Sometimes the damned hardest thing to do is listen. With the scheduled lives and future-driven lives we’re all supposed to lead, sometimes it is really hard to slow down, or even stop, and listen. Listen to our breathing, our hearts, our body, our Gods. Hell, even sitting down and doing nothing but listening to music can be hard. I’m listening to music right now as I write to drown out other noises that distract me from writing. My Rune bag, a brown and white rabbit fur bag, sits on the reading cloth, a large black handkerchief. I’m supposed to be reading Runes, listening to the voices of the Gods, the voices of Runevaettir, to my own intuition. Instead, I write, unable for a little while, to focus.
So much drags my focus around; so much I let drag my focus. Yet there’s a purpose in this…through writing I’m listening to my inner voice. I’m speaking with it, rising with it from inside. Listening to the deep part, letting it speak, is hard. You don’t want to share intimate moments; you want them for yourself, bound up, safe from scrutiny, from harm. No one can judge you inside your head, goes the logic. Yet the mind can reel with the criticisms and scars heaped upon it, can bloat with the pus-filled wounds of a thousand little barbs, can irrigate the channels of a thousand toxic whispers. It can strike down the deepest, most benighted, holy prose without so much as an ink blot, can tear musical masterpieces to shreds before the first note is written. Listening has its dangers too.
One of the hardest abilities I have had to develop, is to be an empathic listener to myself, to give myself the time to speak, to write, to draw, to do. Sometimes, listening to oneself is harder than a horde of screeching chalkboards; angry thoughts, sad thought, optimism, pessimism floating in a soup of memory, experience, and reflex. The listening, at times, is like being next to a speaker at a rock concert, screaming incoherent lyrics dredging up old memory and wrath. At other times, it is more silent than a void, a mocking emptiness which isolates more deep than any cell. Yet at others, in listening you can find the exultation and delight of simply being alive, and through this, appreciate what you have, what you are, who you are, all you’ve done and had done to you. Of course, it takes discerning what is worth learning to, plucking the weeds of noxious thoughts and impossible standards. Yet when you listen in your inner garden, hear the droning of your innermost thought-bees, the soft chirp of happy memories, and the quiet air of a sigh of contentment, you find love and hope in yourself. Then you’re ready to share that garden with others.
Then the challenges increase; you want to share this garden with joy and happiness, want to say “Come, this is my garden! See its beauty!” but not everyone is ready for it; there’s too many weeds for them to see your garden, too many faded flowers dead on the vine. Yet opening your garden gate, saying “Here is a place to rest” is more blessing than most will tell you, and more than most have received over their lives. So for anyone reading this blog who has lent an ear, who has helped me along, who has pushed me farther, who has helped me weed my garden, thank you.