The Art Of Listening To Life

LIFE IS NOISY

As urban human beings cluttered together in artificial cities and dwellings, we tend to live surrounded by noise.

The drills of the pesky roadworks just outside your bedroom window; the beep of the overground train as the door closes on your backpack; or the high pitch of the dubstep-techno-remix playing through the maxed-out earphones of the angry-looking youth sat next to you on the bus.

Noisy, for sure. It's so easy to get distracted by the constant activity, the milling of people, the chatter of the world. So easy to become hypnotised by. So easy to get lost in.

Just like the environments we live in, our heads and bodies are a noisy place. Different characters play tag in our minds, endlessly repeating old stories, fantasies, worries and doubts. Waves of emotion flow through our bodies, sloshing through and around us like a storm. All incessantly crashing into each other, shaking us up, reminding us of our old wounds, giving us glimpses of what we really want, and sending us hurtling through dreams, memories and states of being faster than you can blink.

And it’s exhausting.

WHAT LIES BENEATH

It’s quite simple: Beneath all this noise, lies the whisper of your inner voice, i.e. the whisper of life itself.

Beneath all this noise lies your truth: your dreams, hopes and longings, but also your pain, wounds and darkness. Beneath all this noise lie all the answers, all the wisdom and all the guidance that you may ever need.

You see, life is always communicating to you, through your dreams, your intuitions, your impulses. Every single moment, through every single experience, interaction, and occurence. Like Big Brother on steroids, always whispering to you: “Follow me, Freddy!”

We all communicate with the intelligence of life in different ways; dreaming, reading, writing, dancing, meditating, walking… you name it: the ways are endless. It’s up to you to find your own unique communication method.

Yet the truth of the fact is, most of us are terrified of going deeper and actually hearing what lies beneath. Terrified of facing all the negativity within us, terrified of listening to our dreams and actually giving ourselves what we want. Terrified of hearing ourselves: terrified of listening to life.

So most of us welcome the noise outside; we get addicted to it, we even create more of it. It diverts our attention, it keeps us occupied. We go from screen to screen, person to person, task to task, in a desperate effort NOT to hear. And we do our best to avoid the noise within: we shop, we take drugs, we smoke, we drink, we stuff our faces with food… anything to numb out the screams of our thoughts and feelings, and at the same time, of our inner voices.

And so we walk around with our hands on our ears, pretending not to hear, saying NO NO NO NO NO to our dreams, our calling, and to any flashes of insight or inspiration that may be trying to catch our attention.

THE ART OF LISTENING

Listening to your inner self is an art; it takes practice, commitment and dedication. Some days, you may sit in silence for hours and receive nothing. Other days, you will be walking down a busy street and BAM!: strike gold within seconds.

The number one trick is to set a solid intention: to actually askfor inspiration, advice or support. Even if the simple fact of doing so makes you cringe in disbelief, shudder in anticipation, or frustrate you beyond words. Because life is listening to you, always. And it will answer. Always.

However, it may not answer in the timing or the way that you expect, which leads us to the second trick: to be open. Be open in how you receive the information: it might come through a dream, a book, a conversation. Or it may be a thought, a memory or an image that suddenly pops into your head. It may even come from that stupid pop song that fills your head as you wake up in the morning.

The final trick is to give space to allow yourself to hear the answer. Too often, we miss the signs of our intuition, of inspiration, or the answers to our questions … because we’re too stuck in our heads, in our habits, in our comfort zones. Spend time alone, in silence, and even better, sitting in nature. Take time to breathe, to feel your body, to find the ground. And listen.

FINDING MY SILENCE

As you might have noticed (hopefully, otherwise I’m doing a pretty poor job), there has been a long echo of silence since my last blog post. In fact, I could even count the numbers of posts written this year on the fingers of one hand.

I can tell you countless reasons behind this hiatus, but the truth is I hadn’t found the call to write another post. Until today.

It took me 8 months of focusing on my book-writing and giving space to other creative endeavours, and nearly 2 months in Crete, away from London and surrounded by sea and nature, to finally hear and own that voice inside of me - not a whisper anymore, more of a war cry - that is screaming out “I LOVE writing”.

(Such a long process for such a simple result, you might say. True; the resistance in me has been strong. And it may actually be pretty obvious from the outside, but from within it’s always FAR more complicated.)

The bottom line is this: when I don’t write, I shut down. When I write, I get clarity on myself, my life, and I come alive. In fact, as Joan Didion said, “I don’t know what I think until I write about it”.

And you know how I have FINALLY accepted it? The last two books I have read have turned out to be about people’s love of book-writing (The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert), causing my heart to open and tears to flow at the mention of it.

And you know how I FINALLY got back to writing my blog? The thought of it had been in my head for a week or so, and today, I received a message from a friend asking me whether I was OK, since I hadn’t written anything in a while (you know who you are).

So you see, sometimes it takes a succession of whispers and events for you to finally accept and own those parts of you that are scary. Because saying YES to your dreams and desires is scary as hell: if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

MY INVITATION TO YOU

So here is my invitation to you: ask for what you need, and give yourself space to receive what you ask for. Allow life to be your guide; step by step, and always at the perfect time, it will reveal to you what you need to know.

So take your hands off your ears and begin to walk around saying YES YES YES YES to life, to your dreams, your hopes and your desires instead. Be willing to face your deeper s***, your craziness, your darkness… and be totally, completely, madly excited about what lies ahead. Because life has been around for far longer than you have, and believe it or not, has a way of knowing EXACTLY what it is that you will make your heart sing.

Love & Health,

Edward xx