A recent solo journey through the streets and galleries of Paris revealed to me yet again, how self-judgement is a sneaky jerk! The inner critic can hide as ingredients in your breakfast, lurk in dark corners, overshadow sunny picnics, and loves to syphon your energy surreptitiously; leaving you more tired and vulnerable at the end of the day.
Technically it’s born of the survival instinct to keep you safe. Akin to the concept of keeping you alive it is hyper-vigilant to (perceived) threat, so it also detests change and growth. Sometimes we call it resistance, sometimes it goes by the inner critic, but always self-judgement is an aspect of it’s distinct voice.
As our lives have become so safe and comfortable in the modern world of privilege, it’s function is no longer constantly needed to detect true danger; so, it gets bored and starts shooting fish in a barrel.
“You did that wrong again!? Crap, you missed the deadline, I can’t believe you submitted a spelling mistake; can’t you even pick a decent shirt to wear? You were supposed to be farther along by now. What’s wrong with you?” And it goes on and on and on. These Familiar refrains are the overarching battle cry marching through your consciousness. It thrives on a steady diet of anxiety and fuels self-doubt.
Shame can be a big culprit here, along with ego, unresolved trauma, learned behaviours; these things serve to amp up the judgemental critical voice.
You judge things you want to reject in yourself.
Often your vulnerability.
It is exhausting. And discouraging.
So how can you stay wise to this sneaky jerk and its ways?
Dispel its discouraging effect?
In a simplistic way, to counterbalance it, stay connected to a source that encourages you. Ultimately, that can be where the voice of your own self-compassion takes charge. We need to cultivate our sovereignty, especially in what we choose to focus on.
Stay connected to a source that encourages you while you strengthen this inner voice. It is the essence of how to stay in your courage—how to build your courage.
This life requires a great deal of courage.
Your personal work demands a great deal of courage from within you.
With all the pain and upheaval in the world, humans continue to enact history from a place of polarities-creating instability and a climate dominated by fear. These polarities are not only ‘in
the other’ ‘out there’ but in fact, live within you.
Stay true to your intention and trust you have what it takes. Bit by bit, you build strength in increments. Courage amplifies through engagement,
it grows through taking action.
It is easy to get triggered and give up,
Turn away in anger, hurt or righteous indignation--
But where does that shadow defensiveness take you?
Right back to the stuckness, The old programming of the wound.
The place of flatness, the restless you,
who can’t quite reach what you need--
To get past this frustration, is a solo journey within.
Because, in order to grow we must stretch beyond what is currently comfortable. And this is where the inner jerk shows up in fear and pumps up the volume. Simply choose to listen to a different tune.
As I observed in my travels how sneaky the critic was,
I could then shift it. Confront it. Release it.
Speaking your truth in kindness requires courage.
Setting healthy boundaries takes courage. Showing up for yourself,
for your family, for your partner—takes courage.
Show up vulnerably -with an open heart - a willingness to be changed. That is the edge of your courage.
You are braver than you know,
Valentine’s brings up the theme of love, often sold to us in a costume of pink toxic nostalgia. In order to deepen the experience, we have to step out of marketing schemes of bottled romance and start first, with ourselves. Loving ourselves more completely, our self-worth deepens by one, keeping our promises to ourselves. Not neglecting self-care. Understanding our own boundaries so we can then show up more fully in our relationships. More vital, attuned, loving.
How well do you care for yourself? What is it you avoid most?
Are you in pain every day? Oftentimes, we don’t even realize the pain we're in because we move so fast--we move so fast, so we don't have to feel that pain—or feel anything. We think so fast, so we don't have to feel the pain; we talk so fast, we eat so fast, we drink so fast, and we drive fast....
We just go, go, go because we don't want to realize we're in pain. We’re in pain, whether it is our own or feeling the effect of everything going on in the world.
We may feel alone, we feel separate, we feel judged, or attacked, yet we know in our bones it's not our true nature. Unconsciously we feel guilty, and alone. This is how resistance to our light and love shows up. This is how we unwittingly block love.
We become blocked to the presence of love because we become so faithful to the presence of fear.
