From the Director of the Teaching Academy at New Mexico State University:
To Whom It May Concern:
In June 2014, I had the privilege of hosting a two-day Art of Listening workshop that was facilitated by Lisa and Brian Berman. I have hosted other listening workshops but this one was absolutely exceptional.
Although teaching and advising are often associated with talking, they require good listening in equal measure. This is especially true when advising a student or when leading a class discussion, particularly on a controversial subject.
Lisa and Brian helped us embrace conflict as an invitation to explore meaning and to deepen true connection with our students and colleagues. They gave us tools to find compassion and peace within ourselves, then with our community. Lisa and Brian worked with us to help us suspend our judgments as we listen. They also helped us listen without composing what we are going to say next.
Participants raved about the workshop. In their words:
• Wow. Their style in a workshop is an inspiration to my own teaching. Their lessons in self-love and compassionate listening should stay with me as I work through my own troubles and listen to those of others. Thank you.
• Don’t expect the usual—this is a therapeutic departure—daring to be a victim no more—giving the perpetrator a chance to be heard.
• It is one of the best workshops I have ever been to.
• If you’re open, it could be cathartic and life-changing.
• It’s life changing.
• Best workshop that the Teaching Academy offers
• I will be compassionate with myself and others. I will listen with an open heart, checking for facts, feelings and values.
I agree with the assessments of the participants. Of the dozen or so workshops that I have heard every year for the past ten years, this is among the very, very best for teachers.
On our mid-sized campus, the workshop attracted 33 faculty, staff and graduate students. Participants rated the workshop a 6.9 out of 7 possible points.
I highly commend this workshop to you without reservation.
Feel free to contact me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tara Gray, Ph.D.
This was a holistic experience.
It is a very holistic approach to personal and professional development stemming from a recognition of voice.
Very helpful, affirming, and RESTFUL!
A wonderful way to connect with your inner self to help understand how to become a better listener.
Don’t expect the usual—this is a therapeutic departure—daring to be a victim no more—giving the perpetrator a chance to be heard.
I attended this wonderful workshop that created a safe, loving environment to allow us to explore how we listen.
It is one of the best workshops I have ever been to.
If you’re open, it could be cathartic and life-changing.
Best workshop that the Teaching Academy offers.
The best two days I invested and took away from my work environment.
I will love myself. I will be compassionate with myself and others. I will listen with an open heart checking for facts, feelings and values.
Thank you, Brian and Lisa, so very much for these gatherings … I learned so much, now to take it into my daily life communications with beloved friends, and husband, and family, and strangers, and tele callers too!
Many thanks to Brian and Lisa for a great learning experience. You both are fabulous!
I feel deep gratitude for both of you. There are so many opportunities for peace and compassion to show up in our lives- yet in my “busyness,” I have managed to miss many of them. Brian and Lisa are treasures in our community. Love always.
Lisa and Brian are both a great asset to any community they happen to be part of. They are a powerful healing/teaching team. Their compassionate listening in relationship, and other workshops I’ve attended were very insightful and well organized. They plan well beforehand, and are at ease in letting the group evolve in the moment. (I say this coming from a background in group facilitation; so my standards in this area are pretty high!) If you are reading this because Lisa and Brian are coming your way; then you are fortunate indeed.
The Peace In Relationship” workshop gave us amazing new tools to use in connecting with each other and gave us ways to effectively use them in our personal lives. A Thankful Couple
Lisa & Brian, you are great facilitators! We got so much out of your couples workshop. You have touched my life in so many ways. Thank you for all that you have done for so many.
Brian and Lisa Berman facilitated a Compassionate Listening workshop at the Three Jewels Dharma Hall in Fort Bragg, California. The workshop was a great success for the community and inspired a series of meetings in the months that followed. The group discontinued the meetings as the member’s lives took different directions; however, everyone that attended the workshop was forever changed and grateful for the experience. Brian and Lisa create powerful cultures of peace in our families, communities, and the world.
Thank you so much for what you do. I truly believe that it is the one thing that will bring peace, understanding, and compassion in a world full of hate and discontent. Peace be with you and yours. Sincerely, Kris T., Navy
The Compassionate Listening you offer to people is a real gift that has lasting benefits, which I know will be true for our students as it is for others whose hearts you touch. It is clear that the work was good for the group and that it opened new possibilities for their self-knowing and for their relationships at home and at work. I wish you a good summer and continued blessings in your work and lives. Thank you from all of us. Warm regards, Paula Green, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding www.karunacenter.org, School for International Training/CONTACT www.sit.edu/contact
From participants in our Compassionate Journey:
Bless this state of grace!
