Schools—faculty, administrators, staff, and students
    • Cultivating a community of inclusion, compassion, and respect
    • Finding unity amid a diversity of perspectives

 

  • Businesses—employers and employees
    • Team-building and leadership skills
    • Creating a respectful, supportive work environment

 

  • Community—spiritual groups, retreat centers, libraries
    • Truth and reconciliation work (healing racism, revolutionizing masculinity)
    • Healing and evolving the soul

TELL ME MORE

Without the ability to truly listen, we cannot truly connect. We live isolated in our own heads, an addicted and often unwitting audience to our mind’s private circus of assumptions and judgments about other people, about the world, and about ourselves. Without deep listening, we become desensitized to what’s actually happening in a given moment, and because we don’t hear what’s actually happening it’s much more difficult to respond in a skillful, compassionate way. Instead, we misperceive, or we take it personally, and then we interact based on that misperception or affront.

Without the willingness to listen, our interactions often occur on a foundation of conflict and competition. We’re trying to win, and by that very effort we lose, because the ultimate victory is connection, not acquisition. The path to domination and control isn’t the path to freedom. It is itself an invisible prison—solitary confinement in one’s own head.

A listening-based approach is a way of sensitizing ourselves to each moment—to wonder, to truth, to the insights hidden in plain sight. The intention is not to win, nor to get, nor to be right. It is to be with reality, in all its beauty and pain. To realize and embody our capacity to connect with all people. To rub down the existential callouses that deaden us to the magnificence and mystery of our own lives. It’s a path that leads back to the heart, the home where there’s no need to compete or posture, achieve or dominate, seek or strive—the home where peace lives.

If everyone knew how to listen, and listened first, what would this world look like? How would we treat each other? How would we treat ourselves?

KEEP LISTENING

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