Judgment, attack thoughts, fear, a feeling of separation, they all block us from the connection we long for. Resistance arrives. Our unconscious safety mechanism-designed to avoid pain, yet it keeps us stuck.
Life is the perpetual dance between our greatest desire and our greatest fear. We might feel, ‘everybody else has it under control but we don’t....’ so we create blocks. Often unwittingly. Sometimes intentionally.
When we feel this doubt, loathing, and judgment, we have simply forgotten the love we have within us. We have forgotten the power of gratitude, appreciation, tenderness, joy, kindness and creativity that are all within us.
What needs to be released to come home to your radiance? Your light?
To come back to the knowing of the body?
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness
the astonishing light of your own being.”
We all have the same problem—resistance, fear. And we all have the same solution; which is that we can return to love. To compassion. We are in this together. Focus on loving yourself and being compassionate in community, whether you are single, coupled, throupled or undetermined.
What if you broaden the definition of love and understanding love as a cosmic force of nature. Care. Awareness. Respect. A flow state. This Valentine’s ask yourself, ‘where are you blocking love? Unwilling to receive care from yourself or another?’ Our lives are shaped by the questions we are willing to ask.
If you are lonely, Ask yourself, what can you do for another? If you are in a strained relationship, think of a way to extend the olive branch and some deeper appreciation to them. If you are coming to terms with the completion of a relationship, soak in all you've learned from that experience.
Adding up your subtle shifts can create radical transformations. Keep your promises to yourself, and have your own back first.
Affirmations for the week ahead:
I release any negative energy that I no longer want to be in.
I stretch beyond my limiting beliefs...
I choose to love myself fully.
I make love a habit; I see my relationships through the lens of love.
Feeling my feelings sets me free.
Rest restores me to my highest self.
If you want something new to listen to try this podcast episode on "Have You Considered?"
And if you are looking for a relationship tune-up to support your couples therapy or simply tweak your connection to the next level of intimacy check out my 21-day Couples Tune-Up Online Course here:
Couples Tune-Up - NORMA HOEPPNER (soulbrush.ca)
Not all great love stories involve humans.
With so much encouragement,
P.S. Please feel free to pass this along to any friends or colleagues you feel might be interested or benefit.
On the threshold of spring equinox and another change of season, check in with yourself –where are you stagnant? Feeling resistance? Where are you joyous? Are you beginning to feel the life force flowing stronger again, just as the sap in the sugar maples has begun to run, with sweetness and nourishment.
I’ve had a particular fascination with liminal space in the past 4 months. This space between endings and a new beginning. Simply letting myself lean in, allow and explore. Sometimes we find ourselves there, through no choice of our own. Leading gently with meditation and reflection as the tools to ask ourselves, ‘how does it feel to navigate psychological liminal space?’
What am I even talking about you ask?
Liminal is latin for threshold. In architectural terms it is spaces between; doorways, hallways –places of transit or holding. Liminal space refers to a place or person enduring a transitional phase or period. It refers also to rites of passage –anthropologically and psychologically. Marriage, divorce, childless to a child born, death--passages from one place to another—moving, uprooting, unemployment, graduating......
they are times with associated rituals and markers...
New Year’s eve and Birthdays among them.
It’s a gap. In physical form like a doorway, or a hallway that explores transition, or emotional/psychological like a divorce or a death, or metaphysical like a decision.
It’s also a gap, such as the ethereal space between your inhalation and exhalation. A profound part of the breath cycle, when you tap in deeply. Make peace with this space. Breathe more fully into this space.
This is also where metamorphosis happens.
Everything has a beginning, middle and end. Where are you most comfortable? Familiar? It can be unsettling when we are at a place during a time that's not routine. Unknown. Uncertain. The in-between. Out of the comfort zone.
This ‘betwixt and between’ can be unsettling.
The in-between a completion cycle and a new beginning, can often feel like you are suspended. Ungrounded. Even stalled, or stagnant. Expectant...perhaps even a forlorn atmosphere filled with nostalgic notes, full of the energy of both longing and letting go. The liminal space between ‘what was’ and ‘what’s next’.
Liminality: In essence, the experience of early pandemic was a global suspension in liminal space. Society was disorganized and overwhelmed, rife with uncertainty.
