Welcome to the final day of our seven-day practice in which we expand our capacity to listen. We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Read the practice below and carry the invitation with you through your day. You may find it meaningful to explore the practice in the moment, and we encourage you to integrate it into your daily life as you explore the question: What happens when I make myself fully available to listen within and around me?
“Listening is the oldest and perhaps the most powerful tool of healing. It is often through the quality of our listening and not the wisdom of our words that we are able to effect the most profound changes in the people around us. When we listen we offer sanctuary for the homeless parts within the other person. That which has been denied, unloved, devalued by themselves and others. That which is hidden. When you listen generously to people, they can hear the truth in themselves often for the first time.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen
Whole-bodied, open-hearted listening offers us an experience of grateful living in which our appreciative presence connects and transforms. Carrying this receptivity into the situations that unfold in your life, how does your experience change? Explore listening as an act of care, grounded in the capacity for presence and connection cultivated through the previous days of practice. How does your availability to life support you in showing up for others and the world as a whole?
Our world is in a period of profound change, and we’re being invited into different, more expansive ways of being, attending, and healing. The voices of our cities, our households, our neighbors, our flora and fauna, and the Earth are changing. So too are the voices of our hearts. What is being said? What is being asked of us? Learning to listen more fully – and more gratefully – allows us to respond to any given moment and the changes before us in the freshest, most imaginative, most deeply sourced ways. What new possibilities – for yourself, others, and our world – are awakened as you lean in to truly listen?
Deepening the Practice
Margaret Wheatley’s Listening As Healing, written immediately following 9/11, draws on stories of radical listening — from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation hearings to a classroom teacher stopping to listen to an angry student — to remind us of listening’s extraordinary capacity to heal.
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An eight-day practice inspired by Br. David Steindl-Rast’s appreciation of haiku.
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