is for listen
Ssshh. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that listen anagrams into silent.
There’s so much to hear in our world – joyful, important, meaningful things but we have to filter out the extraneous noise and chatter.
Pico Iyer writes:
“We’ve lost our Sundays, our weekends, our nights off – our holy days, as some would have it; our bosses, junk mailers, our parents can find us wherever we are, at any time of day or night. More and more of us feel like emergency-room physicians, permanently on call, required to heal ourselves but unable to find the prescription for all the clutter on our desk.”
I’ve been thinking more and more about that. We have to be our own gatekeepers. To be watchful of what we allow into our world. I think it’s a rather common delusion that somehow we’re going to become more masterful at juggling more – that we’ll find better systems to organize and more efficient practices, and that we just have to hang in there until that happens. Bemoaning that there’s too much coming at us to handle; feeling increasingly frazzled by external demands that make it seem we’re living our lives entirely for others; accepting that chaos is the new norm.
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; I don’t have to answer the email within 30 minutes. There are actually very few critical things populating our daily lives and I think we need to remind each other of that. Welcome more of what makes you feel whole and good and vibrant, and be relentless in turning away from what doesn’t.
Because after all, I think what we’re really here to do as Anne Sexton said so beautifully:
“Put your ear down to your soul and listen hard.”
And because this amuses me, I thought I’d share this vintage illustration from 1793 showing a woman getting her ears pierced.
Look at how it’s labeled – “Ears Bored.” Poor ears – they just need something to entertain them.
But not more noise; not more static; not more demands. What about some beautiful music? Or the laughter of a child? Or the sound of the wind whispering to the tree branches? Or maybe what those ears really crave is the sound of silence.
What are you listening to? Or for? What makes your ears happy? Do tell – you know I love to hear.