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Empathy Circle – Death and Dying

May 20 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every month that begins at 6:30 pm on day Third of the month, repeating until 16 December 2021

What’s Alive for You about Death and Dying?

As part of the Celebrating this Precious Life series, these are extra sessions open to the wider community – family and friends, celebrants, death doula’s, grandparents, young adults… anyone who wants to share honest conversations about death and dying. The session will include a check in, short grounding practice, dyad and large group sharing.

Throughout this gathering our basic foundation will be that of empathic or deep listening. Authors of the program, Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence, Catherine Cadden and Jesse Chu, write, ‘Empathy turns the listening up in our heart and quiets the mind by engaging our sense of curiosity about ourselves and others. We consider empathy to have five components in this order: curiosity, mindful presence, intention to connect, focus on universal needs and confirmation.’

Deep listening, holding space and offering your presence.

In our sessions, there is an invitation for everyone to speak – there won’t be an official timekeeper so it’s important you feel into this so that everyone’s voice, including your own, can be heard. If you feel you’d like a timekeeper when you are speaking, ask if one of the members of the group would be happy to do that for you.

The basics for deep listening are simple: listen with curiosity, mindful presence and intention to connect with the person speaking. Refrain from asking questions, analysing or fixing, advising, commiserating, changing the topic etc.  I will introduce this in the group at the start and, if you have any questions, please give voice to them.

If you are new to empathy circles please read more about the Deep Listening Process here

Deep listening, holding space and offering your presence.

More information about Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and deep listening

When it’s your turn to speak, take a breath and just let yourself relax into what wants to be voiced by you. It may or may not make sense to others…or yourself. Notice if your attention is getting caught up in your own thoughts about what you are saying – for example, judgements of whether or not it’s a good, wise, stupid response or whether you are talking too much or too little. Simply notice, breathe, bring presence to the moment and return to whatever wants to be spoken through you.

When its your turn to listen – listen in silence, be curious about connecting fully with what is being said and shared, connect with the person speaking. If you notice your mind wander to what you will say or other thoughts about what is being said, simply notice and bring your attention back to the person speaking.

The request is to practice deep listening and refrain from asking questions, pushing to go deeper or furthering the process. If someone has sadness or fear or joy arise. Let this be here. If it’s uncomfortable or difficult feel the support of the earth beneath you, and take a breath or two. Hold the space with your presence and refrain from fixing, advising, analysing, interpreting, judging, sympathising etc. Connect and hold space for whatever is happening.

As the speaker, when you are finished – you might feel that being heard was enough and thank the listeners OR you may wish to ask for a reflection from one of the listeners or request a ‘shower of needs’. These requests can really ensure you feel heard and seen in the way you would most appreciate.

Four options for the speaker to receive confirmation:

  • To be heard was enough.
  • Reflection: one of the listeners can offer a brief reformulation of what they heard you say – again the the request for no analysing or fixing, dismissing, correcting, advise giving. Keep the reformulation simple  – offer a guess of one or, at the most two needs, you may have heard being spoken to. i.e. “I heard you say that you feel distressed about the conflict with your sister and I am guessing you need harmony and to know you matter.”
  • Shower of needs: The group can reflect upon what you said and what needs they heard. Four or five people can offer you one need. No explanation needed. “I’m guessing you might have a need for connection”. “Belonging”.  “To know you have been heard”.  etc. The speaker may wish to close their eyes and connect with how the need word lands, breathing into any inner response and opening to the life energy of that need.
  • Or, you may wish to honour and speak to the group one or two of the needs that you connect with.

When you have finished, say thank you or offer a bow, or show some way that you have finished. Then someone in the group may suggest, ‘let’s take a breath together’ before the next person speaks.

Brief overview of NVC   https://www.cnvc.org/learn-nvc/what-is-nvc

Great bigger picture: https://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/What-is-NVC-Information.pdf

First Thursday of the month at 6.30pm – 8pm AEDT (Sydney, Australia).  There is no need to make a regular commitment. Please register to receive an email with the link to join the group.

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