There is a psychological need to accord space, time and place for liminal feeling. (Although we often don’t).
As such, there are two main risks associated with liminal space – we either provide no ritual space at all in our lives to digest and integrate’-- or....we stay in it too long. Stuck.
Our cultural tendency is to bypass it altogether, speeding along as we do to the next thing. Ignoring our gnawing feelings and compartmentalizing to a fault.
Take an extra long exhale here.
Check in with yourself.
Do you tend to just, ‘push on’?
Twilight is a perfect example of liminal time –between day and night, emblematic of the middle ground between light and shadow. The polarity of light and shadow ties well to the tension between nostalgia, longing and letting go--
any liminal space requires transitional processing of the individual or group.
If liminal space then, is the space between one destination and the next—(an airport is the architectural holding tank of this concept)—how can you bring more acknowledgement and awareness to whatever passage you yourself are traversing? Completion of a cycle, likely comes with some grief and joy, the old compliment of mixed emotions. Even an ordinary heartfelt goodbye at an airport is usually layered.
Take an extra long exhale here. Check-in with yourself.
Allow. Allow. Allow.
Allow the breath to unleash feelings otherwise being swept away or hidden. These thresholds are significant in our lives, yet also mysterious. Unnerving. Allow the noticing; The honouring of this passage.
Why do we have so much trouble taking deep breaths?
Speed. Tension. Distraction. Overwhelm.
Are you good at taking time for digestion, acknowledgement and processing of cycles?
This space is a tenuous passage in which transformation is allowed to take place.
Allow. Allow. Allow.
At times it can be rough as in the play, “Waiting for Godot,” the characters vacillate between hope and hopelessness. It is a waiting period but different, as only through a condition of liminality can we often finally see the way forward.
If you’re feeling betwixt and between, simply embrace it and allow.
The other night I tried to walk from the car to an unfamiliar house I was visiting, in the dark. It was pitch black. My eyes couldn’t adjust enough to see the path. I looked up at the night sky instead and felt safer under a canopy of familiar stars. How reassuring it was to see Orion’s Belt and the gleaming North Star.
For billions of years, they have provided guidance and light to dinosaurs, our ancestors and now, lucky us. Constant companions we often forget about.
I know for many this time of year is a cauldron of bubbling mixed emotions—everything just feels a little heightened. How do we navigate all that is going on around us and within us, without becoming overwhelmed, numb, or depleted, and ‘going dark’? Here in the north The darkness of December and it’s long cold nights call for longer, deeper slumber.
If you can, allow it.
This is a time for hibernation, our animal instinct and natural rhythms call for it. We tend to override this wisdom and push, push, push through it to keep up, creating false expectations and then feeling anxious or judging ourselves.
My holiday wish for all of us is some quality time with restorative sleep, meaningful self-care and connecting with others in your own community and the broader collective.
Personally, this has been a very painful and draining year. It has also been a year of sharing deep love, tenderness and profound connection. Stretching my resilience and reinventing ‘what does true joy mean in sorrow ?’. Holding peace in one hand and grief in another, and recognizing the aliveness of their co-existence.
Grieving several close deaths and the strain of caregiving added to the usual heavy list of demands found my creative sparks, stamina and verve were waning. With significant loss also comes great recalibration and reflection.
To navigate it all, I knew to pull back, schedule more downtime, although this too was a challenge, and ride it out with patience and tenderness for the toll it takes.
I share this not for sympathy; I am capable and know my limits. Rather, in truth, confirming we are all navigating the human experience. I am no different.
In the right balance by minding one’s boundaries, serving others through the travails provides a certain light and greater hope. It can be a soothing balm to support others through their own challenges. It helps align with gratitude for this wondrous life experience as fuel, no matter the hardship one is facing.
This also demonstrates the interconnectedness of humanity. We are all dealing with joys and sorrow intermingled, and we heal in connection with others.
Our own light guides the way when we fan the flame with gentle nourishment, rather than snuff our spark by trying too hard.
You know the magic of starting a fire and the thrill when it takes and you hear the first crackle?
Fire and warmth bring hope. They bring comfort in the dark and cold. They are a primordial thread to the beginning of human time.
