Days of Advent, Quotes, Seasons

Advent Day 14: Season of Listening …

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.
— David Whyte from The House of Belonging


On the Ridge

We can grow by simply listening,
the way the tree on
that ridge listens its branches
to the sky, the way blood
listens its flow to the site
of a wound, the way you
listen like a basin when
my head so full of grief
can’t look you in the eye.
We can listen our way out
of howling, the way the heart
can soften the wolf we keep
inside. We can last by listening
deeply, the way roots
listen for the next inch of
earth, the way the old turtle
listens all he hears into the
pattern of his shell.

That morning, my understanding of listening expanded and I was reshaped yet again. It sounds simple and obvious but it takes time to listen; time for the deeper things to show themselves. Just as we can’t see all the phases of the moon on any one night, we can’t hear the phases of truth or the heart unless we listen for how the truth of feeling grows full and dark and full again over time. Patience, the art of waiting, is the heart-skill that opens the world; the way opening our eyes is necessary in order to see.

— Mark Nepo from Seven Thousand Ways To Listen


Seasons of Listening

I only know there is a time to listen to the whole and a time to listen to the part, a time to listen for how things go together and a time to shut out everything so we can hear what lives beneath our masks. We listen differently if in a quiet wood or on a city street, if eager for daybreak or longing for sunset. We listen one way to what we’ve lost and another way to what we’ve found. I know what a roller coaster of feelings and thoughts the days can become and want to affirm that no one feeling or thought holds the future, though each tries to convince us that it does. Our soul—with its insistence on finding the still point from which it keeps rising—carries us through the seasons of our lives.

This still point under all that keeps moving waits under every season we can imagine. It is the silent center that keeps us sane. It helps to remember that the Earth is the still point around which the seasons turn. Likewise, the seasons of our lives have a common immovable ground, around which the weather of our lives unfolds. We all have different names for this immovable ground, but I call it spirit. Each passing year, we are asked to return to the ground of our spirit in order to go on. Each passing year, we are asked to listen like the seed for our crack of light in spring, to listen like the brook for our soft gurgle in summer, to listen like the leaf for our orange face in fall, to listen like the snow for a quiet place where we can powder down and rest.

— Mark Nepo from Seven Thousand Ways To Listen


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