Weekly Practice 33
Every week we profile one of the “Reflect to Create! “ practices from my book, they are chosen at random from a jar on my desk. My invitation is for you to try it out if it speaks to you in some way.
Practice 106 is in the suite of The Flow’s Art of Listening. Learning to listen to ourselves, to others and to life – with a willingness to be changed by it – is a radical act of deep respect and humility.
This practice teaches us to create a listening environment where we can hear ourselves – and others – think as we explore the edges of our not knowing and potentiality. We cannot instruct ourselves – or each other – to listen wholeheartedly with respect, openness, encouragement and appreciation but we can create – through the Art of Hosting – the conditions to encourage it. This is further explored in Chapter 14 on supervision.
This practice has been inspired by a traditional greeting, which is shared by the Zulu people in South Africa. The greeting is an invocation, which is spoken in two parts. The first part is ‘Sikhona’ which means ‘I am here to be seen.’ The second part is ‘Sawubona’ which means ‘I see you.’
Hosting creates the safety for us to invoke the Zulu greeting and to listen from the whole of us. The safety comes from HOW we chose to listen and WHAT we contract with and/or between ourselves for our wholehearted listening: for carefully creating the conditions and the processes for the dance.
Human qualities create the humane conditions for hosting a Listening Environment. These are the qualities of the 7C’s of Care, Courage, Curiosity, Compassion, Connection, Creativity and Contemplation¹. Listening to ourselves – and others – with these qualities creates vibrations of warmth, equality, respect, acceptance and safety within us, which are necessary for deep dives into Reflection’s Fertile Void.
In order for you to create the conditions for hosting a Listening Environment
- Complete the 7C’s Self Assessment Map and re-assess how you extend these qualities to yourself and others for listening
- Explore how you can build these qualities into your contracting with yourself and others when you work – and how you can blend these with the Ethical Guidelines and Codes of Conduct from your own professional body.
- Explore and journal what the term ‘hosting’ means to you.
- Explore and journal what ‘being a host’ means for you. Consider how you would host a dinner party or a celebration and map how you feel and what you do into your work context.
- Consider how you need to prepare yourself to host with ease, grace, inclusivity and generosity.
As the temenos or container for the work is created, attention should also be paid to what needs to emerge. This welcoming includes the responsibilities of the Host to themselves (if they are working on their own) or others if they are working in pairs or in groups to Arrive, to Work and to then Depart.
- Hosting the space.
- Extending a Welcome.
- Offering a Grounding or Centring practice.
- Checking In with self – and with each other if you are working in a group.
- Extending the Zulu greeting of ‘Sikhona’ and ‘Sawubona’ to each other.
- Contracting for the session’s work.
- What is needed and how to BE in the work.
- Using the Reflect to Create! dance map to host the inquiry
- Harvesting insights, learning and actions from the work.
- Appreciating self or with others if you are working in a group.
- Invite a closing word to capture feelings now at the end of the session.
Reflect on what you are noticing.
Please do share your stories so we can all learn together.
Join us on our “Reflect to Create!” Facebook page.
¹ Patterson, E. (2020) “Our Humanity@Work” Working with the 7Cs – the 7 Human Capacities – for Insight, Learning and Change: A New Lens for Coaching, Coaching Supervision and Executive Reflection. London, Centre of Reflection and Creativity Ltd.