Talking

Stick

The Talking Stick circle provides a safe space for people to learn and practice the ancient art of truly and actively listening to another from the heart without judgement, and to speak one's authentic voice that often does not find expression in these busy times.  There are many adaptations of this ancient ceremony but the basic principles is that participants sit in a circle and take turns speaking, but only the person with the stick may speak. This allows the speaker to more fully develop their expression by taking whatever time they need to find the words that express their heart's deeper intentions. This practice will appeal to those who wish to:

    •    Connect with others on a deeper, more profound level, free of judgement
    •    Find and practice their authentic voice, without interruption
    •    Learn and practice active listening
    •    Meet others who aspire to mindfulness and presence

It is our experience that the skills developed by these practices are of tremendous value individually and collectively. Active listening is the panacea for ending inner confusion and interpersonal conflict. Indeed, there would be no war in the world if governments would simply respect each other enough to listen to each other's perspectives. Listening to another without judgement can be very transformational and mind-expanding. Participants are encouraged to create Talking Stick circles of their own and to continue participating in those of others so that the practice can spread and we can all improve our listening skills.

Procedure

    •    The talking stick circle is opened and closed by a person holding the Talking Stick
    •    The Talking Stick is handed round clockwise until everyone has spoken
    •    Only the person holding the Talking Stick is allowed to speak
    •    Everyone else is a listener
    •    Participants usually begin a circle by introducing themselves
    •    When a person finishes speaking they say ‘aho’ and the group acknowledges them by saying ‘aho’!
    •    The Talking Stick may be passed around as many times as necessary
    •    The person holding the Talking Stick may hold it and remain silent or pass it on without speaking

Topics

    •    Any subject is o.k. for the Talking Stick circle, no subject is taboo
    •    You can speak about personal stuff
    •    About things going on in your life
    •    About situations that you are worried about
    •    About things that inspire you
    •    Or anything else you want to share with others
    •    You can acknowledge other people in the group
    •    You can raise an issue you have with someone in the group
    •    You can ask for help or mediation

Guidelines

    •    All participants in the circle are equal and nobody has any privileges
    •    What is said in the circle stays in the circle, everything is confidential
    •    Everyone is allowed to speak
    •    The circle is not closed until everyone agrees that it can be closed
    •    The speaker speaks from their own experience
    •    Listening is an active process
    •    Be aware of your inner commentary
    •    Be aware of any judgments you are making
    •    Be aware of any interpretation you are giving
    •    Whatever you experience as real or true reflects your unique situation and beliefs and assumptions
    •    Be considerate of time limitations and other people’s right to speak

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