Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
H is for…
hearken – listen. First known usage before 12th century.
There’s so much to hear in our world – joyful, important, meaningful things but we have to filter out the extraneous noise and chatter and the ever-increasing dissonance.
We all have to find our own way with this. But I know for myself I need a large buffer of silence in my life, so I can really listen for the things that light me up. So I don’t keep myself plugged into social media non-stop; I don’t feel obligated to answer the phone if I’m in the middle of a project and don’t want to lose my momentum; and I definitely don’t feel like I have to answer emails and messages instantaneously. There are actually very few critical things populating our daily lives and I think it’s important to remind each other of that. I wholeheartedly encourage you to welcome more of what makes you feel whole and good and vibrant, and be relentless in turning away from what doesn’t.
I think Anne Sexton had it right with her admonishment: “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”
Can you even begin to imagine how different our world would be if everyone actually did that?
I’ve long had a monthly practice in which I listen for a poem or a quotation that really calls to me for deeper contemplation and consideration. And then sometime during the month I create a piece of art or a talisman or something tangible as a reflection of that contemplation. I find the practice quite satisfying, as it feels both like a deep listening and then a co-creative effort – dancing with the energy and finding an expression for it.
Throughout my life, I’ve often returned to these words from Rumi, which feel extraordinarily powerful to me:
Here’s a photo of a little altar piece I created for listening.
It’s a wonderful piece of geothermal quartz, a geode, and inside I’ve rolled up a tiny scroll with an intention on the ways I want to listen. I love how the scroll sort of mimics the outer form of the ear and also represents the snail-shape of the cochlea deep within the ear. And it delights me that the opening into the piece of quartz itself is rather ear-shaped and lined with druzy. I like imagining our ears like that – we get to filter what we hear through our own field of sparkling brilliance. Just as I don’t think any of us sees exactly the same thing, I don’t think we hear the same things either. We’re all filtering through our own unique soulness.
I can’t help but share one final quote that amuses me and underlines how challenging it can be to live in this world and try to honor our devotions as well. Louise Erdrich once said: “Even when I’m writing, I’m listening for crows.” I being an unapologetic lover of crows think this sounds like a perfectly reasonable, even wonderful thing to do. I discovered however, she was speaking about how she struggles with distraction while writing. It made me laugh. Which seems to me is a very good sound to listen to, don’t you agree?
What is it you’re listening to today? Is it something that makes your heart sing? Do you need to lean in a bit closer? Do tell – you know I love to listen.