A single candlelight can be a beautiful alternative and throws a lot of light.
A surprising amount. Absolutely enough to guide you through a dark night of the soul, or down the path back home again, weaving hope with grace through the darkness.
Post solstice, we now turn toward the growing light, ever so slowly, and trust that it is indeed the natural order of things.
In Joy and Peace,
When was the last time you actually walked away from all of it?
The noise. Blinking cursors, beeping notifications,
I mean... really didn’t have that cell phone on your person or in reach?
Or that Apple Watch? Yeah...that too.
Insert a minute of silence here. Go ahead, I dare ya!
Ah! Slow exhale. If you actually did it, you would feel a different awareness.
Let me address some Selfcare confusion because we all need attunement and reminders. We can all feel wiped out a little too often. Like our clarity is foggy and slowed down.
When that happens, remember the IT tagline...
"Have you tried turning it on and off again?"
We all know this is the trick when tech has gremlins, freezes or goes kaput.
Yet we forget this trick is what our own nervous system needs daily!
(Like when you feel a little zoom fragmented.)
Do you have a daily practice of truly unplugging?
When I reference self-care it’s more than 10, 000 steps a day, a pedicure or a clean shave. It’s not just presenting well or only about the physical body; sure exercise is essential but quality sleep, playfulness and active rest is also as essential as vita d and b12.
We don’t credit play and rest as adults. And it’s a fatal mistake to our well-being. Pleasure, joy, beauty, downtime... these are all essential ingredients to holistic wellness.
Are you getting enough of any of these things? What about joyful movement? What area of your life do you most neglect?
We get stuck in ruts. Open your eyes to see things differently, reawaken. Travel used to do this for us(and is starting to again).
This is essentially why we LOVE to travel. It awakens our senses our aliveness. We feel braver, more sensual and more vitality. Both Relaxed and excited. (Which is a flow state).
Our thinking becomes clearer we are roomier and more optimistic in our outlook. We return more appreciative for our amazing life and opportunities and home. The lightness of Appreciation always dissolves darkness.
Appreciation = gratitude.
These energies when really FELT not just thought, deeply shift us. It’s allowing yourself to be moved by gratitude for your own life. Your loved ones. Your morning latte. The night sky. The evening chorus of frogs.
Travel is a circuit breaker in our stale thinking and dulled routine. We simultaneously unplug waning energy and plug back in fully charged.
The next best thing is our imagination. Open your channels of creativity or find someone that stimulates you into new possibilities.
Go to a gallery. A science exhibit. An archeological dig. Do a science experiment. Research a secret passion you never have time for. Take yourself on a trip to your own inner secret world.
Have a conversation with someone you have nothing in common with and stay open and curious about them.
So much is happening all the time, we often don’t get enough space and quiet for integration and exploration of our inner truth.
Yet, space and quiet are essential for self-care.
How do you make space for it? How do you broaden your self-regard, trust and compassion? Set boundaries? Allow some silence into your day?
Don’t agonize, simply organize yourself.
How gentle are you with your mistakes and disappointments? Could you be kinder to yourself?
What’s the belief that prevents this?
Ambitious drive does not have to equal relentless and unforgiving. Self-care and compassion will lead you to greater success however you define that. And make sure to Define it through your own lens.
Divine living is in the design.
Get intentional with your life, how you live your days is how your life unfolds. It matters. How we do one thing is how we do everything.
So master daily self-care and watch your inner garden blossom. Water the seeds and dreams you want to cultivate.
Take inspired action on your wellness. This means not just external goals, it must include:
- learning to unplug, especially when you are stuck or sluggish or stressed out.
(And, getting good at it will avoid those undesirable states.)
Learn to do nothing well at least 15 mins a day guilt-free. Reboot the mission.
(When Your computer forces its shutdowns to reboot and update, instead of the ?#@*&%! diatribe, —try to take notice and do the same reboot!)
Breathe deeply and quell your stress with slow exhalations and a few closed eye body scans,
Drink water; take each sip mindfully and remember you are nourishing and cleansing the inner ecosystem and mirroring in your body what you want to do with the mind.
What about a Creative reboot?
