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How do I listen?

I commented on a re-blog, Here’s an Idea that Mimi‘s post coincided a PBS show about a branch of neuroscience called Contemplative Mindfulness. Rudolph Tanzi is central in this work which has grown from other recent research by Richard Davidson, Ellen Langer, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindful practices have been with us for centuries and are found in Christ’s, the Buddha’s and Mohammed’s teachings. Mindful listening begins with me, moves outward, and is eloquently described by Hafiz, a Sufi poet. Mindful listening requires humility those teachers emulated in their lived practice as the servant as leader.


Do I

Listen to others?

As if everyone were my Master

Speaking to me





Stay human friends.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

25 responses »

  1. Really beautiful! One of the qualities that makes a good storyteller is good listening.

  2. wonderful! just wonderful … thank you.

  3. It is the reason I chose you for this award you are always teaching me even if you are never aware 🙂
    I had some horrible teachers
    I do hope when I go away for my 10 day silent retreat I can be mindful as well

  4. It is more complicated than it sounds. Where do we store the questions we have, interrupts from our brain. Or do we act differently: write a summary afterwards, and while doing so formulate the questions? Do we have the chance to let our summary be corrected by the speaker, and our questions answered hours or days later?
    For stories it is simpler, for acquiring skills interaction is needed …

    • Those are great questions Bert. I suspect some of the answers are at the heart of great listening. Interesting you bring up stories. I ran across a quote recently: “The shortest distance between two people is a story.” I cannot recall who to attribute it to, but stories are essential to listening.

  5. That little poem right there could change my life.

  6. That verse by Hafiz is one of my favourites too. And that sums up the essence of humility. Thank you Ivon. Sharon

  7. Pingback: Inspiring Blog Award « The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic

  8. Hi. Just want you to know how much I appreciate your blog and that I’ve awarded you with the Inspiring Blog Award
    Feel no obligation to join. The fab new logo and my warmest, sincerest gratitude is yours to keep.^^ xo – kz ^^

  9. I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Have a look

  10. Listening and listening with an open mind is so much different. Listening and recognizing words is easy. Babies can do it, the clearer the command, the better the understanding. But understanding the feelings, the background, the thoughts of the teller, is something, hardly anyone can do. There are so many people who call themselves passionate. Passionate dancers, painters, passionate workers, passionate lovers and fighters. Yet, add three letters to it and you create a mystery. Compassion is so essential to understand someone and something. A key to get you to the same level as the teller or the artist or the one who is trying to explain anything to you. Too bad, it can hardly be taught, too bad it hardly is encouraged. Thanks so much for the post, though. The words are wonderful.


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