The Evergreen Journal #45 – The Evergreen Stairway – Listen!
Walking by Inner Vision Blog
#The Evergreen Journal #45
The Evergreen Stairway – Listen!
I created three steps to bring awareness and redirect my creative life of making art and writing. I began thinking about this many years ago when I was asked to be a guest on a podcast. At that time, I developed a 7-step concept for making important changes to my life. As the years passed, I realized that my plan could be condensed into just 3 simple steps that are easy to remember. Over the years I learned to accomplish much more by keeping it simple.
The Evergreen Stairway is 3 little steps to improve the quality of our life and help us stay centered on what is important.
My 3-step plan brings clarity, direction, and purpose to my everyday life. I believe in keeping things simple and easy to remember because we have so many complex and difficult things in our life every day that it can be overwhelming. We don’t need another book-length set of directions to try to digest.
_Step ONE: The Evergreen Stairway – STOP!
_Step TWO: The Evergreen Stairway – LOOK!
_Step THREE: The Evergreen Stairway: LISTEN!
How can we move on from here?
We have thought about how to STOP, and LOOK.
Now, let’s talk about how we can begin to LISTEN. It does not come naturally.
When is the last time you stopped to think about the sounds in your landscape of life?
What is your SONIC life like?
What do you hear?
How do you listen to what you hear?
Wherever you are at this moment, please close your eyes and begin to think about what you are hearing.
I am in my office and it is not yet daylight.
Our environment is never silent. There is always SOUND that is in our atmosphere.
We can learn how to hear and listen to those sounds.
One of my cats, Miss Opal, is asleep in the little bed beneath my table. Above me, on the wall behind my computer, the clock is ticking off the moments. The beat is steady.
Another layer of sound that I am listening to is the movement of tires on the highway as vehicles cross the concrete bridge. The are going east towards the city, two miles away. This road will take them another dozen miles, to a different little village at the end of Route 488.
I also became aware of the SOUND of my fingers hitting the keyboard. . The computer’s soft, barely noticeable, humming sound is steady.
As the day moves on and the light begins to come through the windows, I will hear layers of different bird sounds and lots more traffic on two roads.
Eventually, I’ll turn on the sound system and have some music playing in the house. Mozart is always on my schedule for the day at some point. Since we are nearing the Christmas season, I’ll probably put on some Christmas music and enjoy working on my gift list. The phone will ring, and my granddaughter will be coming over later today.
I got up at 4 am today because I was wide awake and had the thought that there was something for me to do in this quiet time – the Fourth Watch of the Night.
I opened my computer to see if there was someone I needed to pray for tonight. Soon, I found a couple of blog posts written by a friend. I read them with an open heart. I did not just scan them over but I patiently read them and while I was reading each piece, my heart was listening to what the writer was saying as she write. I think of this as listening between the lines. I stop what I am doing, and I listen to the words carefully – but even more, I listen between the lines. That is where the true message is. It is in the open spaces between the words and the lines, sometimes.
This leads me to say that when speaking in person with other people, we can stop and think about what they are saying between the lines, too. This is when hearing turns into listening. Consciously listening takes effort and forethought. But once we learn to do this we can begin to know how to help someone or pray for them. Listening leads to understanding. That is not easy for me because I am a visual learner. I think in pictures.
I am trying to learn to be a person who listens rather than a person who has to constantly talk when I need to be listening instead.
Listening is a skill that we can develop intentionally and it will give us insight and understanding that helps us to grow. We can develop new habits. We can learn to LISTEN on PURPOSE.
Yesterday morning as I walked my dog, I was concentrating on listening to the sounds around me. I closed my eyes and tried to hear the sounds. I think of the different senses we have, and one by one, I try to concentrate on being aware of them. In my mind, I am savoring those different sensations and I bring them back home with me. Later in the day, they may become the structure on which I can develop a poem or an article.
Listening is a contemplative way of life.
It’s not easy for me because I am a person who is always trying to live in the future. That is not a healthy mindset.
I am officially retired from teaching for fifteen years but I still have pangs of guilt when I sit down and take a break in the afternoons at times. I have to remind myself that I do not have to be on a tight schedule any longer. I can relax any time I want to and I don’t have to feel guilty if I am not working or planning. I can learn to simply be, instead of always doing.
Listening is a lifestyle I want to cultivate.
My three steps~
STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.
sTOP ~ On Purpose
LOOK! ~ On Purpose
LISTEN ~ On Purpose
BONUS: More about developing good
listening skills Here.
I am working on this part of my 3-step plan daily.
I’ll continue following my plan because it is helping ME become more focused and aware of aspects of daily life that I need to grow.
I’d love to hear from you.
What do you think about my 3-step plan for personal and professional growth?
Read more in my NEW BOOK!
This NEW book is currently in production at Perkins Library, for distribution through the library and through NLS (BARD).
MY NEW book is a thoughtful and joyous collection of poetry, stories, memoirs, photography, and reflections from 1985 – 2021.
#Songs for the Pilgrimage
Order the book for Christmas Gifts –