“You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.”
– Alan Watts, Shirin Yoku website
As I become aware of what actions, behaviors, habits and practices are life-giving for me, I find that I am drawn to spend more and more time in nature. In the mornings, I feel compelled to breath deeply the air as I leave the house, open my window when I am commuting, slow down enough to bask in a moment of sunshine before I enter a building.
The more time I spend in world of nature, the richer my interactions become. A sunset will fill me with a sense of emanating warmth. Mornings of low-hanging fog over dewey grass will fuzzy my sense of here and there. Soft blankets of grass will move me to visceral connection, my fingers (or toes) moving through the strands.
“The power of ritual is profound and under-appreciated. Mostly, I think, it’s because we live in a time-starved culture, and ritual is time-indulgent. Who can afford the luxury of doing one thing at a time? Who has the patience to pause and honor an activity before and after we do it? We all should.”
-Peter Bregman, “The Value of Ritual in Your Workday” in the Harvard Business Review
I am not a superstitious person. And yet. For some reason lately the concept of ritual has been swirling around in my brain- beautiful and shrouded in mystery, they seem a powerful component of life and humanity.
Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Review states, “Rituals are about paying attention. They’re about stopping for a moment and noticing what you’re about to do, what you’ve just done, or both. They’re about making the most of a particular moment.” This makes sense to me. What ways do I find to celebrate the joys in life- small and large? In what ways do I honor the difficulties? Maybe ritual is a way to honor a moment. To see that I am perceptive and open to noticing the stages and transitions of my life and the lives of others.
“When he heard music, he no longer listened to the notes, but the silences between. When he read a book, he gave himself over to the commas and semicolons, to the space after the period before the capital letter of the next sentence. He discovered the places in the room where silence gathered; the folds of curtain drapes, the deep bowls of family silver. When people spoke to him, he heard less and less of what they said and and more and more of what they were not.”
– Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
This post is really about listening, but I think the ability to really listen comes solely from silent spaces: those without and within. In Julian Treasure’s short and informative TEDTalk below, he gives advice on becoming a better listener. One of the things he suggests is three to four minutes of silence a day to retrain your ears.