Talking Stick Ceremony – Hearts and Ears Wide Open
One of my favorite tools for deep listening is the Talking Stick ceremony.
In the Talking Stick ceremony, which is Native American in origin, whoever has the stick talks.
All others, be that one or many, listen.
The listeners are NOT allowed to interrupt, comment, respond, agree or disagree, judge, add on to the story being told, nothing. No response or comments are permitted.
When the one is finished speaking their truth into the sacred space, she or he places the stick into the center of the circle, where someone else can then take it and talk.
This next holder of the Talking Stick then speaks their truth into the space. This talker is NOT allowed to respond to or comment on whatever the person before them was talking about, unless it is framed completely in the “I” . For instance, no saying I had that happen too. Or I disagree. Being framed in the “I” means you can say I have a story, and then tell that story. I think you’ll see the difference but if you need more clarity on this point please let me know.
Talking Stick ceremonies create profound experiences for both speakers and listeners. Imagine being HEARD in such a way. Speaking into silent, sacred, no judgment allowed space allows you to speak your TRUTH without fear. Imagine LISTENING in such a way. This is listening at a deep, compete, profound level. Both experiences are life altering. Most of us have never been heard like this, and we certainly don’t listen like this.
Talking Stick ceremonies can be used in groups of two or more. They are powerful with a partner, with your family, in your work environments, in your teaching environments, wherever 2 or more are gathered. One caveat though: you do need someone to be in charge, to (1) monitor the time (it’s good to set an agreed upon time limit before the circle starts, so that the time keeper can then monitor and call back a speaker who just keeps going), and (2) be sure the no responding, no judging, no refuting, no opinion-ing ground rules, which are an integral part of the ceremony and which create the sacred space, are being adhered to.
If you’d be interested in attending a workshop to experience Talking Stick ceremony, and to make your own Talking Stick, please be sure to let me know! This photo one of my Talking Sticks.