Friday, October 11, 2013

31 Days of Listening {to Others} {to Myself}

Emily P. Freeman's book, "A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made To Live", was just released and I'm loving it. The chapter on listening is beautiful and inspiring. She talks about how important it is to pay attention to your story as you see it reflected in the stories or in the art of others.

"Madeline L'Engle puts into words for us a very simple truth... 'In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace.' 

Art makes it possible for us to remember both the beauty and the horrific, the lovely and the loss. Art numbs the wound just long enough for us to be able to access the source of it, to reach down into the depths and pull it up to examine.

The beauty of art is that it separates us enough from our own pain in order to make it safe to appraoch. This movie, this novel, this musical, this song isn't my story, and so I can freely let myself identify with it. In the freedom, the tears have permission to fall. And in the tear-fall, I realize that this movie, this novel, this musical, this song holds pieces of my story after all. 

What touches your soul so deeply that it causes tears to come out? We're talking about magic water that pours out of our eyes. Maybe paying attention to what calls that water forth will give us a hint as to what it is that makes us come alive."

Emily also talks about the importance of listening to your tears, as that last paragraph indicates. This has been my absolute favorite part of the book thus far:

"...maybe our tears are tiny messengers, secret keepers of the most vulnerable kind, sent to deliver a most important message - Here is where your heart beats strong. Here is a hint to your design. Here is a gift from your inner life, sent to remind you of those things that make you come alive. These tears carry the gift of your desire. Listen to them. ...Listen to what makes you cry."

I wanted to write this post yesterday. It's been on my mind since Tuesday. But it means so much more today as I just wrote the previous post with tears falling freely. It feels good to allow our hearts to spill over, confessing the things that we desire or the things that still hurt or the things that point us closer to what we were created to do or designed for.

And in a way, for me it's much easier to write about these things than to speak them out loud. Sometimes the magic water gets in the way, and my keyboard acts as the numbing agent just enough for my heart to spill over. When I read what I've written, whether it's one day later or months or even years, I can listen to myself again.

"Only when we decided to quiet ourselves and listen on purpose did we really begin to hear."

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