There is a saying amongst Indian musicians that all a musician wants is an audience who listens. As we hit the half-way mark of our Culturisatn experience, what I have to say is being given the space to speak may not be as important as being given the space to listen. The majority of our communication is not heard but read. I doubt we’ll ever lose the ability to speak but I fear as a culture we may be losing our ability to listen. Not just listening to each other but listening to ourselves.
Today hit a personal wall for me where our discussion became centered around a topic that was too close to home for me to ignore, and I had to leave abruptly. As it became too painful to continue the discussion in the abstract, I never felt I wasn’t being heard but I had to walk away to hear myself. Our first reading of the day summed it up for me after I returned. It was a poem titled Shadow by Denise Vargas.
Ponder for a moment
what a shadow is,
a space without light,
presence in absence,
the shape of anything but itself.
Instead of turning the abstract into reality, I had to walk away from the group to turn my reality into the abstract. At that moment it was impossible to do so with anyone but myself. I opted for presence in absence.