The Talking Stick is a sacred ceremonial tool Native Americans and Indigenous peoples from around the world used to provide a structure to operate within or adhere to at communal and familial gatherings. They have all learned about the Talking Stick, what it means - The one holding the Talking Stick is the only one talking while everyone else is listening and witnessing. It’s not a back-and-forth two-way conversation as much as one-way conversations, for those who want to pick up the Stick to say their peace.
The Talking Stick represents the sacred space of co-creation, a womb space of reception and witness, open-ended safety, and you're just listening, witnessing, and registering your experience, not verbally responding or staying silent, which leaves me wondering why it's not.
Uses: With my family as a way of being together, sharing and connecting in a way we just don’t seem able to have meaningful and in-depth conversation because we’ll be invariably talking over each other or talking when the other person is talking and it’s obvious that we aren’t or can’t seem to listen or get past the first leg of the conversation.
I used it for myself when I felt lost and overwhelmed at different points on my book journey (The Miracle of Connection, The Birth and Life of an Intimate Relationship). A couple of times I seized the opportunity to use my wife as a sounding board. I started telling her how lost and overwhelmed I was, and by the end of it, I felt so relieved, organized and clear about my next steps. Wow, was that great! What a difference the Talking Stick made! I didn't need the actual stick in hand to be in Talking Stick mode.
I use it when I’m doing relationship therapy and facilitating conversations. Pretty much in all of the relationships I work with, I deal with their inability to have conversations, unconsciously driven and disconnected from themselves, therefore can’t really listen, understand or connect. I use a Talking Stick with them so that each person has the space to catch up to their experience, ramping them up to being able to have a meaningful conversation.
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