Listening and Not Listening

Sunrise this morning (The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you…)

Sunrise this morning (The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you…)

Each time I write about Listening, more ideas for future posts bubble up. Now I have a long list of topics around Listening and am trying to trust some organic process to know what to write about next and how to organize and shape this project. One thing I really like about blogging is you can jump around a bit or a lot. But still, decisions must be made. And I woke up (before dawn) with a question about where to go next. Do I continue in an organized fashion and discuss another condition for Listening? Or do I cut to the chase, so to speak, and say more about where I am ultimately heading with this topic, to what is so juicy about all this for me, but which in writing about it, also leads me to feeling more vulnerable and exposed? Each side presents its case and argument, back and forth. And then a third voice enters the fray saying, “Give it up. Who cares either way? ”And the other voices stop dead in their tracks as this voice carries on with a flood of insults. “How did you ever believe you have anything new to offer anyway?” And so on, until my heart feels heavy and I feel I have lost all interest in carrying on with the project at all. I seek a form of distraction.

But before I can find one, another voice pipes in, “Get a grip!” This voice is new to the hubbub. “It doesn’t even matter if anyone else thinks it is important. YOU DO! Don’t worry if you are saying anything new. Just write. And it doesn’t matter which topic you choose to write about next. You can figure it out as you go.” OK then.

And shortly after, I received an email from dear friend, Krista, with her thoughtful observations and questions about my previous post, the gist of them being, ‘but there are toxic voices as well. Surely we don’t listen to all of those. We need to set boundaries...

Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for helping me clarify, Krista. I don’t know about you (who are reading this), but I feel bombarded at times by voices and messages from outside and inside of me. I can’t listen to all of them and it would be so harmful for me if I did. Ultimately it comes down to trusting myself to discern which voices are the crucial ones, and which speak from a deeper place. I am not suggesting only the positive ones are worth listening to, but which ones ring true and are life supporting?

As Krista also noted, these are often the quietest ones, the silent ones even. And if I may, Krista, I would like to quote you again:

“We have a lot of loudness around us and it is okay to turn the volume down and give space to the things (trees, rivers, insects) that cannot speak directly to us.”

Oh yes! Which is close to the heart of what I am really hoping and trying to write about.