THE (GIANT) LISTENING EAR!


Ashfield Town Common, May 27th, June 10th & 17th, 9:00am-1:00pm


                                To talk with someone

                                ask a question first,

                                then — listen.

                                                               ~Antonio Machado


Christian is offering open listening sessions in Ashfield, MA  on May 27th, June 10th & June 17th, between 9:00am and 1:00pm. Please do stop by. You can talk about anything that happens to be on your mind — or pick a question from the basket if you’d prefer.

Most sessions will be fairly brief: a memory, an anecdote, an observation. Conversations will not be recorded, but if you’d like to get in touch later on, you should feel free to do so.


In a world increasingly dominated by cell-phones and computers and other entrancing devices, the LISTENING EAR is intended as a joyous and subversive antidote, reminding us of the special pleasure to be found in long, meandering, face-to-face conversation, most especially with friends and family.

But there is more to it than that, especially now. Our country is woefully divided, ever more so since the Election. It’s time to explore a braver, more generous, more incisive kind of listening, not just with friends and allies, but with strangers too, and those with whom we disagree. The LISTENING EAR helps initiate that conversation, and encourages all of us to keep on listening — through the challenges, and out the other side.

It gives everyone a real chance to be heard.


The EAR was inspired by the work of Bread & Puppet Theater, based in Glover, VT, and the BOOTH by peace activist Fran Peavey, who traveled the world with a small cloth sign reading “American Willing to Listen.”


listening flyerOtherwise1.29

Intimate Listening with Christian McEwen


As our society develops ever more various forms of techno-talk, the pace and volume of our exchanges can rise to fever-pitch. But it is all too clear that much is being missed. Despite the rush of information and opinion, there is an increasing lack of generous, centered listening. Too many of us feel invisible and unheard, leading to anger, disconnection and frustration. In this retreat with writer and educator Christian McEwen, we’ll explore the art of listening and how it pertains to our relationships — all our relationships.

Christian’s 2011 book, World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down, showed us how to listen to our own inner muse. She brings that same process to the external world as we engage with “the other,” whether a co-worker or a co-parent, the person on the other side of the checkout counter, or across the political aisle. We’ll spend the day writing, sharing, walking, and most certainly listening.

And as with all our retreats, the experience will be held in the Monastery’s practice environment, beginning and ending the day with meditation, and familiarizing ourselves with the experience of living in community, where silence, communication, and gratitude are not mutually exclusive.
Here’s the link:

Zen Mountain Monastery
871 Plank Rd. • PO Box 197
Mount Tremper, NY 12457
(845) 688-2228 •



~Co-presenMesa Refugeted by Mesa Refuge~

Slowing Down, Settling In, Opening Out
: Exploring the Nature of Place
with Christian McEwen and Sarah Rabkin

Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5, 2017

Join us at the Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes Station for a gentle, transformative weekend devoted to creativity and slowing down. After an introductory session from 6:00pm to 8:30pm on Friday evening, we will reconvene from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday and from 10:00am to 3:00pm on Sunday. Activities will include informal writing and sketching; we welcome both new and seasoned practitioners of both crafts. You can expect to emerge with a renewed understanding of your own true nature, and of the nature that surrounds and sustains us.

Registration: The $250 fee includes a light meal on Friday evening. Participants bring lunches on Saturday and Sunday. Registration is limited to 12 participants; full payment by check is required to hold your place at the time of registration. For cancellations requested no later than February 10, 2017, the fee is refundable, minus a $25 administrative charge. Suggestions about local lodging options are available for participants traveling from beyond commuting range. (Plan to book early, as local accommodations are finite and do fill up.)

Christian McEwen is a writer, workshop leader and Mesa Refuge alumna currently based in Williamsburg, MA. She has edited four anthologies, including Jo’s Girls: Tomboy Tales of High Adventure, and has written for the Nation and The Village Voice. The focus of her book World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down is fundamental to the theme of our retreat.

Sarah Rabkin is a Bay Area native and the author and illustrator of What I Learned at Bug Camp: Essays on Finding a Home in the World. A teacher of environmental and science writing at UC Santa Cruz, she also leads workshops for Point Reyes National Seashore’s field institute, the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, and other field schools and outdoor education organizations.

For more information and/or to register, please email or call 831-475-7548.