World Day of Listening: October 21, 2016
It feels like the world is stuck at the extreme ends of the social and political spectrums. Everyone seems to be yelling, yet few really stop to listen.This is happening around the elections in the US. We saw it happen with Brexit. And everyday the news carries stories of anger and frustration about the refugee crisis.
What would happen if I stopped long enough on one day just to listen to another person? Family member? Friend? Co-worker? Stranger?
And what would that day be like if I knew that all around the world others were doing the same? …that all around the world people were offering empathic, deep listening with no agenda, no judgment and no goals for themselves or the person to whom they are listening.
Think about it. Across this immense planet, if everyone took part of their afternoon to listen in this manner, it would mean that others on this globe would be listened to by an empathic ear.
Please join us by creating a World Day of Listening event in your area on October 21.
Focusing Initiatives International is partnering with individuals and organizations from around the world to listen to people about their experience of the current world situation and of themselves living in this world.
We invite anyone with listening skills to participate, including: activists, counsellors, academics, community workers, facilitators, youth workers, active listeners, NVC people, mindfulness practitioners, Focusing people, coaches, social change persons, and others. This is a kind of gentle model of empathic listening, not a mental health or therapy event. People join in whatever way that feels right to them.
Why listen this way? What is important is to listen – openly and with no judgment, no bias and no goals for either yourself or the person who is talking. Listening in this way is healing. It brings about inner release and can even bring peace. Once a person feels they no longer have to shout to be heard, something inside shifts or changes. That signals a newness, a freshness and an opening to a way forward.
Now – what does your heart call you to do?
Here are a few ideas, but you might create something else:
- Form a Street Listening group: take a card table and a sign saying “Listening”, and go out with a friend or two and set up a sidewalk listening event at your local mall or main street.
- Join us at the Convergent Facilitation workshop in NYC
- Hold an Empathic Listening Cafe. You might invite friends and acquaintances to spend an hour or two at your home (church, office, library, community center) to participate in an empathic listening cafe. See ideas for how to organize this on the world day of listening Facebook page.
- Sit down with your child for twenty minutes and just listen without judgement or trying to “fix” anything. Or with a coworker. Or a senior citizen. Or a homeless person. Or anyone you don’t always feel comfortable with.
The goal is to provide the healing and forward-moving experience that happens when one person listens openly, without agenda, to another.
Margaret Mead was correct when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.