Forest lessons on listening

Aquarius season is underway, and I’m leaning into this air sign’s archetype of the reformer, the humanitarian, the freedom-loving nonconformist who is concerned about the good of the whole. I’m working with my throat chakra, the energy center associated with hearing and being heard, and I wonder how the world might be different if we could all listen to each other a little better.

Being an intuitive healer takes excellent listening skills. When I’m with a client, not only am I focused on what the client is telling me, I am also listening to angels and guides, sometimes departed loved ones, and my own intuition. I think I do a pretty good job. But, like most people, I kind of suck at listening in my daily life. My family pays the price, but I have to say, they don’t listen to me very well either. Perhaps you can relate.

One thing I know for sure (as Oprah would say) is that when each of us does our own healing work, we contribute to the healing of the collective. If we see a behavior in others that we think needs improvement, we need to first improve that behavior in ourselves. We are all connected.

With that in mind, I offered myself a little refresher course in listening last Sunday with the forest as my teacher. Or said another way, I took a walk in the woods. My property abuts several hundred acres of undeveloped parkland, which means that mine were the first human tracks in the snow. My first listening lesson was the fullest experience of silence. No people, no dogs, just an untouched snowy trail.

But as I walked, some of the quiet dissipated, and I realized that human-made sounds are much more irritating than nature’s sounds. The airplane overhead, the little bear bell attached to my pack, and even the noise of my own breathing began to grate on me. Nature’s voice is subtle. I had to slow my feet and even stop sometimes to hear the snow dripping off trees or the faint tittering of a squirrel. Listening lesson number two: slow down.

I practiced 360 degree listening, a technique my friend Maria of Wild Wisdom Coaching taught me. When I focused on the most distant sounds I could pick up, a caught the caw of a faraway crow. The closest was the ringing in my own ears. I was about to decide that nature was exceptionally quiet on this day, when I walked up to one of my favorite rock outcroppings and heard at least five distinct bird calls. They were either yelling at me or warning each other that a human was nearby. This is when it dawned on me that the key to better listening is quieting the mind. I’ve walked these woods for over a decade, and I don’t remember ever noticing so many differing bird voices. Lesson number three: be present.

Eventually, my entire body began listening. My other senses got sharper–I could see the details of animal tracks and pick up the scent of the evergreens. I could feel differences in energy vibration depending on where I stepped. I could hear the stories of the trees and the wisdom offered by the boulder I sat on. My listening exercise had morphed into a practice of intuition, a way to hear my heart voice.

Like nature, intuition is subtle. Like humans, the mind can be noisy. To be a better listener, I must get quiet, slow down and be in the present moment. I must encourage my heart voice to speak to me more loudly than my head voice. Then, I am much more equipped to focus on what others are saying as well as what my intuition is telling me about their unsaid messages.

The symbol for Aquarius is the Water Bearer, which has been interpreted to mean giving life and spiritual food to the world. What a beautiful feast we would all enjoy if we learned to listen to each other.

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Jennifer Reeve

I am  a healing guide, a space holder and a reflector of your sacred light. My aim is to help you connect with your wild, expansive Divine essence so you may freely share your gifts with the world. I offer intuitive readings, non-touch energy healings, spiritual mentoring, embodiment practices, nature connection and sacred ceremony. It would be my honor to guide you toward your expansion.

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