Listening with My Heart

Leaving the Tribe

I’ve been working on “Leaving the Tribe”   for a couple of weeks.  First I ran out of purple thread then I couldn’t figure out how to finish it off.  I knew the different shades of purple velvet was right, but it needed something else and everything I tried with it just didn’t work.  It wasn’t until yesterday, when I was meditating, that the color “maroon” came to mind.  Today it finally came together, and pretty easily too.  Maybe it just had to percolate, or maybe it’s that while in meditation, I was able to listen to myself.   Maybe it was inside of me all along and I just wasn’t listening.

Last week Paula Josa-Jones came to the farm to interview Jon and me about us and our donkeys, Lulu, Fanny and Simon.  To explore the idea of  how they relate to our creative work.

Paula is a choreographer who creates Equestrian Dance Performances. She works with the relationship between the dancers body and the horses body.  She believes that the most important thing for her dancers to do is listen to how their bodies are telling them how to move.  Also that the dance between human and equine is about listening.

When Paula  first asked me if and  how the donkeys have influenced my work I really wasn’t sure.   But since seeing one of her dance performances “Ride” and hearing her talk about it, I have come to realize that my relationship with the donkeys have made me understand my work as it relates to my body and the idea of  listening.  (I wrote about my body and my work last week.  Paula’s visit sparking the idea and the Bobby McFerrin video ” ” taking it to the next step.)

This week I realized that it was my experience with the donkey’s that  taught me to listen with my heart instead of my head. When I sit with the donkeys, I am still and quiet.  I open my heart and they place their bodies next to mine and the space between us becomes charged.   I didn’t know what was happening, but this  week I found myself having a conversation with someone where my intention was to listen with my heart not my head.  The idea came to me when I was meditating, but it was only after doing it with a person, that I realized that it was what I had been doing with the donkeys all along.

Listening with the heart  means listening without the ego.  Listening without interrupting or getting defensive and when I  feel myself becoming argumentative  simply saying to myself, “That’s my head, I’m listening with my heart”  This way I can really hear what is being said without the ego jumping in to “protect” me.

When I listen with my heart, instead of my head,  while doing my work, all the doubt and self recrimination,  the judgement, the neurosis and fears lose their voice and I can be true to myself, I can hear my inner-self.    When I listen with my heart my work  is honest and uninhibited and successful.

9 thoughts on “Listening with My Heart

  1. The quilt is breathtakingly beautiful, the maroon is perfect.

    The communing you do with the donkeys is awesome. I so love following Simon’s progress. I cried when I saw the initial photos, now I’m just amazed by how he’s chosen to trust and absorb the caring.

    I have contacted a cat “whisperer” about some issues with my cats, and I’ve gotten to the place where I have actually “heard” something they wanted me to know. It is a matter of learning to listen with the heart and not projecting. Wish I could do that oftener, I’m a work in progress too.

  2. Lovely, Maria, just lovely, your opening up like that.

    And I feel I have to say, at the risk of sounding sexist, that women have always been so much more in tune with the earth, earth energy, vibrations, nature and our inner selves than many men are able to be. If we are supposedly evolving into a heart-centered creation, women will be the ones to lead us there and to teach us how to do it. Your very personal and relevant post, along with this video of the Equestrain Dance, is already showing the way.

  3. Thank you for this lovely entry!!! I love what you are doing with “Leaving the Tribe!” I think that your listening from the heart is what moves me so deeply in Jon’s photos. Yesterday when I was rehearsing with some dancers at the sanctuary where I am creating “All the Pretty Horses,” I told them that I wanted to feel their presence like a whisper of wind or a soft scent within the herd of the horses. Something both there and not there – subtle, elusive. The photo of you that I took, where there is your arm and foot captures something of that weave.

  4. Hi Marie, your opening words reminded me of a poem I wrote some years ago, here it is:

    The years hold us together
    woven like twill undulating with daily browns
    and greys making subtle the infrequent red,
    the bright yellow, the hazy magenta.
    Soft in our designer’s art we weave
    the matrix we are, tie off our seams and send runners
    out where new patterns are hoped for. I have pulled
    a thread or two, cut a seam too thin and had to go
    back, years later with new thread to patch it.
    Once I threaded some bright orange wool, newly spun
    into the old pattern and found a perfect match.
    The blacks of years past melt into the present
    soft grey like fields of heather and poppies.
    We are intertwined, no form or color bears more
    importance than the fabric of our bond.
    Today seems a day for earth tones but I find myself
    twirling strands of a deep vermillion in my hands.

    I loved coming to your beautiful, heartful place & look forward to it again. xoxox Pam

  5. Hey Maria, Thank-you for this inspiring post. This was what I needed to hear at this moment.
    You are quite a writer. Beautiful.
    Sunshine at last! Cindy

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