Simply try something new.
Look, we all need reminders, we can all fall off the track of great self-care.
Focus on the long game. Remember it’s progress over perfection.
Please be kind to yourself. This is the greatest gain you will ever make in your quality of life and relationships allowing greater peace and wellness In your body. Your Compassion will always be incomplete if it doesn’t include yourself.
Start with unplugging. Simply turn it on and off again. Shut yours eyes. Exhale.
Ah! See how amazing that feels?!
Now put your feet up for a minute...
Pandemic has been challenging for Couples. If you wish to know more about the Online Couples Course click here or feel free to ask me:
Couples TuneUp - NORMA HOEPPNER (soulbrush.ca)
Hi there. Although I haven't posted a blog for a while, I wanted to wrap up 2021 with a brief reflection surfing the year-end vibes, to encourage a pause in your day; to integrate, to rest, to consider. We generally go at such a breakneck speed, this time of year is excellent to learn from our animal teachers, the bear for one, for much needed hibernation medicine. Slowing down. If you allow it. Give yourself the gift of permission to simply restore thyself this winter passage through solstice and beyond.
I have felt a heaviness all around.
Beyond the darkness lies an uncertainty and longing. There is both my own and those I observe in my work.
Restless limbs reach for comfort in too much emptiness,
Hearts echo hollow with the freedom they dream of ...
‘Yet- "it’s okay", the moon whispers to us through a luminous
tune - shimmering bright on an otherwise dark long night.
It’s really okay, isn't it?
In spiritual practices, it is wise intention setting to create a vibration of
All is well.
All is well.
No matter what dramas and suffering unfold before you, there can be gratitude in the simple act of deep breaths. A reset of your physiology in mere moments. A resourcing of your generous, beating, beautiful heart.
All is well.
All is well most times. Despite it all.
Presence yourself in the moment.
Rooting into your bare feet on the creaking floor. Ground yourself.
Even by the deathbed, holding a fading hand.
Even by the crib, comforting a distressed infant.
It’s all too much and yet, it’s still okay.
All is well.
The chant of mantras wishing into the abundant future of unknowns, scattered like dandelion wisps to take seed. The future, now filled with uncertainties of pandemic designed new realities.
There is no normal anymore.
Yet all is well.
Surely, we have enough, with our feasts and our friendships. How lucky we are. To experience this amazing adventure, to be the ones designing history through this auspicious time of rapid change.
We have our radiant hearts
Our beleaguered hopes
Our phantoms to dance with
Our anger to light on fire for warmth
It’s enough, isn’t it?
All is well.
Let your sorrows be.
They tap you on your shoulder for a reason; Fill your eyes to overflowing because they have no manners, no sense of teatime etiquette-sorrows certainly do not tell the time. Just as the newborn in distress looks for love and comfort, so do we all. We all have within us, the ability to self soothe, to love large, forgive generously and comfort ourselves. We, our deepest, most Loyal and long-standing friend we will ever know. (When we give ourselves permission to love.)
Cherish yourself as a precious offering this season. Even through your doubt. Your grumblings. No need for perfection, take off the mask. You are beautiful and loved there, where your truth shows it’s vulnerability.
All is well.
Here we are together; Gathering our tears, and sorrows, grudges and hurts like a broken string of black pearls for the jeweler,
We wear them so well.
Yet all is well. And always has been. Where do you hide your joys?
Rather string them like popcorn for the tree and light them up!
With My in-breath, I am both grateful and thrilled for this deeply flawed and wonderful life. My out-breath relieves me of pressures and stress and allows me to let go, to simply be.
With a fully surrendered exhale.
Yes it’s okay.
All is well.
Perhaps there remains a heaviness all around. Like stodgy Christmas pudding a strange bitter taste lingers from 2021.
But yes, it’s okay.
All is well.
We will begin again. And we will make it good.
We will release the unsung sorrows, the tense unspoken words and let our soft mammal body unfurl in its longing. Release.
Deep deep sleep calls from the long winter night.
We are tired in our bones. Can you feel it?
Yet all is well.
Wishing you so much joy and wonder,
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....”
This timeless truth was written in 1859 and could be just as true today.