I’m deeply touched at the end of these seven days. Life after this will be a new adventure. I feel like I just got off a ladder ten stories up the shaft of awareness. I am exhausted, but exhilarated. This practice of compassion and compassionate listening is very humbling; I feel challenged in a way I’ve never felt before, with a strong sense of connectedness with every one of the participants after what we shared as a group and exchanged as individuals and by curious extension, I feel a new kind of connectedness with all beings around me. Wherever I go, I meet strangers whose lives appear tenderly fragile, whose faces hold the potential for injury or enlightenment. I release judgment, the inner quarrels, the treadmill of tiring mental acrobatics. To be present with heartfelt intent and show my light ˆ that’s what’s on now.
I felt seen and loved, held and cherished in that space.
Ah, to carry this forward regardless!
My thanks to Brian and Lisa and Eve for their devotion. Alexa D.
….I continue to exist in a new state of lightness after the lifting of an incredible weight in Berlin.
Lisa was my small group leader and I consider myself truly blessed. She created an amazing cocoon of safety for us with her gentleness and caring and sensitivity. She was extremely careful to keep everything focused on the speakers needs until the speaker was finished, not letting us get of course. At the same time she was clear at the beginning about time management so that everyone got their turn.
Dear Brian and Lisa:
While sipping my tea this morning, I came across a quote by Rachel Naomi Remen: “The way to freedom from fear often lies through an open heart.” It made me think immediately of the Compassionate Journey in Berlin.
Before going on this delegation, I had viewed myself as being “narrow-minded” or “closed-minded” about Germany and Germans. I found justification for this for most of my adult life; indeed, there is a large community that supports such views. At a point when I recognized that this part of my life was totally out of sync with the rest of my values and my world view, I felt that my mind needed to be changed. The delegation to Germany was going to be that mind-opening vehicle for me.
Something else happened, however, on the evening of the 1st full day of the program: the ceremony of honoring our ancestors. As we gathered together around the table — Jews and non-Jews, Americans, Germans, British — and laid down pictures of our ancestors, lit candles, and told stories, my heart began to open. I felt connected to everyone in the room. And so it continued throughout the week. Each story, whether it came from someone in my pod, or an invited guest, or the Germans who joined us on the last weekend, or on a monument to those who perished, filled me with such compassion that at times I thought my heart could open no further. But it had no bounds. And the fears that I came with were gone.
So now I know that it was about being “closed-hearted” rather than “closed-minded”. Or maybe they exist in tandem. My childhood reactions to the Holocaust of fear and hate certainly closed down my heart and altered my capacity to love fully. I still find it difficult to explain to people the profound impact the experience had on me; I know that it is one of the most important things I have done. I am so grateful to you both for being such wonderful models of love and compassion and including me in your embrace in Berlin.
L’Shana Tova! May both of you be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year and continue your marvelous work.
Thank you, Brian and Lisa for the incredible life changing experience. Linda W.
The Journey was one of the highlights of my life! It’s hard to describe how complete and grounded I felt in my core by the end of the week. I love telling people about it. I was able to share it more fully with a Jewish man and his daughter on our bicycle/canal boat trip in Holland. They had gone back to Berlin (I think it was Berlin) a few years ago to participate in an official apology ceremony. I look forward to telling the Compassionate Listening practice group here in Eugene about it–I know they’ll be very interested. Thank you again for making our wonderful week together possible. I hope you are satisfied with the results of your years of preparation. Love and hugs, Helen D.
Hello Listeners my old friends, It’s Audrey writing from my living room in Berlin. I wanted to say THANK YOU to you all for bringing your precious light to the group, and all that smooshy stuff. I regret not being able to be completely present on the last day and having to duck out suddenly. I hope the last lunch was glorious and that you all made it on your ways safely (Kathy did you get your train reservation?)
In our short time together there were so many things that I was unable to put into words to *each* and every one of you, so I often chose not to even attempt. But I wanted to let you know that if there was anything you desired to hear of admiration for your courage, your undeniable radiating beauty (hint hint Dick), and gratitude for the intimacy that you shared, please imagine that I expressed it to you because I saw it but was dumbfounded beyond words. After taking a day to re-assemble myself, I can confirm that I am a fuller and clearer person through this journey, only possible through the humility and quality of your spirit.
Deep appreciation to Eve, Lisa, and Brian for your hard work, spaciousness, and for being the ones who brought us together.
Much love to my Pod-ners in Crimes of senseless Peace and random generosity! Audrey