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Skyros Blog

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Principles & Practice of Co-Listening and Oekos

by Dina Glouberman, Skyros Co-founder (

Both Co-listening and Oekos (Greek for “home”) are powerful communication experiences of creative talk and creative listening. They offer the opportunity to think aloud in the presence of another who is fully present, and through this to come to more understanding and even resolution.

Co-listening is in pairs and Oekos in groups of up to 8. Both evolved in Skyros Holidays as ways of strengthening a key principle of the Skyros community, to be ourselves in the presence of another, and to make sure that everyone in the community has an opportunity for “real talk” and “real listening.”

They were originally influenced by the communication approach of Humanistic Psychology. They have become invaluable as a takeaway from Skyros to bring into everyday life, whether with other Skyros friends, or with people you teach it to. Please also see my video on co-listening and oekos available on facebook live:

Key Principles


What happens in Oekos and co-listening is confidential. You cannot identify anyone as having shared something. It is possible to mention that something someone said that affected you as long as there isn’t any way to identify the person who said it. 

Equal time

Everyone has equal time, even if you sit in silence for that person. This helps create safety in the group and avoids people going into their habitual roles (needing to speak a lot or being too willing to give space to another). You decide in advance how long that is.

Eyes Open and Eyes Closed

Try it at least once talking and listening with eyes closed. It is very powerful to cut out distraction and really fully focus on your talking or listening.

Creative Talking

When it is your turn to speak, rather than recounting what you’ve planned or are thinking about, throw away whatever is on top of your mind and open a space to see what emerges.  Be as surprised as the listener by what comes up. This is a powerful way to learn what is going on for you and to reach some kind of resolution.

Creative Listening

When you are the listener, you are there just to listen and be totally present. You don’t need to “help” in any way. Just listen and be totally unconditionally present and you are offering a great gift..

Sending Love

At the end of each person’s sharing, we say, “We are sending you love; we are seeing you in the light of love”

Feedback and Sharing

This can happen after each sharing or at the end. It needs to be timed as well. There are strict rules: No interpretation. (You said this because) No advice. (Why don’t  you…) No criticism. (You’ve got it wrong) No rescuing (telling them they are ok). The person who was speaking always has the final word on what their speaking meant.

Co-Listening: the structure

  1. Arrange time and date for sessions: daily in Skyros, but at home it may be weekly or fortnightly. Can be done in person or online.

  2. Both people have timers, and the listener times. Equal time is essential.  Can be for example 3/5/10 minutes each.

  3. Experiment talking and listening with eyes closed at least once to see how it works.

  4. The listener says “Let us both breathe 3 times, tune into ourselves, into each other, and back to ourselves again. I invite you to throw away what is on top of your mind and see what emerges…”

  5. Send Love: the Listener says “I am sending you love, I am seeing you in the light of love”

  6. Switch roles

  7. After both have had a turn, a chance for feedback (not longer than the sharing): “What I was left with was….”, “What I felt was…”, “What resonates with my own experience is…”, (And not rescuing, criticism, interpretation, or advice)

Oekos Group: the structure

  1. One person facilitates and one does the timings. (rotate this for different meetings). Decide on the time for sharing and the time for sending love. For example, 3 minutes sharing, 1 minute sending love, and 1-minute switching person is 5 minutes per round, which in a group of 8 is 40 minutes. Plus, a final 10 minutes of open sharing, for example.

  2. You can decide to either rotate around the group (left or right) or let people share in any order (which takes a little longer while people decide who goes next). The Facilitator says “Let us breathe 3 times, tune into ourselves, into each other, and back to ourselves again."

  3. With each person: a) And then to each person when they share “I invite you to throw away what is on top of your mind and see what emerges…”, b) Sending love: the facilitator says “We are sending you love; we are seeing you in the light of love”

4. Open sharing at the end in whatever time remains.

  1. You can say how what you heard that touched you (not what you thought)

  2. You can clarify what you were left with

  3. You can share about what the group has in common and the differences.

Doing Oekos and Co-listening can be life changing. Don’t miss the opportunity!


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