It’s October! I’m still not accustomed to autumn without leaves changing color and dropping from trees, or predictions of the date of the first snowfall. The temperatures are starting to drop, just a little bit. Soon we’ll be pulling jackets and coats out of the back of our closets.
With a new month, we begin a new theme. The theme for the month of October is “deep listening.”
I learned about “active listening” in training sessions for facilitating groups. When actively listening, one offers non-verbal cues such as nodding or shaking one’s head, and verbal cues such as saying “uh huh,” “go on,” and so forth. Active listening can also include asking for clarification, or simply reflecting back what the other person has said, in order to prompt them to continue.
Deep listening is a little different. It’s listening for the meaning beneath the surface, for the spaces between words – or the silences between musical notes. It’s listening for the silent call of a vocation, or for the despair in the cry of a wolf. It’s paying attention to one’s breath, feeling the whoosh of air in and out, and noticing everything that is happening in the moment.
Deep listening can mean listening to other people, or to animal companions. It can mean listening to a still, small voice within, or one’s instincts. It’s especially useful when conversing across lines of difference, whether the differences are racial, sexual, religious, or any other kind of difference.
We’re beginning with a kind of fun service about communing with our animal companions, which will include an animal blessing. Be sure to attend – with your nonhuman companion, if possible!
Thank you for being here, for being part of this Fellowship, and for staying connected! I love you. We will get through this. Keep breathing and stay safe, everyone.
Rev. Lori Hlaban