When we listen to people, our language softens. Listening may be the cardinal act of giving
it is the source of peace.” ~ Paul Hawken

Every act of listening is an act of gratitude that affirms the life vibrating within and around us. When we make ourselves available to receive the voices of our hearts, the people in our lives, our communities, the Earth and all its inhabitants, and the cosmos, we honor the waves of mystery — and the wisdom therein — that connects all of existence. Listening asks that we surrender ourselves — not only to the other but to the collective whole — and so serves as the bedrock of belonging, healing, and ultimately peace.

Photo: Javardh

When we truly listen, we become present to the moment and open our hearts. This can support our letting go of our need to respond as we appreciate the opportunity to simply experience connection and to grow. From this place of gratefulness, we can deepen our relationships with ourselves, others, and the world as a whole. Even in the face of difficulty, misunderstanding, complexity, pain, and the unknown, our experiences can feel expansive rather than constricting if we lean in and listen with curiosity, care, and compassion. In doing so, we might find ourselves trusting the unfolding of life in a way that creates space for empathy and deeply sourced action. We join an emergent song in which the voices of many contribute to an ever-evolving whole, allowing for dissonance even in the pursuit of harmony as we seek to remember and revere the essence that joins us all. 

At Grateful Living, we recognize the transformative potential — always and especially now — of our capacity to listen. Recognizing its centrality to gratitude and peace, we share with you the following resources in honor of World Gratitude Day and International Day of Peace. These resources were compiled for our August 2020 Gratefulness Gatherings theme.

We invite you to explore these supportive offerings on your own and with others. Approach them gently and take your time with them. May they inspire transformative awareness and action as you explore tuning in with a grateful heart.

Resources

Readings

How Mindful Communication Makes Us More Compassionate (7:00): Susan Gillis Chapman invites us into a process of mindful communication that opens us up to deeper, more compassionate connections with others.

Rhonda Magee on Her Inner Work of Racial Justice (4:00): Rhonda Magee describes a racially charged experience and the ways in which listening with care supported her.

Listening is Sacred Activism (3:00): Marisela B Gomez explores how deep listening ignites the depth of connection needed to make meaningful change.

Video

5 Ways to Listen Better (8:00): In this TED talk, Julian Treasure explains the importance of tuning in and describes ways to strengthen our capacity to listen.

Poem

Generous Listening by Marilyn Nelson

Practice

Active Listening: This practice from the Greater Good Science Center offers a framework for cultivating empathy and understanding with others.

Living Room Conversations: We recently featured Living Room Conversations as one of our Grateful Changemakers. We encourage you to explore their work and the Living Room Conversations model as a way to listen and to ultimately bridge divides.

Why Listening Is the Most Radical Act: This practice by Mirabai Bush reflects on the importance of listening with a curious heart as a precursor to any action. (We included this resource in the “Staying Curious” theme, and we’re including it again as it may feel meaningful to revisit this practice in the context of this month’s theme.)

Questions

  • What arises when I pause to listen within and beyond myself?
  • What voices – those of friends/family, people in my community, leaders around the world – are stirring something within me? What are they beckoning me to learn?
  • What perspectives might I seek out to expand my worldview?
  • What helps me listen to things that might be difficult to hear?
  • How does listening embolden me to act and inspire me to move differently through the world?
  • When I truly listen gratefully, what feels possible?

Learn more about the gifts of grateful living


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