hearts on fire – an unlikely life

‘We have to listen to ourselves first of all.’*

‘Unlikely never feels quite the same as difficult, and sometimes it appears impossible.  It’s neither.  It is something risky, and something without a map or a guarantee.  We hesitate to do it because it might not work, precisely because it’s more difficult.’**

Percussionist Evelyn Glennie lost nearly all her hearing by the age of twelve.  She’s a walking example of how we listen with more than our ears.  As Glennie listens with her whole body to her instruments and the world around her she makes the point that we need to listen to ourselves and each other if we are to move from a shallow translation of a life to a deeper interpretation – she illustrates this point by showing how there’s a difference between translating a music script and interpreting it:

‘I need time with people to interpret them not just to translate them but to interpret them.’*

Listening to ourselves, not only to our head but also our heart and gut, is critical if we are going to live more than a translation of life.  The unlikely will never be pursued only by translating but by interpreting our lives with all of their talents, passions, and experiences.  Our bodies are amazing instruments for this – Glennie speaks of listening through her hands, arms, cheekbones, scalp, tummy, chest, legs, and more.

We notice our involvement in something significant usually before or after.  In the moment we are totally caught up in what it is that has been happening but in anticipation of this or afterwards we hear what our whole body is saying to us.

This can be developed, honed, and we can make the move our life is telling us to make – whether a step or direction.  Joseph Campbell tells us we can attune our lives to the story or myth our lives are trying to tell us: through training

‘There has to be training to help you open your ears so that you can begin to hear metaphorically instead of concretely.’^

We’re not merely travellers through life but people pursuing purpose:

‘The mantra of the traveller is to make peace with waiting.  The mantra of the quester is to keep moving forward.  Whatever it takes, whether facing an immense challenge or spirit-sapping tedium, just keep making progress.’^^

(*From Evelyn Glennie’s TEDtalk How to truly listen.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog: Impossible, unlikely, or difficult?)
(^Jospeho Campbell from Jospeh Campbell and Billy Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(^^From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)


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