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Posts Tagged ‘Listening’

To listen and be heard

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

By Gwynne Guzzeau, Executive Director

Here at GISC, the sun is out. Fourteen professionals from as far as California, Sweden, Wisconsin and Denmark or as close as Wellfleet gather for their 7th day of training to learn the Cape Cod Model – our Center’s process for helping people and teams change.

Five years ago, I was in their seat as a participant and fortunate to have our founder, Sonia Nevis in the room. An avid note-taker, keen on capturing the words from each faculty member, I’ve saved my notebooks and I’ve decided to share some of the nuggets from our Cape Cod Training Program teaching.

Let’s start with the check-in – the first 15-20 minutes of each day when participants sit together with faculty in a large group to discuss any questions or thoughts that are present from the previous day’s work. Even in these seemingly mundane moments, we were being taught that “Gestalt is a way of looking at the world and thinking about your life.” Check-in is important “to get something out of your head” so we can start where we are today.

The notes that follow are what I need to do this morning to start my day with a full sense of connection to the current participants, to the teaching and learning that inspired greater range and growth in my own life, and to the creative urge that the sun – after many days of rain – has inspired within.

Day 2 comments from Sonia:

You cannot feed your own soul. Connecting is food. To have listening and to be heard is food. The basic principle of how the world is better is to really listen and to really be willing to be heard.

Sonia went on to emphasize that “the learning that takes place at GISC is getting more and more skilled at reaching other people and listening.”

And the words flowed in through my ears, my eyes, my hands as I wrote furiously to capture her specific point of view:

If there’s only one person, it’s self-reflective. We are in relationship with the past and our Self. But all you can do is repeat the same thing. We can’t continue growth without another person. We develop to the extent that we allow ourselves to be in contact with the environment.”

These notes from our founder’s voice make me wonder:

What’s the optimal blend of sunshine and support to foster new growth in your life today?

If “no one person is making an experience happen” then join me in a virtual conversation and leave a comment below.


Spring is trying hard to get here

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

By Sonia Nevis


While I was waiting for the warmth of Spring, a friend sent me a letter about a magazine that she has been reading. She was sure I would like the magazine a lot and she was right.

The magazine is the Sun and it has published 448 issues (P.O. Box 5837, Harlan, IA, 51593).  What I liked about it is that it has an eccentric point of view and it often upsets comfortable ways of established thinking.


Reading it in my cozy chair, I began to have images of my early life.  One of my favorite habits had been to sit alone in a restaurant and pretend to be reading a book while I listened to all the conversations around me.  Real conversations.  Where else would I have learned so much?


These are some of the things I heard that I never would have known:


1.     You really didn’t even leave him a note?

2.     How could you not even leave a note?

3.     Oh, come on, I was twenty-five.  I was a baby.


4.     He broke up with me in Prospect Park. Took me there so he could do it in public.

5.     In public?


6.     Hey, I spent four days on a camping trip in a tent.

7.     Oh, Jesus, a tent.


8.     No, it was great, then he totally disappeared.


9.     Excuse me, I’m sorry but I am trying to read.


10.  I know that look on his face.  I’m going to pretend I’m not judging him.


This is the way I learned how to listen, for many a year.  I liked being able to take in what people talked about and how they talked to each other.


In my home or in my school I learned much less than what I learned for so many years just drinking in what I saw and what I heard.


I counted up 53 things that people said to each other that I just read in the Sun.  I enjoyed reading them all and I’m writing this to you so that you know what I mean by “learning.”  But, truly, what I wish the most is that I could listen to all of you and drink in and learn from you.


Take good care of yourself and of each other.






Also, thanks so much, my friend, for having found this magazine.  I am enjoying it so much. That you thought to send it to me, somehow knowing that listening is what made me who I am, has touched my heart.


Gestalt International Study Center
P.O. Box 515, South Wellfleet, MA 02663
Phone: +1 555 123 4567