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

Workshops for small groups in which we explore a set of behaviours and practices that promote deep listening and original thinking, improve communication, and further cooperation and collaboration. When these behaviours are adopted as a way of being, they foster safety and trust, elicit people’s authentic selves, and  develops open-mindedness. These workshops can be co-created with you to meet the particular needs of your group.

The central practice we cultivate – since none of the others are effective without it – is generative attention – a quality of deep listening that enables us to see others and let them be, face what we need to face, and receive the information that comes to us from life all around us and within us. Attention of this calibre is a creative force – it invites us to view ourselves and our world through new eyes. What emerges within an open listening space is often surprising, different from anything we could have predicted or come up with on our own.

Principles and practices we cultivate:

 ❧ 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

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

 ❧ listening to our hearts as well as our minds; integrating our deepest heart-felt experiences with our insights and ideas and having them infuse whatever we do

 examining our attitudes and assumptions and identifying the ones that keep us re-enacting outworn, limiting patterns; “are you sure?”

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

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

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

freely sharing information; prioritising relationships and meaning over concrete outcomes

cultivating curiosity; expecting the unexpected; being willing to make mistakes

 weaving time outdoors, periods of solitude and silent reflection, music, imagery, poetry, creative writing/reflective journaling into the process

following what feels vital and freeing; releasing joy; celebrating

“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

See and A special thank you to Hilary Hart and to Justine Huxley