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.
Listening is a real skill, and one not everyone has. That quartz is very beautiful, and eerily like an ear.
What a beautiful word : hearken. I really like your practise. I feel, if we really look and listen, we’ll always find that one word/verse that will speak to us.
I agree – eyes, ears, and hearts open.
I’ve loved some of the Louise Erdrich quotes I’ve read. I’m listening to the cat scratch on the door of her kitty room. I have pest control people coming and she needs to be away from the spray. However, she is very unhappy about that and her loud displeasure is definitely grating on my nerves.
Poor kitty. Poor you. It sounds like you’ll both need treats after the spraying is done.
I love that altar piece! Hidden scrolls are such fun.
I think you’re a kindred lover of secret messages and hidden pockets, Janet. 🙂
Hearken is a wonderful word!
Oh, I love crows too! I talk to the ones that meow at me from the cedar trees. Yes, they pretend to be cats!
LOL – crows are awesome. I certainly caw to mine, but it seems you have a lot more flexibility and can meow talk yours as well. How fun!
What an excellent practice that is! I love your manifestation of the Rumi quote and how you spun the Erdrich (I love her writing!) quote for your own uses.
I’m listening to you today, through this post and yes, my heart is humming a tune 🙂
My “H” Jethro Tull song is here:
Oh, a humming heart! How does it get better than that?!
hearken to the earth I say and there so many ways in which she speaks/sings ….
through wind rain and lightning ,thru crows and magpies, through waves and leaves rustling..
My practice when I remember is to stop in the moment and drink deeply … fill up with the impressions- smell taste sight song whatever it is whether that moment is nature or a marketplace. paying attention is a balm nourishing our soul.
I love this word and suggest you are an excellent hearkener Deborah.
Yours is a lovely practice Sandra. Spring is slowly arriving here where I am, and just overnight, the first of the trees began budding with that unique-to-Spring luminescent green. I absolutely feel compelled to keep breathing it in, drinking in as much as I possibly can, allowing it to fill my very cells like the magical elixir it is. “Soul balm” indeed!
Thank you for treading my way. This space you have is my ‘find’!
Be sure of seeing me around. often 🙂
I have a great fondness for bees, Bee, and it delights me you’ve come for a visit.
Peaceful and meditative post! I love your way to listen, then create your interpretation. Sure, it would be a better world 😉
Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué
Thank you Frédérique. A peaceful, meditative, listening world feels like such a nourishing place.
Your post causes me anguish…I love the earlike appearance of your scroll and I love these shamanic intention scrolls but I much a si love the idea, I struggle with things I cannot understand. I used to do the Mythic Tarot and I know that the readings would not have worked for a different question and I don’t understand how that works. I read Carlos Casteneda’s Teachings of Don Juan and I loved all that being apprenticed to a shaman and making charms et al. I just can’t take it for real. I see your lovely website and writings but I just can’t let myself go. My step-daughter calls me a materialist but I prefer to say that I am simply not a supernaturalism.
Anyway I loved your earlike scroll and I agree absolutely about listening and I feel you expressed it perfectly…
Oh Andrew, you comments make me smile, although I truly am sorry about the anguish part. I think it’s perfect that you know yourself as a “not supernaturalist.”
It strikes me as one of the beautiful gifts of life is that we can sometimes walk alongside those with whom we are not totally in resonance, and forge a harmony that deepens not only our respect for one another, but offers opportunities for self-acceptance that might not come as easily another way. Again and again and again, I return to words of Ram Dass: “we’re all just walking each other home.”
I kept nodding yes, yes, and ‘me too’ while reading the second para of this perfect post. I’m often drawn to big buffers of silence.
Loved this : “we get to filter what we hear through our own field of sparkling brilliance.”
Rumi’s exchange of tongue for ears brings me to tears. Why can’t I be more like Rumi?
Your altar piece is so evocative of listening that it looks like poetry. Precious.
Beloved transcendent Rumi. How lucky we are that his poetry has survived!
A new word for me. Thanks for sharing.
My pleasure. And thanks for stopping by Hennie.