Active listening is non-judgmental listening with full attention.
Active listening is about not only listening but also about acceptance and reception of the speaker’s whole self. Active listening requires the listener to be empathetic, non-judgmental and congruent. It requires the listener to be open to whatever the client says. It does not mean that a listener cannot have an opinion or own emotions. If we feel it necessary to express our feelings that arise during the speech of the client it is very important to express them as solely personal, never in a judgmental way.
There are certain communication techniques that help active listening such as repeating or paraphrasing certain words or sentences of the client, highlighting a couple of topics that seem to be important. Summarizing the topic, articulating emotions that the speaker mentions, and the use of symbols and images.
The Path of the Four Elements
Participants should be able to connect individually to the four basic elements and to the emotions resulting from them.
The exercise can be implemented in several ways. However, it is important to take some conditions into account:
- participants should walk through each station alone
- before the trail, we can prepare the exercise by sitting in a circle, listening to soothing music, possibly supplemented with an art activity (painting, coloring, drawing)
- participants start individually on the path from the big circle and they return there
- while the individuals are at the station, the other members of the group can receive a short thought-provoking, inspiring text every few minutes in addition to the music
- when the individuals return to the group, we can ask them to write about their experience a short poem
The success of the exercise depends on the openness of the participants, so the trainer must strive to create this safe space for the group.
Easy songs can be used in a very wide range of ways for almost any facilitation need:
opening or closing a ceremony
forming bonds amongst a group
soothing hearts after conflict, tender sharing, or grief
empower participants, put them in touch with their power & energy
meditation or contemplation
Guided Abundance Meditation
Guided abundance meditation is great for starting the day, opening our minds to other ways of thinking, and using the imagination to significantly shift our internal outlook.
The purpose of Setting Your Intention is to clarify, both within oneself and within the group, what each person’s aim is.
Connection meditation is great for starting the day, opening our minds to other ways of thinking, and using the imagination to shift our internal outlook.
In order to get clarity about a topic or to determine your spiritual location, you go out alone into nature and trace this topic there. In the mirror of your environment, guided by your intuition, you receive “medicine”, a gift of impressions and impulses.
The Medicine Walk is an ancient and a modern practice. We have always made medicine walks into nature or pilgrimages, because the space out there gives us the possibility to reconnect. To reconnect with levels within ourselves that are not accessible to us through the mind alone, the deep inner knowledge about nature and being. It is a magical experience. Magical because it is animated by many different encounters – with plants, trees, animals, stones, branches, images…. All the living beings out there invite you to get in touch with them. For example, an encounter with a squirrel. You can ask a question about something specific that is on your mind and see/listen to what happens, what comes up as an answer while observing the squirrel. You can also let yourself be drawn to interesting places. It’s a free space out there, follow your intuition.
If you feel a burning question in you – take it with you on your Medicine Walk!
The purpose of the Round of Gratefulness is to practise the attitude of gratefulness. This brings deeper peace, greater well-being and an enhanced capacity for joy and self-empowerment.
There are five guiding principles that can serve as touchstones to support the practice:
- Life is a gift
- Everything is a surprise
- The ordinary is extraordinary
- Appreciation is generative
- Love is transformative
Buddhist teacher, author, and nun Pema Chödrön gives tonglen instruction as follows:
“On the in-breath, you breathe in whatever particular area, group of people, country, or even one particular person – maybe it’s not this more global situation, maybe it’s breathing in the physical discomfort and mental anguish of chemotherapy; of all the people who are undergoing chemotherapy. And if you’ve undergone chemotherapy and come out the other side, it’s very real to you. Or maybe it’s the pain of those who have lost loved ones – suddenly, or recently, unexpectedly or over a long period of time, some dying. But the in-breath is – you find some place on the planet in your personal life or something you know about, and you breathe in with the wish that those human beings or those mistreated animals or whoever it is, that they could be free of that suffering, and you breathe in with the longing to remove their suffering.
And then you send out – just relax out – send enough space so that peoples’ hearts and minds feel big enough to live with their discomfort, their fear, their anger or their despair, or their physical or mental anguish. But you can also breathe out for those who have no food and drink, you can breathe out food and drink. For those who are homeless, you can breathe out/send them shelter. For those who are suffering in any way, you can send out safety, comfort.
So in the in-breath you breathe in with the wish to take away the suffering, and breathe out with the wish to send comfort and happiness to the same people, animals, nations, or whatever it is you decide.
Do this for an individual, or do this for large areas, and if you this with more than one subject in mind, that’s fine… breathing in as fully as you can, radiating out as widely as you can.”
After a program, course, or project, the organizing team can use this method to reflect on each person’s roles and effectiveness. Reflection Fishbowl is a powerful tool for internal use amongst a team that has worked closely and trusts each other.