(The Art of) Listen / Speak

listen speak

Each summer, my senses are heightened to the art of listening and speaking. With my kids on summer break, our home becomes a cacophony of words. Some words are joyful, some are pointless and some are ugly. I listen. I speak. At times, I respond. At times, I react. I bungle both (listen/speak) on a regular basis. I ask myself, “What does it mean to listen with depth and honor the other? What words are actually needed and how can I respond with mindfulness and compassion?”

To listen and speak with love
is a spiritual practice.

To an artist, the art of listen/speak is of utmost importance. Listening (especially internal) becomes the fuel for one who does creative work. Speaking is a gateway to utter dreams, ideas and passion. When both are engaged, it spurs us to action. When one or both are cut off, it’s incredibly difficult to move forward. This is why for creators (of all kinds), encouraging, creative community is imperative. If you find yourself hanging around people who hinder your creative juice to listen/speak, it may be a good time to go looking for some new, quirky friends. And, if you need a quirky friend, I’m available.

The following poem can be read three ways: the (listen) text in regular font on the left can be read as one poem, the (speak) text in italic font on the right side can be read as one poem, and you can read each line across (regular & italic font) as one full poem. Enjoy:

Seems as if / when I speak

I only listen to / my story in

your words / truth:

rather I sense / words fall away to open

the quiet wind / depth of soul

unspoken lines / through a paintbrush

your telling eyes / my wild reverent ways

that lay bare / colorful splashes of

the pain and joy / universal sacredness

you and I carry / brazenly revealed