Or, any period in human history. (Outrunning sabre tooth tigers anyone?....)
Life is rarely a cakewalk.
But it can be so much more than the self-defeating limits in which we unwittingly cage ourselves. How do you negotiate Self-doubt vs self-trust? Instead of, ‘I can’t' or 'it won’t work’.... How often do you ask yourself, ‘WHAT IS POSSIBLE?’
Magic. Joy. Light.
What do these words bring to mind for you? What feelings arise?
How do they dance on your tongue? Does your ear welcome them?
Breathe them in.
What images come to your imagination?
We need these aspects to settle our frayed nervous systems.
Light and Dark will always be hand in hand.
What you allow to be stronger within you will depend on a whole lot of forces,
including your context, the toxicity vs the safety of your environment,
your choices or lack thereof, even what you had for breakfast!
You choose whether to entrain with bitterness from being hurt or whether you commit to healing.
It’s a choice whether your heart opens or closes.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, (1859) A Tale of Two Cities
These days, if you think that to be happy and content and have a good life, it should be easy and sunny, then you are going to be challenged, especially moving into fall, more darkness and the 4th wave of the pandemic. This is one of the things I’m feeling really heavily in my bones right now. I don’t know about you but, I need to change my mindset. When I catch these negative thought loops and heavy discouraged feelings, they need attention and self-care.
Since the nights are getting longer, what if the light we need now is a starlight twinkle, rather than a bright sun?
When I was out kayaking this summer, I was enthralled with bioluminescent phytoplankton on a midnight paddle. Have you ever experienced it?
The magical neon blue light flashes against the night ocean as your kayak paddle dips into the inky darkness, carving your glowing signature in its wake.
Your own magical presence dancing with the sea’s hidden mysteries.
This is joy. This is magic. This is light.
(‘Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It is a form of chemiluminescence.
Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, ‘...Wikipedia)
This is the miraculous in the everyday. The mundane turned on its head.
Yes, some nights the stars are obscured (and it’s discouraging). Even a luminous full moon can be hidden by dark stormy clouds, and those days we have to go inward and incubate. You have to really explore and discover who you are and what you are going to choose, despite the pain, the reckoning, the proverbial dark night of the soul. These times require you must recharge your own light with self-compassion.
And through these deep challenges, you become resilient and better able to ground yourself and to feel joy and contentment in your being and in your life despite what is happening around you. Despite losing cherished love ones.
Despite negative coworkers and parking tickets.
Despite the weight of the world. Despite it all.
That is when you find that joy is actually sweeter, brighter, lighter, more magical, because of the darkness. Not in spite of the darkness.
The reason light works in a photo is because of the shadows,
the dark contrast, the dimensionality, not just the beautiful light.
We praise the light and ignore the shadow, but both are required.
Don’t hide from what scares you, don’t shun what’s dark and spiteful and lurking within you, it just wants attention. It wants to be noted, it needs to be recognized as the messenger it is for you. Envy, Anger, Fear. The messenger that taps you on the shoulder so you turn and look toward the light.
What if your shadow is also scared of the dark
and needs your help?
So where ever you are on your journey, whether magic seems like a distant concept, or joy isn’t something you’ve connected to for a while; Consider how different it would feel through the darkness to just shine your own starlight.
If that's too much of a stretch right now and you’re not there yet, then carry a flashlight, and let it guide you until you have enough energy in your own battery to begin lighting your path again. Check-in with your own compass.
Then track your north star. This is how you strengthen your voice.
For me, Magic has weaved it’s way through a sorrowful summer. Even with personal grief and loss as an accompanying shadow, light is present and joy visits daily.
A midnight paddle, dancing outdoors under the full moon.
Abracadabra, literally means, “ it will be created in my words’’--so go cast your spell, and speak your truth. This is how you strengthen your voice.
Create your own magic, it is within you to do so.
You are stardust. Literally. *
Are you a good listener?
If I was super honest with you, really, really honest, I'm afraid I would have to admit, (embarrassed as I am by this) that I have become a rather poor listener. Oftentimes, impatient with the world and others, straining to get words in edgewise, planning what to say—distracted by bings, phone beeps, hums, boiling kettle whistles, agendas, time frames, traffic, radio news, the sounds of rushing....
