Song of Life © Cynthia Madrid
I believe in Michelangelo, Velazquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of colour, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed:
— George Bernard Shaw
Welcome back! How are you? How was your week? What did you learn? What was hard? What was easy? What did you do first after you decided it was over? How have you changed?
Before we resume with Chapter Five, I want to hear from you! Gracious, I sure missed you all.
I learned a lot this time, including this nugget: how easy it is to mistake other peoples’ voices and words in my head for my own thoughts, just because I might agree with them. My agreement with their ideas, point of view, and so on is agreement only; they do not become ME.
But it is so, so easy for those opinions to slide right in, speaking to me with my own inner voice, and for me to therefore mistake them for my authenticity. It will take longer than a week to sort years of that out, but it’s a good start, and I am certainly going to be much, much more picky about who and what I allow into my mind’s private visions.
I have also realized that I don’t want to just plunge back into media-every-minute, picking up where I left off. So I invite you to join me in a more gentle re-entry, if you can. While we are still in a state of heightened sensitivity, I suggest that you spend the next several days celebrating each of your senses.
Since one of the ideas behind reading deprivation is to be able to more clearly hear our authentic voice, before we are once again inured to the cacophony all around us, you might try spending the first day back paying extra attention to your sense of hearing. Life is noisy; we are exposed to music, machine noises, chit-chat on TV and the people all around us; our technology and machinery are constantly dinging, beeping, buzzing, ringing.
In the terrific book by Danny Gregory, The Creative License, he offers a couple of listening exercises to enhance your sensitivity. “Listen to some music while doing nothing else. Try listening to alternate recordings of the same piece of music, like some Mozart recorded by different orchestras or soloists: his Requiem, the Jupiter Symphony or an opera. Try two takes of a jazz piece. Try a great rock song played live and in the studio. What do you hear?”
Another idea is to try an internet or iTunes station that plays music you normally never listen to – punk, ethnic, jazz, maybe country western. Can you tell from listening why some people love that kind of music?
Another exercise is to just stop wherever you are right now. With your eyes closed, just listen. What do you hear? The hum of air conditioning? Someone nearby tapping a keyboard? A dog barking somewhere? Music from across the way? Children’s voices, lawn sprinklers, birds, traffic, a train? Can you hear your own heartbeat? “Take off your headphones,” he writes, “turn off the TV, lower the radio and listen to this moment in your world. Close your eyes. Hear deeper. Further. Isn’t it amazing what you’ve been missing?”
Try this at several times, in different places throughout your day. Really, deeply, quietly let your beautiful, miraculous ears open up and receive all the waves of sounds flowing all around you. Celebrate this profound gift.
And again, welcome back! Amen! Amen!