Whole Body Listening
I recently saw this sign “Whole Body Listening” at the preschool where I work with kids twice a week. At first sight, it may seem cute, but a closer look makes my body shiver. I look at it and wonder. The Whole Body listens, but where exactly is the body in this picture? I can only see clothes and a big head that is supposed to do nothing but look and listen. The hands and feet are not only still but without real presence.
I look at it and think of all the mechanisms we were taught as kids, and now have adopted as adults, that suppress the ways we are able to perceive this beautiful world with all our senses and express ourselves; the world that we belong to and are immersed in, internally and externally. I know that this kind of ‘readiness’ to listen is what authority expects, no matter how we feel. It is what society finds comfortable to put up with, no matter what our truth is. It is what the system needs to keep functioning, no matter what our real needs are. But this kind of 'readiness' which is also required to adjust socially, is only a tiny aspect of our ability to listen. Our ability to listen is greater than the words that are addressed to our ears. Our ability to listen goes far beyond the messages that flood us every day in order to consume more by creating artificial needs. Whole Body Listening happens when there is space to move freely and be open to perceive the full spectrum of experiences in life. When in movement or stillness we are curious to feel and listen through every cell within. When we can be in connection and relationship, through the entire skin and all our senses with ourselves, with another, with nature. Whole Body Listening is the acknowledgement with compassion of all our feelings, without judgement of positive or negative. Whole Body Listening is the recognition and acceptance of our basic and essential needs for nourishment, rest, love, truth, play, creativity, growth, connection and, most important, to be seen as who we are. Whole Body Listening is the happy scream that kids express every time the door opens, and they can run at the playground and to their freedom.
When our bodies have been silenced for such a long time, it may be challenging at first, but it is always possible to recover our full ability to listen, and it is totally worth it. To uncover, expand, and cultivate the ability to listen deep inside and far beyond, is a healing journey. The journey that is worth taking to live a plentiful life through whole body listening that helps us to be connected to our essence and our Self. May we be 'ready' to listen to the magic of life unfolding without and within!
You can learn more about Maria and her work at www.marialentzou.net