22 June 2009

A Week of Celebration

A first birthday. The Summer Solstice. Father's Day, and our sixth wedding anniversary. All in a span of five days. This year, even with so many special days in a row, it felt more relaxed than ever. Perhaps it is partly due to us keeping the festivities low-key as the children are still recovering. But mostly I tried to slow down and focus on the things that are really important.

I did learn how to make a mostly vegan cake for Miles (which he enjoyed), and for the first time made some lovely artisan bread. I have lots of photos to share this week.

Tonight my eyes strayed to the pocket copy of Writing Down the Bones that occupies a spot on our table. The section I alighted on just really spoke to me, told me something I need right now.

"Listening"

Writing, too, is ninety percent listening. You listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you.

Listen to the past, future, and present right where you are. Listen with your whole body, not only with your ears, but with your hands, your face, and the back of your neck.

You take in the way things are without judgement, and the next day you can write the truth about the way things are.

Basically, if you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot. And don't think too much.

But really it goes beyond writing, for me. Isn't this true of relationships, of parenting? Of making connections, and being authentic? It is not often enough that I simply focus on my friends, my family, especially my children, and really just listen and HEAR what they are saying. Without judgment or evaluation, or even worse - the disingenuous disconnection. It is particularly easy as a mother to resort to parenting in soundbytes. So much of what I do every day seems repetitive, routine. Perhaps what it requires is some listening to my babies, taking this past week of celebration as a new beginning, a call to bring attention to the art of listening in my life.

2 comments:

Noell said...

You couldn't have said it better! I know for a fact that my listening skills aren't what they used to be.

MUM said...

I am very proud of you for saying this. I think a young Mother can get caught up in the impossible repition of responsibliites and can miss the joys in the everyday activity. I know I would go back to the time when I had little children at home, it was a highlight of my life.My sweet Daddy said to me many, many, times that the most important job I would ever have was being a Mother.

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