Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Principled Commitment: An Adult Program on Building Strong Relationships

Taking It Home: Trust

Affection ConnectionTrust

Extend your exploration of trust by trying one or more of these activities on your own. These deep listening exercises are adapted with permission from Practicing the Sacred Art of Listening by Kay Lindahl (Skylight Paths Publishing, 2003).

For Individuals: Three Breaths

This exercise is a quick way to center yourself and listen to your heart.

  • Take a first breath: Inhale, and identify what is upsetting you, controlling you, occupying your mind, or causing your stress.
  • Let go of these things as you exhale.
  • Second breath: Inhale, and touch the still point at the center of your being. See whether you can get there with a breath.
  • Exhale.
  • Third breath: Inhale, and ask yourself, "What is next?" Tap into your inner wisdom.
  • Exhale, and notice what comes to your mind.

You may find that this very simple intervention will alter the path you were on when you felt stressed and out of control. You may be able to approach the situation from a more centered place.

For Couples: Deep Listening

Each day this week, spend a minimum of fifteen minutes practicing deep listening with your partner. You may wish to warm up with this exercise:

  • One person thinks of a question and asks it of his/her partner.
  • If you are the responder, reflect on the question for 30 seconds, looking for a response rather than an answer.
  • Notice your immediate response. Go deeper. Trust your intuition.
  • Open your eyes and say whatever comes to your mind in response to the question. Take as much time as you need to say what wants to be said. Your partner's role is to listen without making a response or engaging in silent dialogue.
  • When you are finished, reflect again for 30 seconds. Close your eyes and ask yourself: "What is the next question that wants to be asked?" It will come to you. This is not a linear exercise, so the question may or may not relate to what you've just said. Listen to the question without thinking about your partner or your partner's response.
  • Open your eyes and state the question that comes to you. Your partner repeats the steps above.

For Couple with Children: Deep Listening

Couples with children may want to practice the exercise above with a child, letting the child choose the subject. Make sure the child gets to practice both speaking and listening.