Mary Rose O’Reilley, in her wonderful book Radical Presence: Teaching as Contemplative Practice, writes of the power of close listening: “One can, I think, listen someone into existence, encourage a stronger self to emerge or a new talent to flourish.” And in learning to listen well, one can also learn to be listened to, “to be able to stand being heard. It’s frightening because true attention… invites us to change.” She continues with this:

Attention: deep listening. People are dying in spirit for lack of it. In academic culture most listening is critical listening. We tend to pay attention only long enough to develop a counter-argument; we critique the student’s or the colleague’s ideas; we mentally grade and pigeonhole each other. In society at large, people often listen with an agenda, to sell or petition or seduce. Seldom is there a deep, openhearted, unjudging reception of the other. And so we all talk louder and more stridently and with a terrible desperation. By contrast, if someone truly listens to me, my spirit begins to expand. [1]

Drawing on time-tested insights from the Quaker tradition of the Clearness Committee, the Circle of Trust® approach developed by Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, spiritual guidance and accompaniment, pastoral counseling, mindfulness, and even academic advising, Chris brings nearly three decades of experience in practicing deep, authentic presence and incisive, attuned listening. His long career as an educator, facilitator, and consultant has equipped him with a remarkable capacity to ask insightful, evocative questions that shed new light in shadowed corners and open new horizons of possibility. A clearness consultation is typically one hour (90- minute and two-hour sessions are possible as well) and commonly occur more than once (say, in a series of three or four) over the course of several weeks. The whole experience is grounded on Chris’s firm commitment to hold safe, courageous space for you to explore substantive questions in depth – always knowing that you don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want to go. Your privacy is assured, and confidentiality is guaranteed. In the consultation, Chris’s questions for you will be informed and inspired by the core question, dilemma, or conundrum around which you’re seeking clarity, and will be aimed primarily at helping you to discover the inner wisdom you already hold. The consultation is not intended to be primarily a two-way “conversation,” although there will of course be some natural give-and-take. Rather, Chris will devote his full attention to you for the entire time, providing a space of attuned hospitality to whatever you wish to share as you explore the landscapes into which the questions lead. No matter what your starting point or current place on your journey, having someone to accompany you along the way — just to ask good questions and to really, really listen — can be a remarkable gift. Let us travel a bit with you, on your continuing adventure to find “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Contact us for a free initial conversation to help you determine what’s best for you. Or if you have already begun the process and would like to make an online payment, click the PayPal button. 


[1] Mary Rose O’Reilley, Radical Presence : Teaching as Contemplative Practice (Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1998), pp. 17–21.