Focused Listening Sessions

CoCreating Community's vision of a more beautiful world begins with mending social structures that have been stressed and broken. Like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, we can repair social fractures with the "gold" of heart-centered connection and, like the artwork, emerge with restored strength and added beauty. To cultivate repair and peace within our human family, we begin with ourselves.

Healing from the impact of polarizing issues witnessed in society today can begin by Being Heard: Focused Listening Sessions held in safe spaces.

BEING HEARD: Focused Listening Sessions

This is our newest initiative. We hope it will inspire you to take similar action in your community.  In recent years communities across the globe have experienced extreme polarization over a wide variety of issues. This has resulted in unprecedented levels of fear, alienation, and disconnection, which commonly lead to depression, grief and hopelessness.

Being Heard: Focused Listening Sessions offer a safe space for individuals to share stories of how they have been impacted by polarizing issues. These are not discussions or debates. They are gatherings that offer a safe environment to actively listen to the perspectives of another with compassion and empathy. They offer the privilege of bearing witness to the heartfelt experience of a fellow human being–while discovering more about, and healing, oneself.

Dr. Daniel Siegel, psychiatrist and author of Mindsight, refers to this process as attunement. He explains, “This focus on the mind of another person harnesses neural circuitry that enables two people to ‘feel felt’ by each other. This state is crucial for people in relationships to feel vibrant and alive, to feel understood, and to feel at peace.”

Session Structure

The sessions begin with 2 minutes of shared silence. This allows participants to connect with themselves and their Source, to become fully present. From that centered place, intentions are identified for the desired outcomes of the process. A safe listening environment is cultivated through mutual commitments to interact with compassion, respect, honor, and confidentiality.

Once the environment is established, smaller listening circles are created of no more than 4 people, who each have 8 minutes to tell the story they feel needs to BE HEARD. Those 8 minutes are uninterrupted. Listeners may jot down inner reactions that show up while listening. However, this is not the place for counterpoints, opinions, or judgements about what is being shared. What is welcomed, as a listener, is writing down those kinds of reactions for later introspective review of what you learned about yourself through the process of focused listening.

After each participant has shared, the groups close with 2 minutes of silence to foster self-reflection. The small group then has 5 minutes to echo what they heard the speaker trying to express, and to ask any clarifying questions (if needed), to better understand the speaker’s perspective. This is also an opportunity to share any insights with the small group about one’s own experience of bearing witness to the story of another. The larger group then reconvenes to share, if desired, any new experiences or insights gained through the process.

The purpose of BEING HEARD: Focused Listening Sessions is to foster deeper understanding of, and connection to, members of our human family. In so doing, we begin to chart the course to A NEW WAY OF BEING — transitioning from competition to collaboration, from opposition to unity, and from alienation to belonging.

If you have the desire to cultivate more vibrance, understanding, and peace in your life, you are warmly invited to experience BEING HEARD.