Some simple practices for connecting on a deeper level
Here is a list of questions that are good for facilitating group or one-to-one conversations.
It’s good to just choose a handful of questions and give people lots of time to explore each question – allow it to percolate and let the answer arise and unravel through conversation. It’s good to ask more questions that continue to dig deeper into people’s perceptions and emotions.
Deep listening is an art form. People can tell when you are really listening to them, it’s a huge gift to offer someone, and it’s wonderful when people feel safe enough to share some of their inner world with you.
If this is new to you, you may want to start with Practicing Receiving.
- Tell me about love in your life
- Tell me about loss in your life
- What makes you angry?
- How do you express boundaries?
- How do you most enjoy giving to others?
- What do you most enjoy receiving?
- Describe yourself through the eyes of a friend.
- Describe your biggest challenge in life and how that makes you feel.
- What is something dark or absurd that you take pleasure in?
- What sort of landscape is your inner world currently?
- What archetype or animal do you feel that you are in this landscape?
- What is the biggest benefit you’ve had from practice?
- What is your biggest challenge in your practice?
- If you could ask anyone one question – who and what would it be? How would you answer this yourself?
- If you are the Universe experiencing itself, what are you most annoyed at the Universe for burdening you with?
- What are you most grateful to the Universe for gifting you with?
- What would you feel more free to enjoy if there were less expectations or pressure on you?
- What do you feel proud of?
- What is one thing in life you wish you were allowed to feel, be or do?
- What is something that you long for?
- When do you think you will feel you have arrived? What will that look like?
- Who is someone you perceive as having ‘arrived’? What does that look like? Do you think they still feel insecure or like a kid on the inside?
- What is something that you don’t want to compromise on?
- When do you feel most authentically yourself?
- What helps you feel less self-conscious?
- What would you most like to be forgiven for?
- What would you most like to forgive in someone else?
- What would you most like to forgive the world for?
- What is at risk for you if you were able to forgive these things?
- When do you feel most vulnerable?
- When do you feel most safe?
- What emotions are you feeling right now?
- Describe a close friend’s biggest anxiety in life.
- Describe your biggest anxiety through the eyes of a close friend.
- How anxious would you guess the average person is? How depressed?
- What would make the experience of life unequivocally worthwhile for you?
- How do you most enjoy contributing to the world?
- What is your greatest fear? And your biggest hope?
- What do you love most about yourself?
- What makes you feel most loved?
- How could you cut yourself some slack?
- What would it feel like to have a day where you could do whatever the hell you want?
- What would you most like others to recognise or see?
- What traits do you think others most appreciate in you?
- What traits do you most appreciate in others?
- What ‘bad’ traits do you revel in, in yourself or others?
- How sincerely do you feel you are able to answer these questions to yourself?
- What self judgements are there that get in the way of you being sincere with yourself?
- How does this level of sincerity compare to how sincere you able to be around others? What creates the gap?
- If you could have one aspect of yourself accepted by the people around you, what would it be?
- Bring someone to mind who’s presence you appreciate. Who are you allowed to be in their company? Who are they allowed to be in your company?
- Choose three words from this list that you feel most drawn to in life. Describe what each one means to you. Give an example of when you’ve felt it in your life.
- Explore how you could cultivate more of these things in your life, as a gift to yourself.
Finding Your Voice
If you struggle to express yourself and be your authentic self while in connection (and who doesn’t) you can find facilitated practice spaces, like circling, and it can also be useful to practice finding your voice on your own. These two exercises were created by David Lassiter for that purpose.
Who Are You
Take around 5 minutes to answer each of these questions out loud, ideally recorded so you can hear it back later. If you run out of things to say before 5 minutes, simply repeat what feels most important.
If you feel emotion (grief, anger, sadness, etc), speak into those emotions, allowing them to grow and express. No need for your responses to be eloquent or even logical – just allow whatever wants to flow.
It might be helpful to begin with the frame that no one will ever hear these answers, and that this is simply for you to express as fully and as freely as possible. Imagine speaking “from” rather than “about”.
- Who/what are you?
- What is most true about you/your reality?
- What is it like to be you?
- What do you need others to know about you?
- What do others need to know about themselves/life/the universe?
- What is most important to you?
- What is most real to you?
- What is the truest, realest thing you can say about yourself and your place in the universe?
- What is the scariest/most difficult thing to say to other people?
- What is the worst thing that could happen if you share your truth?
- What is the best thing that could happen if you share you truth?
- What impact do you wish to have on life?
If any of these feel like the wrong question or don’t resonate, feel free to modify them in a way that strikes home more deeply. If you find the process overwhelming or confusing, feel free to go very slowly, feeling your way intuitively through what wants to come out in response to these questions.
The purpose is to turn on the tap of communicating from your truth and to get things flowing – it may be that some dirty water is what emerges first but if it can flow for a while then it will begin to run clear.
What You Want
Begin by finding a quiet place to sit or lie down, and allow your body and your breath to become slow and relaxed. Take some time to connect with your body, how it feels, and especially in your core, around your heart and solar plexus. When you have arrived, imagine dropping the following questions into your heart like pebbles, and seeing what ripples emerge – nothing is off limits, and allow yourself to be surprised by the answers.
1. What do you most deeply yearn for?
2. What do you want most for yourself in this life?
3. What do you want most for others?
4. What do you want most for the world?
When you have completed these questions, re-focus your attention and drop these same questions into your solar-plexus, and see what answers emerge.
Lastly, repeat the process dropping these questions into your sacral chakra, your creative center.
Standing on your feet, knees slightly bent so that your hips sink down and your spine feels long and heavy, allow your hands to rest by your sides and face your open palms forward, as in a position to receive – feel the power in your legs buttocks, and hips, and the weight of your body in your guts. Imagine you are allowed to do or say anything you wish – anything at all – what emerges? Begin with these sentence stems –
I wish for…
and see where the exploration takes you. Use your voice, and feel the depth, power, and resonance of the words you speak in your viscera. If emotion comes up, speak into it directly and allow it to flow. Allow your body to move if you feel it strengthens your connection to the words you are speaking.
Write an open letter to the universe, in which you share, to your heart’s content, absolutely all your wishes, wants, desires, expectations, hopes, dreams, yearnings, secret longings, deepest dreams, holding nothing back. If it helps to create a sense of urgency, perhaps imagine that anything not included in this letter will not be fulfilled – so don’t hold back, even if it feels over the top or embarrassing in any way – allow yourself to feel, connect with, and express your deepest wishes and longings, whatever they may be, and share them with the universe, from the simplest request to the grandest vision.