Public Listening or When Silence Speaks

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I am always grateful when someone as lovely as K comes to the table. She exuded a simple joyous quality coupled with a fine air of stillness that radiated from her in equal measure. Soft spoken but clear and easy to talk to. The sort  that you just start talking, assuming that you have already been friends for some time.

In her admiration of my project she revealed what she needed a creative  approach to.

I love your table and have been thinking about doing something similar called ‘public listening.’ What do you think of it and what could I do with it?

Hearing a woman of this depth say those two words – public listener – I could just see her out there being an amazing resource. My experience of putting myself out there with chairs and a table interacting with the public as a service/experiment/art project/exploration of something I am good at has been a total joy. Profoundly rewarding and deeply nourishing for me and others.

As my mind telescoped into the future I could see moments of the same for K. But as I looked into the sweet face of K the one twist to the project popped into mind that somehow fit with K.

This is brilliant. What if you actually just listen only? You don’t speak. You just have a pad of paper to say anything if you need to say anything. Just receive. That could be a service unlike any other  particularly because of the depth of your presence and attention.

As I said this K broke into real tears of relief.

Yes! Thank you for saying that. I’m a professional singer. I love singing but need to do it all day. Sing songs. Sing commercials. At night I sing at bars and shows.  I am almost at a point where I need a break from hearing myself. I didnt realize that this project could save me and give me space too. How could you have known this about me?

I understood why she was crying. The realizing that our own ideas often have the keys to our own freedom. To what we need most. I saw the unspoken silence in K and called it out. Her silence spoke back. We lovingly embraced goodbye like new old friends.

Sometimes it is just that simple out there in Union Square.

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4 comments
Jasmine Lamb
Jasmine Lamb

I want to be a public listener as well. I live in the woods. I'll put my chair out by the side of the road where all the hunters are driving by in their big trucks. I'll see if they want me to listen. And while I wait I'll listen to everything else.

Kafka wrote, “You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

Jasmine

Jasmine Lamb
Jasmine Lamb

I want to be a public listener as well. I live in the woods. I'll put my chair out by the side of the road where all the hunters are driving by in their big trucks. I'll see if they want me to listen. And while I wait I'll listen to everything else.

Kafka wrote, “You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

Jasmine

mstillman
mstillman

thank you for stopping by and acknowledging the need for listening and silence. come back any time!

Heidi
Heidi

What a beautiful thing, and so profound in so many ways... as much as K may need space to not be vocal, the world is desperately in need of more people who can just listen. Thank you for helping her find her silence, and for helping bring one more true listener to the world :)

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