“The marks of wildness are a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.” Robert Bly
Now and then, when there’s a need, I facilitate gatherings for those of us longing to reconnect – to restore our relationships with ourselves, each other, Earth, and all life. We come together to ground ourselves in gratitude, and to honour our pain and longing as an expression of the pain of the world, of our connection to the whole of life, and as a way to release powerful energy for change. We support and encourage one another to live from the heart, to nourish and sustain life’s sacredness through our appreciation, love and care. We pause, breathe, watch, listen, taste and touch – and rediscover the joy of simple things.
”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
Gatherings can be co-created with you to meet the particular needs of your group. Whatever our focus, the invitation is always to start paying careful attention: to listen deeply with an open heart and mind, a willingness to be changed by what we hear, and the courage to sense into and welcome what’s wanting to come alive in and through us. We work with silence, reflective questions and a few simple practices in a spiral process that helps us to be honest with ourselves, frees us to hear, see and be with others, and reminds us of our natural interrelatedness with our world, our real place of belonging within the circle of life.
“We are invited each day to slow down and listen. But why listen at all? Because listening is the doorway to everything that matters. We listen to awaken our heart. We do this to stay vital and alive. This is the work of reverence: to stay vital and alive by listening deeply.” Mark Nepo
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 creative act, a sacred art. It’s a way to “make our relations with the world sacred again”.
“Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it’s going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts.” Joanna Macy
We explore a few practices that can help us experience deep, embodied connection and reawaken our sense of life’s sacredness: simplicity, breathing, walking, food, beauty, imagination, community, prayer and awareness of death.
Here are some principles that will facilitate our time together:
❧ co-creating a non-hierarchical space; giving equal turns and attention; taking time to build safety and trust
❧ welcoming diverse identities and perspectives; speaking for ourselves (“I” not “we” or “they”), drawing on our own life experiences and avoiding generalisations
❧ 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; listening to life
❧ 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
❧ consciously inviting in a dimension beyond ourselves through a shared intention to do so (insert whatever language you use for That/ the spirit/ life-force/ creative power/ divinity/ energy/ mystery at the core of life)
❧ cultivating the unifying energies available to us through our heart centre, such as kindness, empathy, generosity, respect, reverence, patience, trust and love; 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 clarifying and liberating 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