It's not easy to do anymore, it seems. The true art of really listening.
How did we get here? Now don't fret, I don't mean to be including you with the 'we', not specifically anyway, as perhaps you are a rare exquisite listener. And I commend you if you are. It is both a gift and a choice.
There is of course, the sheer miraculousness of hearing to begin with, the miracle of our ears, odd as they appear, and rarely shed attention. WE don't tend to identify them as our best feature and yet...perhaps, they just might be. We likely appreciate our ears, or at least our hearing, when we are speaking with a deaf person whose words are marbled, muffled, fading at the edges like an impressionist painting of words in dim light, blurring into the next one. Or when we have a screaming ear infection—the pain, the amplified beating of our heart through our own ear drum-red with rage-
A deep breath of automatic gratitude will catch us off guard when we are reminded how easy it is to hear, when one is gifted this sense in good health.
Hearing sounds is one thing. Listening is another. An Art. No Question.
Imagine joyful sounds. Top ten. What are yours? Mine would have to include the timeless calming effect of a cat's purr, as well as:
Listening is an art. Literal comprehension is not always required, as any traveller in a foreign land knows; hand gestures, international signs, human facial expressions—the things we listen for instinctively. Listening implies being non-judgmental. Non defensive. This—when the stakes are high and the wounds deep—is one of our biggest challenges. We often turn away in protection; versions of self preservation are well rationalized. Albeit the result is alienating, sometimes punishing—the cool shadow of withdrawal.
NO one benefits when we stop listening.
Disconnection is the result. Especially from ourselves and our deeper heart.
Why do we fear listening, what is it we think we will hear? Perhaps the unbearable truth.
I WONDER....What would it be like if this noisy world was silenced for a day. IF the world was silenced for a day; no gunfire, sirens, beeping, car horns, screaming, yelling, ALARMS, radio announcers, sound bites, sTatiC, jack hammers, heating systems, dogs barking, steaming mad espresso machines, no sound emitted when we sob, rage or laugh.
What would you feel?--If you could silence all?
What would you miss?
Would your own voice intensify? Or would it slow down, find it's softness against the new found quiet, and land gently upon a resting place. Like a feather landing. Astonished. Still.
Imagine the sheer s-p-a-c-i-o-u-s-n-e-s-s.
Can you breathe deeper simply imagining this? The noise ceasing—the energy you would have freed up by not having to digest and discern a thousand bombarding signals of data an hour--
What if we could give ourselves this luxury for mere minutes a day?
A soul nap.
A tea break for the psyche.
The act of Emptying our crowded selves.
Tension simply draining away after the discordant party blaring in our heads, stumbles home like errant rowdy neighbors, finally quiet.
But – even though silence can be sublime, I would eventually miss the resonance of a teacup gently clicking it's contact point with the saucer—the reassuring sound of hot tea pouring into the cup. These are comforting sounds. Like your lover saying your name. The sound of anticipation itself. The fullness of this life to your own personal soundtrack.
Watching Evelyn Glennie perform on stage, is a humbling marvel. She is a World class solo percussionist—simply astonishing the audience with her virtuosity, in large part 'listening' through her bare feet to vibrations. You see, not only is she a major talent, but she is also deaf. AND, she wins 'the listening as an art form' badge. What an inspiration to behold. Hers is a brilliant lesson in listening.
We too can listen if only we can allow ourselves to get out of the way of our inner noise. Past our ego, our latent wounds hiding in ambush. If we can avoid following the shiny magnetic distractions of the noisy world.
Listening instead to our hearts. Our longing. Our dreams. Our harebrained creative urgings.
Listening to the vibrations of our own being, It then also becomes infinitely easier to listen to our loved ones and to hear their song. Listening heart to heart is the most important thing we will ever do here.
Resonance with our truest vibration is a deeply beautiful thing.
[NOTE TO THE READER: I want to personally thank any and all for ''listening'' to this blog and other posts. I appreciate the offering of your time and attention in this noisy world. I am genuinely grateful for your participation and encouragement, and welcome any vibrations you have to share on your favourite sounds...!!!]