Last week I had shared how Susan E. has experienced a shift in the listening at Loussac Library. She noticed guests seeking out listening – and how it felt like listening was starting to take hold in the community at the Library.

Interestingly, I had the opposite experience last Monday- I didn’t have one guest, although someone did ask me to help them with spelling and another person asked me the name of the actor in Schindler’s List.

I chocked up the ‘lack of guests’ to the fact that the library was so busy on Monday I couldn’t find a table in order to set up the LP. I ended up using a table that was rather isolated and… that may be the reason no one came for listening. Or… maybe it was just a quiet day.

I’ve noticed opposites and contradictions recently. And I have been intrigued by them. While there might be a situation in which a contradiction implies a problem or implies something is right and another thing is wrong… it very well may be that a contradiction implies a mystery, something unknowable by the mind yet somehow… miraculously… true.

Below is the poem “The Winter of Listening,” by David Whyte. Marcia has shared excerpts from this poem with us. It expresses a beautiful acknowledgment of contradictions, opposites, mystery… and listening.

on behalf of Marcia and myself, Enjoy!

The Winter of Listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
Silence and winter
has led me to that

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

~  David Whyte  ~

(The House of Belonging)