They were singing, was I deep listening? | Daniel Barber - I Am Sound, LLC

They were singing, was I deep listening?

Think just a minute on the last time you had one of those “nature moments.” It might have been literally outside, or it could have been in complete quiet, but your mind stopped whirring for a few delicious moments. You allowed your own nature as a physical, sentient being to come to the forefront of your awareness, you engaged in deep listening and you gave yourself the gift of a different quality of experience.

A little while ago, I came out on the deck to take advantage of this sunny warm morning and started into The New Rules on Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, on how the web is rewriting all the rules and changing the landscape of communications between people interested in all sorts of transactions.

I see the current state of the web, overall, as a massive developmental stage in the manifestation of the global brain, making possible information dissemination of the sort few could have imagined just a few decades ago. This book is going into the various ways that this is facilitating more direct communication between parties involved in various kinds of energetic exchanges. Somehow this manages to appeal to the traditionalist, the revolutionary -and- the evolutionary in me.

These days I’m exploring ways to plug in to this burgeoning nervous system to share my perspectives on sound, music, creativity, communication, self-awareness, spirituality, human (and non-human) potential, social and environmental justice & healing, and the fascinating, beautiful and powerful ways in which these are all interrelated.

deep listening

Of course I was aware, in a way, of the birdsong. Walking outside, the sound of the birds and the breeze in the trees was immediately obvious, but it was more like background; a shift in sensual and aural ambience between inside and outside. It was no big deal, not the focus of my attention, which was more about getting some sun and getting on into the book.

At some point in my reading, the birds broke through and I stopped… and began to actually listen. There was an immediate shift in the way my mind and body experienced the moment, and as I write this I’m continuing to bounce back and forth between this linguistically-oriented activity and the non-verbal experience of deep listening to the natural symphony sounding all around me. I think this dynamic is one of the most challenging and rewarding dances we are called to in this life; that between taking in and expressing, between accepting and initiating, between allowing and creating.

It seems to me that if we lean too much toward the initiating, creating and expressing, we risk being disconnected with the natural world that I hear calling us for more attentive nurture. On the other hand, if we lean too much toward taking in, accepting and allowing, we risk squandering the unique and precious gifts that each of us has to offer.

Agonizing as it can be at times, I feel blessed being part of all this. Thanks for reading, and for taking a moment for some deep listening to what’s going on right now, on the outside and the inside, and pitch in a thought or two below. We have plenty of healing work to do, and I’m grateful for our winged allies and all our relations for their call, support, wisdom and song.

    Daniel Barber

  • Scott Cartwright says:

    If a Black-capped Chickadee asks you to dance, I say, go for it. Same goes for a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Hairy Woodpecker, an American Goldfinch, and well, the list is long. If any of them are shy, you ask.

  • Karen says:

    This is beautifully expressed- thank you for sharing it. I definitely understand the tension between balancing those ways of participating in life ( not sure how else to sum them up ! ) I think that the way that we are bombarded with noise and information and activity ( not that all of that is “bad” but too much of anything is too much ) – it makes it even harder to not rush, to slow down, to listen- really listen – not impossible but harder than maybe it was before society became so overactive and we all developed some form of ADD out of necessity. I don’t know any answers other than for me, turning as much of it as I can- off and just focus ( the best I can which isn’t great ) on one thing, just like you did with the birdsong. I just keep trying. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to think about those things- I hope I was somewhat on topic !

    • Daniel Barber says:

      Thanks, Karen, I can feel your churning with this as it relates so many aspects of our lives and our relationship with the natural world. I’m noticing, as I write these words, my desire to listen for what might be wanting to be said here, over and against the energies in me that are chomping at the bit to “get busy” on today’s todos! Nurturing a more balanced relationship with this dynamic feels to me more like an “allowing” than a “trying.” It feels healthy to experience the sense that simply being here and breathing is sometimes entirely sufficient. When I allow grace to seep in, slowly distributing droplets of forgiveness, I notice feeling more planted in and present to my body and my self. Then my movements into activity push off from a more stable platform, and I feel more connected to my own nature and to the natural world around me. Fascinating, this living stuff, isn’t it?!? Thanks again for your comments.

      • Karen Altice says:

        Daniel- thanks for the reply. I like “allowing” rather than trying- and “being” not always “doing” – and how that’s enough, more often than we allow it to be. I know someone who often said we are human “beings” not human “doings” and I always liked that description- we add that other description ourselves- to the extent that we can leave out the “being” part altogether if we aren’t aware of it. I think that’s where the increasing awareness of mindfulness has grown from- people becoming more and more aware of how much they need something other than this frenzy of “busy”ness we run around in constantly- it seems impossible to slow down and just do one thing at a time. Anyway- I will be more aware of allowing myself to soak in the moments because of your encouragement- you seem to have a very keen awareness of things around and in you- I am jealous ! Thanks again for responding- Take care 🙂

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