Tag Archives: Listen

Imagine…Silence

10 Jul

Turn the light off
there’s a light on in your heart
so let it be your guidance, guidance!
Open up your mouth if what you say
could be more beautiful than silence
~ K’naan – More beautiful than silence

Imagine…that silence was a part of our culture’s etiquette, just like saying “Please” and “Thank you”.

Imagine…that it was silence that was considered polite, rather than the small talk that forces us to share details of our lives with our neighbour, hairdresser or colleague.

Imagine…that it was considered perfectly natural to say “I don’t feel like talking right now” or “I don’t want to answer your question”.

Imagine…that wanting to go for a walk on your own in silence was as normal as wanting to go for dinner with friends.

Imagine…only speaking to share something valuable or important with our interlocutor.

Imagine…being able to ask a colleague not to disturb us for an hour or an afternoon, because we need silence to concentrate on our work.

Imagine…switching off everything that makes a noise: telephone, email alert, oven timer, radio, GPS…

Imagine…being able to hear what is going on inside, rather than outside.

Sit Listen Silence

Look, Listen, Live

19 Jun

When walking down the street, switch off your ipod and listen to the birds.

When riding on the metro, lift your eyes off your paper and smile at the person opposite you.

When stuck in traffic, turn off the radio and sing your favourite songs with all your heart.

When on a long journey, put your laptop away and look at the incredible trees lining your route.

When back home from a long day at work, get off the sofa and go to watch the sun set.

Music Monday

14 Nov

When was the last time you listened to music?

No, I don’t mean watched a music video on YouTube, but listened to music, without having any visual distractions.

When was the last time you listened to music without knowing anything about its composer/singer?

No, I don’t mean not knowing the latest gossip on Rihanna, but not knowing who the singer is, how well the band is doing in the charts, how many awards they have won, what everyone’s opinion is of them, or even what they look like.

When was the last time you listened to music for the actual pleasure of listening to music?

No, I don’t mean the pleasure of having the hum of the radio as you drive to work; no, not the fun of blasting your favourite songs as you do the cleaning; but sat down and listened to music for the sake of listening to music.

When was the last time you were moved by music?

No, I don’t mean laughing at the latest pop lyrics or being frustrated by the bad grammar in hip hop; but got goose bumps, had your body temperature rise, stood transfixed or even cried from music.

 

When I was a teenager, I bought a Franz Ferdinand album, having seen their name in a magazine. I listened to the album every day and loved the music so much that I soon knew all of the lyrics by heart and even started learning to play their songs on the guitar. I loved their music and listened to it with a passion, but I had no idea who Franz Ferdinand were. I didn’t know how many people were in the band, I didn’t know where they came from, I didn’t know how old they were, I didn’t know how long they’d been around, and I didn’t even know what they looked like. When I went to their gig, I discovered for the first time the people behind the melodies and words.

Nowadays, we watch music videos and often judge songs by the quality of the special effects, the artists’ appearance and their attitude.

We know about the private lives of most artists and such gossip leads us to make judgements on their work.

In most cases, we know what the musician looks like, dresses like and acts like, which evokes certain associations in our mind as we listen to their music.

I recently went to a concert without any prior knowledge of the composer, his life or his music. For the first time in years I closed my eyes and got carried away in my own world while listening to music. I enjoyed the music for the beauty of the music itself.

And this made me realise that listening to music for the music itself is not something we do often nowadays. We listen to a song because it got stuck in our head, or because the singer looks pretty in the video, or because it reminds us of a place/period/person, or because the band is considered cool, or because the album is advertised on all billboards, or because we simply don’t know many other songs.

If you love music, I ask you to take part on a journey of discovery with me.

Every Monday, I will post a song or piece of music that I like. Although there will inevitably be the artist’s name and song’s title, I will post these songs as YouTube videos that contain no moving images. I will give no background information about the song or artist, and will not tell you what I feel or think while listening to the music.

I ask you to close your eyes for three minutes and simply listen to the music that I have posted. Listen to it for the sake of listening to music, for the sake of being moved by music and for the sake of experiencing the world through your ears, not through your eyes.

You may like or hate the songs that I post, but one thing is sure: in closing your eyes and listening to music, a new world will unfold in your mind. It is the world of the imagination. With no videos to tell you how to interpret the sounds, you will construct your own associations and build your own fantasies. The music will have an effect that is personal to you, because it will have spoken to you through the power of your own imagination and emotions.

You are free to research as much or as little about the artist whose music I post, but please only do this after having listened to the song.

Happy listening.

(Don’t forget to close your eyes…)

 

I would love to know what you felt/thought/saw while listening to the song.

And if there are songs or pieces of music you love, please share them with me and other bloggers by posting their title in the comments section. That way, we can all open up our musical horizons together!

First Solo Yoga Practice

28 Feb

I attended my first yoga class ten years ago, yet had never, during all these years, practised yoga alone, without a teacher. Until today. Inspired by John Archer’s post Thoughts On Yoga, I had my first solo yoga practice at home this evening. The experience was truly amazing.

I fell into the practice very naturally; my body told me exactly what it wanted me to do. I flowed from posture to posture, without thinking about what should come next, letting myself be guided by what my body was drawn towards. It was great to have the possibility to stay in postures for as long as my body needed it, rather than following the rhythm of a class, which we do not always coincide with. Being able to listen to my body and do postures in my own rhythm and my own order made me get exactly what I wanted/needed from the practice. Not having any external guidance in a teacher made me tune in and pay more attention to what was going on inside me.

After the practice, I felt rejuvenated; I regained energy and was in a positive mood. I felt healthier and my mind was very calm. I am extremely grateful to have discovered this new way of practising yoga, and I look forward to continuing this profound ‘solo’ journey.