Amid the difficulties and trials of the pandemic this past year, at least one good thing has emerged: the time to stop and listen. In our pre-pandemic busyness, it was easy to dash ahead with recreation, work, and duties and never pause to notice the little things that make up our days. Several years ago, a reporter experimented with our preoccupation with rushing through our day when he set Joshua Bell up as a violinist in a busy subway station. Hardly anyone stopped to listen! The beauty of his playing was lost amid the urgent.
But these days, most of us do have the margin in our lives to pause, and as we do, we notice the world around us and listen to the background noise of our lives. This noticing and listening require us to still our hearts, to pay attention, and to turn off the incessant background hum of sound, but the rewards are well worth it.
Here are some of the things I am noticing and listening to right now:
- the change in light as the sun rises earlier and earlier each day
- bird song as it greets each morning with joy
- weeds starting to grow again even though my plants are still mostly dormant
- wind blowing through the trees
- connections between ideas that pop up in books and conversation throughout the day
- the dialog between my soul and God in the early morning hours
- the way my cat focuses all of his attention every morning on the spot where the birds hang out
- the sound of silence, heavy and soft, in which I can almost hear my heart beating
- rays of light that fall across my bed each morning as I make it up for the day
- how my heart lies quiet as I stop and stare and wonder, instead of rushing on
- the soundtrack in my neighborhood—dogs barking, birds singing, leaves rustling—as I walk outside after lunch
- feeling the sunshine warm on my skin when I go outside
- seeing the first blades of green thrusting up where my tiger lilies grow
- hearing words that my husband does not say in between the ones he verbalizes
Stop…listen…notice…reflect. These are gifts from the pandemic that came in the midst of the hardship, and I am thankful that I have cut out enough of the busyness to experience them.
What are you noticing and listening to today?
4 thoughts on “Stopping to Listen”
Nice, thoughtful post Joy! I’m listening these days to the sound of the stream in my backyard, the swoosh of the wind in the trees and the rustling of nest builders in my roof gutters telling me that spring is unfolding.
I like the idea of listening for connections. Patterns emerge in unexpected ways when we listen carefully. Thank you for reminding me to do so!
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Patterns and connections are very helpful, but they do require a measure of stillness in our hearts and minds to see them.
I am looking at & listening to my still beautiful wife & faithful friend of 49 years, her hair almost as white as snow, as she putters around the house doing this & that, softly humming a flitting tune – & suddenly a welling up of deathless love, gratitude & remembrance of youth & things lost overcomes me for a moment, just for a moment…
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That is so lovely! Thank you for sharing your noticing and remembering.