Sunday, January 2, 2011

word of inspiration: listen

On New Year's Eve, in my kitchen as I was making a pot of tea with dried rose petals that my sister-in-law, Zeina, gave me before I left Lebanon this summer, sprigs of fresh lavender from the garden planter I brought into the house before the night frosts, and a bag of bramble and strawberry leaves and linden flowers, my sister was telling me that rather than a New Year's Resolution, the buzz on blogs was about having a one word inspiration to set the course for your creative and spiritual focus for the coming year.

"Oh," I immediately said, "I know my word. My word is LISTEN."

From my red 1969 Webster's Dictionary:

list, [Original form of listen, which is a lengthened form from A.Sax. hlystan, to listen, from hlyst, hearing, like Icel. hlusta, to listen, from hlust, an ear, allied to A.Sax. hlosnian, to hear; W. clust, an ear; L. cluo, Gr. kluo, to hear; and to E. loud.] To hearken; to attend; to listen--listen, lis'n. To attend to closely with a view to hear; to give ear; to hearken.

Here is my list of 10 things to Listen to, although I am sure that Listen will bring me what I need to Listen to, unasked and unexpected. Nevertheless, as a start to listening, here is my list for Listen:

1. listen to what someone is saying. Without interrupting. Without distractions. Without multi-tasking. Without trying to make him or her feel better. Without telling him or her what my opinion is on it. Just listen with intent to another person voicing what she or he wants to say.

2. listen to what other people are not saying. Listen to their silences. Listen to long pauses between words. Listen to what is left unsaid. Accept the silence. Let the silence be. Attend to silence.

3. listen to the rustle of birds' wings as they fly overhead; listen to the winter chirping of purple finches, chickadees, and sparrows; listen to the croak of crows; listen to the many trickster callings of starlings.

4. listen to my inner voice of wisdom. Listen when she speaks as a young girl. Listen when she speaks as an old woman. Listen when she scolds. Listen when she guides. Listen when she speaks from a place of experience. Listen when she speaks from joy. Listen when she laughs. Listen when she howls like a wolf. Listen when she twitches her ears like a rabbit.

5. listen to elderly Finnish Canadian people speaking Finnish.

6. listen to poems, to the sudden breath-stopping surprises unleashed from their words

7. listen to random phrases: baby cardinals; begin to write; dress myself with snow; open the window; stirring the stars; it's nearly night again; begin recording your dreams; visited by owls; moon like a canoe; shedding pink petals

8. listen to things that are not normally seen as speaking to us: trees, a street, clouds, the river flowing under the ice, the haunted moaning of the ice by the lake shore, dog paws padding on packed snow, the squirrel munching a maple key, the wind creeping through cracks in this old house; the snow, drifting

9. listen to curiosity when she comes by. Listen to her when she comes dressed as an old Italian man who lives alone with hummingbirds in his front porch, pigeons in his eaves, and tears in his eyes.

10. listen to breath.


marja-leena said...

Wonderful, inspiring list! I'm bookmarking it to revisit, thank you, Taina. Oh, and I wish I could here some Finnish spoken around me.

Merche Pallarés said...

Yes, absolutely necessary to listen to all you have said so beautifully. It's Poetry at its best. Hugs, M.

Katja Maki said...

Listen. What a wonderful sense! Who knew listening can be so deep and complex except for you, my dear sister. Your listening entails more than listening with the ears you are listening with your eyes, heart, and soul. Thank you for this awakening!

northshorewoman said...

thank you, women. Have a special day listening to the unexpected!

Rauna said...

Hyvää ja antoisaa uutta vuotta Taina! Inspiring and wonderful New Year to you and family and thank you for your uplifting post! I've tried emailing you but to no avail - do you have a new email address?

northshorewoman said...

hello, Rauna! Funny you should drop me a line; I tried calling you a few weeks back to see what was up with you but there was no answer. My york u acct is no longer active; try my yahoo one or Facebook.

talk to you soon,