Mon, May 17 | Online 4-Session Workshop Series

Compassionate Listening in Polarizing Times

Practicing Challenging Political Conversations with our Hearts Open and our Wisdom Intact

Time & Location

May 17, 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM PDT
Online 4-Session Workshop Series

About The Event

Facilitated by Rachel Eryn Kalish and Susan Partnow

Mondays, May 17 through June 14, 2021 (May 17, 24, June 7 & 14) 

(No session will be held on Memorial Day, May 31st)

4pm - 6:30pm Pacific / 7pm - 9:30pm Eastern

This is a 4-session class. Please note that all participants must attend the first session in order to engage in and support the container of trust which will set the tone for the following three sessions. 

Living in a time of accelerating change and intense political polarization—and with fears of politically motivated violence in the background—we need skills, stamina, and practices to foster healthy engagement. If you are engaging in political conversations with family, friends, community members or on social media, this series will provide support and tools to maximize your effectiveness. 

In a safe and courageous container we will use all of the tools of Compassionate Listening to help each other stay grounded, and focus our energy on having challenging conversations: cultivating compassion for ourselves and others; developing the fair witness; respecting ourselves and others; listening and speaking from the heart.  

Sourced in heart connections and deep values, we will practice how to keep our democracy vital and heal our collective traumas one conversation at a time.  


We will provide a ‘pre-session’ orientation called Taste of Compassionate Listening for those who are new to the practice or who need a review on Monday, May 10th. Then we will meet for four sessions, all on Mondays, from 4 to 6:30 pm PDT (7 to 9:30 EDT), May 17, 24, June 7 and June 14.  

Each class is highly interactive; you will get to observe role plays and then dive in to practice with partners in the group based on issues you are dealing with. Each class will have a lot time for reflection, and hopefully, new insights.

Your facilitators:  Seasoned Certified Compassionate Listeners, Rachel Eryn Kalish and Susan Partnow.


A prerequisite for this course is some familiarity and experience with Compassionate Listening—ideally an introductory workshop or participation in a delegation. If you haven’t had any of these experiences, please sign up for our upcoming Taste of Compassionate Listening on Monday, May 10th, or one of the practice sessions, and/or consider practicing on your own by purchasing our book, Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening


The cost for this workshop series is $200. A limited number of $125 tickets are available for those who require financial assistance in order to attend. $250 tickets are also available for those who would like to support others' attendance.

We are committed to accessibility and sincerely wish for all who wish to attend our workshops to be able to do so, regardless of financial means. Please reach out to us to discuss additional scholarship options if finances are a barrier to your participation.

Your generous donations make our scholarship program possible. If you have the means, please consider donating to our scholarship fund to enable others to attend who otherwise would not be able to do so.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations made 7 days or more in advance of the first session are eligible for a 100% refund. Cancellations made after midnight on May 10, 2021 will receive a tuition credit which may be used towards any future Compassionate Listening course or workshop.

Please note that due to the sacred container of trust which participants build with one another in this course, as well as the cumulative nature of the curriculum, we request that participants make every effort to attend the first session. Should unforeseen circumstances prevent this, your registration will be cancelled and we will apply your tuition as credit toward a future course. Please contact us before the course begins in order to be eligible for a credit.

Event Details

This online course will be held on Zoom. Rather than a webinar where you can tune in at your convenience and listen casually, our workshop is highly experiential and requires your full presence, participation, and commitment to show up without distraction. Please plan to show up in a quiet distraction-free environment, fully present and available to experience the workshop. Please do not join the workshop while in transit (walking, driving, on the bus, etc.), or while multitasking (cooking, working, watching television, etc.).

Breakout rooms will be used to guide participants through our introductory curriculum in small groups. Please connect to the event using a device that has full video and audio capability, and plan to have your video turned on for the majority of the workshop once it begins.* (It's okay to turn your video off temporarily if a background visual distraction occurs.) If you have an accessibility need that will prevent you from attending with video, please let us know during registration so that we can work with you to provide accomodations. Finally, we respectfully request that you attend all sessions possible and commit to listening to the recording for any session missed if unforeseen circumstances arise.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

We are so excited to meet you in the circle!

Participant Feedback for Compassionate Listening in Polarizing Times with Susan Partnow and Rachel Eryn Kalish

“I loved how you collaborated seamlessly between the two of you."

“I'm immensely grateful for the insight and healing that has come to me through your class.”

“[I was] surprised at how much the group bonded and shared in so short a time.”

“This course helped me remember that sometimes the best thing we can do is listen. It also increased my listening skills, and know that I don't always have to voice my own opinions.”

“This class far exceeded my expectations. Susan and Rachel Eryn are masterful facilitators.”


Rachel Eryn Kalish, M.C.

San Francisco Bay Area

Rachel Eryn Kalish, M.C. has over 30 years as a certified compassionate listening trainer, certified mediator, facilitator and trainer in the field of conflict transformation. She has worked with a wide spectrum of business and nonprofit organizations, with families and within communities to increase their capacity to listen deeply, navigate differences, repair broken relationships, and create & implement effective, wise, collaborative decision-making strategies with recognized results. She works on multiple levels: interpersonal, interpersonal, organizational, political and spiritual, balancing visionary thinking with highly sensitive attention to details that can deepen or impede trust and collaboration. She was the facilitator and thought partner in the pioneering Year of Civil Discourse which changed the conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Bay Area Jewish and interfaith communities, inspiring other projects around the country. She is also a certified meditation teacher. Her life’s mission is to bring conflict transformation tools and spiritual practice into our world to increase our capacity for loving, honest, rigorous conversations while maintaining respectful, caring connections. She is a senior consultant and a writer for Blueprint of We California; the principal in Workplace Connections and the co-author of Challenging Conversations, a training program distributed globally by the Ken Blanchard Companies. She is former board president of The Compassionate Listening Project.

Susan Partnow

Seattle, Washington

Susan Partnow, M.A., has catalyzed social transformation for 30+ years from Africa to Guatemala, Cuba to Japan and India. Co-founder of Conversation Cafes, Let’s Talk America, Global Citizen Journey and Seattle Restorative Justice, Susan especially enjoys transforming conflict using Restorative Circles, Open Space, World Café and Appreciative Inquiry. She is a mediator, facilitator, and coach. Author of Everyday Speaking for All Occasions and co-contributor to Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening. Passionately committed to inter-cultural understanding, peacemaking and community building, Susan deeply believes we can and must 'listen our way to wholeness' to find our essential humanity through connection, wise co-creation, and dialogue. She joyfully serves on the Board of Awareness, Courage and Love, dedicated to combatting loneliness and building meaningful relationships. Susan has been an essential part of Compassionate Listening from its earliest days, one of the very first trainers, co-creator of the core practices and the advanced training. Check out

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