"Listen with your whole body, not only with your ears, but with your hands, your face, and the back of your neck." Natalie Goldberg
As I read this quote by Natalie Goldberg that begins today's reflection (in Open Mind: Women's Daily Inspirations for Becoming Mindful), I realize that sometimes I don't even listen very well with my ears, let alone with my hands, face and neck.
I listen and I think about what I will say in response; or how bad this migraine pain is going to get; or whether I remembered to turn off the iron; or any of a vast number of things that I let distract me. The reflection draws me to see that real listening, deep listening, both puts me in the moment (in the Now, as Eckhart Tolle would say) and in a place close to meditation.
Diane Mariechild describes a pianist at a concert of the Women's Philharmonic:
"She played with her whole body. When she wasn't playing, she listened to the orchestra with her whole body. She lifted her head and drank in the music through every pore of her skin."
Imagine paying attention, being present, listening like that. It makes me want to go out and stand under the dogwood tree that my husband tells me is beginning to bloom; to drink in its presence with my whole body; to be so utterly present to the moment and that tree that I take it in through the pores of my skin.
What will you do to practice such listening, such presence?
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Carol D. Marsh
- With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90 days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.