Gatherings

Andy Goldsworthy
Andy Goldsworthy

Listening as a practice, an approach, a natural responsiveness to life, is an incredible opportunity, because we’re living in a time marked by separation and disconnection and disharmony and discord, and listening connects and re-connects and deepens and unifies, on so many levels.” Hilary Hart

Facilitated gatherings for those of us wanting to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other, Earth, and all life. Gatherings can be co-created with you to meet the particular needs of your group. Whatever the focus, the invitation is always to start paying careful attention: to listen deeply with an open heart and mind, an intention to hear and receive, and the courage to welcome whatever’s wanting to come alive in and through us.

We ground ourselves in gratitude. We spend time outdoors, together and in solitude, deepening our own genuine relationship with Earth and the myriad forms of life we share a home with. We honour our pain and longing as an expression of the pain of the world and our connection to the whole of life – and as a way to release powerful energy for change. We explore simple practices that remind us of our natural interrelatedness with our world. We share our experiences, and support and encourage one another as we sense into new ways of nourishing and sustaining life through acts of appreciation, love and care. In our time together, we choose to slow down, breathe, listen, watch, taste and touch – and rediscover the joy of simple things.

Throughout, we honour the power of silence and deep listening – doorways to presence. Spending time in silence opens us to mystery, to the infinite potential within ourselves and within life, and can reconnect us to a fountain of joy and creative life-force. It creates space for, invites in, and nurtures what’s wanting to be born. What emerges when we really listen is often surprising, different from anything we could have predicted or come up with on our own. Listening is a way to “make our relations with the world sacred again”.

“We must honor that listening is a personal pilgrimage that takes time and a willingness to circle back. With each trouble that stalls us and each wonder that lifts us, we are asked to put down our conclusions and feel and think anew. Unpredictable as life itself, the practice of listening is one of the most mysterious, luminous, and challenging art forms on Earth.” Mark Nepo

Practices that can return us to an embodied experience of life’s sacred wholeness: simplicity, breathing, walking, food, beauty, imagination, community, prayer and awareness of death.

Principles that facilitate our time together:

 ❧ co-creating a non-hierarchical space; giving equal turns and attention; taking time to build safety and trust

listening with genuine interest, respect, encouragement, and appreciation – and without interruption

 trusting silence; not over-talking things; holding a space in which what lies between us, beyond and beneath our words, ideas and plans, can be included

 ❧ listening to our hearts and our bodies, as well as our minds; listening on a gut level; listening to intuition; listening to longing; listening to dreams; listening to each other, and to life all around us

welcoming diverse identities and perspectives; speaking for ourselves (“I” not “we” or “they”), drawing on our own life experiences and avoiding generalisations

 fostering an inner and outer sense of spaciousness and ease; resisting the urge to rush or to push; allowing each step of the process to reveal itself and gently nurturing whatever emerges; being patient

 ❧ cultivating attitudes that keep us open and receptive, like kindness, generosity, empathy, reverence, and trust; integrating our deepest heart-felt experiences with our insights and ideas and having them infuse whatever we do

remembering that energy follows intention – what we put our energy into is what we’re creating; noticing what we’re focusing on, listening to, and listening for

adopting an attitude of ‘not-knowing’; letting go of being an expert; staying open and humble

asking responsive, discerning, insightful questions; examining our attitudes and assumptions and identifying the ones that keep us re-enacting outworn, limiting patterns

 weaving meditation, prayer, music, imagery, poetry, creative writing/reflective journaling into the process

freely sharing information; prioritising relationships and meaning over concrete outcomes

❧ expecting the unexpected; being willing to make mistakes

following what feels vital, playful and freeing; releasing joy; celebrating

“Silence will do the work.”

See http://www.workingwithoneness.org and http://www.spiritualecology.org. A special thank you to Hilary Hart http://www.hilaryhart.org and to Justine Huxley http://www.stethelburgas.org