Workshops—or gatherings— are an opportunity to go deeper into this listening work together. A combination of guided meditation and reflective writing, dyad and group exercises, facilitated listening circles and listening walks, and sometimes ceremony, we explore what’s possible when we become trustworthy listeners. I work closely with each institution, organization, business, and community to design a shared experience that will be of maximum service to everyone involved.
Listening is not the inevitable result of having ears that hear. Listening is, in fact, a philosophy, a practice, a way of perceiving and approaching reality applicable to all facets of life: the home and hearth, the workplace, and the inner terrain of mind and heart.
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, judgments, and tall tales about other people, about the world, and about ourselves. Without true 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, and then we interact based on that misperception, which often exacerbates disconnection or creates more suffering for everyone involved.
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 isn’t the path to freedom. It is itself an invisible prison—solitary confinement in one’s own head.
But domination has gone viral as the model for how to live our personal and professional lives in mainstream American society. Listening is a different model, both revolutionary and ancient. It’s a way of sensitizing ourselves to each fresh 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 witness reality as it arises and changes in ourselves and in others, 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?
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