|Listen! Unsplash Photo|
My word this year is "Listen!" I have made a commitment to be a more attentive listener, to lean in and listen--
I have written before of Julia Cameron's method of doing Morning Pages. When I do them, I value mornings as a quiet time for me and a good time to write. Does the following Bible passage appeal to your writerly self? God, through Isaiah, spoke to me. I listened. Here it is from The Message, as translated and expressed by Eugene H. Peterson.
The Master, God, has given me
a well-taught tongue,
So I know how to encourage tired people.
He wakes me up in the morning,
Wakes me up, opens my ears
to listen as one ready to take orders.
The Master, God, opens my ears
and I didn't go back to sleep,
didn't pull the covers back over my head.
I followed orders . . ."
This past week, while the Norwegian and I were driving to Edmonton for an early appointment, we watched the sun come up. I "oohed and aahed" about the shifting clouds and changing colours as daybreak unfolded. When we got home that evening, I listened to "Morning" from Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg another good Norwegian.
|Sunrise--Photo by Alex Siale of Unsplash|
One of the best thing we can do for someone is to listen to him or her. Lean in and really listen. Listening shows respect. It's putting down my cell phone or stepping away from my computer and giving someone my undivided attention. I am listening with love. I am listening to how they feel, to their body language. I am listening to what they might not be saying.
|Papa and Lacey listening to each other|
I plan to listen more closely to my husband, my adult kids, my grandchildren, my friends, the clerk at the grocery story, the new person in church, our priest when he speaks, our song leaders when they sing.
It's so easy, however, to get busy and forget that I am entitled to listening time myself, time to enjoy my favourite music, time to write, time to laugh and play. Time to honour what is important to me. Time to be creative. Time to put those ideas down before they disappear.
|Listening to my heart|
Giving myself this kind of time is listening to my heart. I see I have some priorities to set and some time management rules to lay down. Dear Lord, I'm going to need some help here.
To My Body.
I need to listen to my body. A tired body deserves rest. When other demands on my time and energy come, I need to know when to say, No. When I am sick, I need to take care of myself. This is true if I am feeling physically or mentally ill, as in dealing with depression. (I have experience, i.e. a "well-taught tongue" in regard to depression.) It is counter productive to look after others when I neglect myself.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the drive to the city this week when I could watch the sun rise. I noticed and I listened to to the sunrise and that instructed me to listen to "Morning Song" in the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg, which I am doing as I write. (Google this if you wish.)
I can listen to nature while walking outdoors any time of year. In the summer, I need time to sit under a tree or beside a stream. Did you know that you can "Improve mental health by exposure to trees and nature"?
|Writing among the trees and overlooking the lake|
This is the heading for an interesting online article on the benefits of trees and nature on mental health. (Look it up if your interested.) I will take more time to listen and savour God's wonderful creation that is here for each of us.
In this busy world, do you, like me sometimes crave silence or go looking for it? Silence can be beneficial and powerful. Many people enjoy the constant buzz of activity and noise. I, on the other hand, regularly seek silence. Silence strengthens and empowers me.
Warning: If you are an appreciator of silence, West Edmonton Mall is not for you. If you have a migraine, do not go near W.E.M. No quiet places exist in West Edmonton Mall. I tried the mall once when I had a migraine. That day, I thought compassionately about the mall workers. The constant ear-splitting music. The thumping beat. The jangle of bells and whistles in the arcades. The water fountains producing thundering, artificial-sounding noise.
I need a certain amount of quiet, but too much silence can also be deafening. When my husband has been in the hospital for several days at a time, our home is too quiet. (For more on this topic, google "Listening to Silence"by Dr. Samineh I. Shaheem.)
Dear Lord, help us listen for the good stuff, avoid what rattles our nerves and respond appropriately to what you or others are saying to us.