Listening (like the wise old owl)


I started and stopped several blog post ideas since my last one. Not for lack of material, but actually too much material. 

Everything seems to be amping up in the world right now, and I’m sure everybody feels pulled in many directions. When I start to feel that way, I tend to resort to my somewhat hermit tendencies.

Not in the sense of holing up at home. 

I am out and about every day working with horses, whether riding or bodywork. I have a full roster of virtual guitar, bass, and vocal students. We are also having virtual aikido classes, not only from my dojo, but the Ki dojos in South Carolina, and Hawaii. In some ways, things are busier than ever.

It’s more like being a hermit in my communications. I have noticed I am even more quiet than I have ever been. I’ve never been fond of small talk, but now more than ever I am really just trying to listen.

Whether listening to my own mind chatter and practicing not reacting to it, or listening to students, I’m finding it quite refreshing to have very little to say. 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and while you are talking you can tell they are just waiting to interject something and weren’t listening at all? I think we’ve all been on both sides of that coin.

No one likes to feel unheard, and many of those are our animals. Being mostly non verbal, the only way they have to communicate with us is with their body language. 

When a horse or other animal is trying to communicate we are sometimes so much in our own thoughts that we don’t hear the subtle signals. They feel they have to practically scream to get our attention.

With bodywork, I notice that if I will let the horse or dog tell me where I need to be working, rather than go to the spot that is « the problem » they will guide me to do what’s best for them. They are more in touch with their bodies than most humans.

With students, I have noticed a similar thing-they will teach me how to teach them. I suppose it’s the same when working with anyone. If we can be present enough to listen, we will learn the best way to respond.  

There’s a fun poem that the late great horseman Tom Dorrance recited:

A wise old owl lived in an oak

The more he saw the less he spoke

The less he spoke the more he heard

Why can’t I be like that wise old bird

Something to ponder. I hope everyone that reads this is well and happy!