Day 910: What do you hear?

All my therapy groups start with a mindfulness exercise, where we use our senses in silence. One of my favorites  is listening to whatever we can hear in the room. 

If you were to do that exercise right now, what would you hear?

What do I hear? 

Birds chirping. The dishwasher humming. The sound of my typing this on my iPhone keyboard. My breathing. My cat Oscar jumping up on the table and positioning himself. 


A coat on the back of my chair falling to the floor. 


Yesterday, after hearing the sound of rain for many hours, I left the house wearing my “left the house before I felt ready” t-shirt.  I was still hearing rain as I approached my car, only to discover I had left the driver’s side window open, all night long. 

What would you have heard, if you were there?

Just these sounds:

  • A sigh. 
  • A car door opening. 
  • The sound of my placing down carefully, in the back seat of the car,  the bowl of potato salad my bf Michael had made the night before.
  • My  feet on the back steps up to our place.
  •  “Guess what? I left my car window open all night. I haven’t done that in a while,” spoken to my 17-year-old son, Aaron. 
  • A kitchen drawer opening. 
  • Two garbage bags being removed from their container. 
  • My feet on the steps back down. 
  • The sound of two garbage bags being placed to cover the driver’s seat. 

After I heard all those sounds, I drove off to attend the annual summer gathering of the doctors, nurses, and other people working in the same suite as me.  What sounds do you think I heard, on my way there?



On the radio, I heard “Do I Hear a Waltz” — with music by Richard Rodgers (whose birthday it was) and words by Stephen Sondheim.

Then, I heard the sound of my memories of 

  • loving that song the first time I heard it, when I was a kid, 
  • choosing it to sing at a performance, when I was a kid, and 
  • forgetting the words on stage. 

I also heard, yesterday, the sound of these thoughts:

Gee! I guess I loved the words of Stephen Sondheim from the very first moment I heard them. They’re not so easy for a kid to remember!

What did I hear at the party yesterday, in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston?

The sounds of people who work together at a Primary Care Practice in a large Boston teaching hospital,  connecting in different ways. 

What do you hear (or see) as you look at the few photos I took at that gathering ?


What did I hear, once I got home afterwards?










Now, I need to make the sounds of going to work, on a Monday morning. 

Do you hear the sounds of gratitude to everybody I heard and saw yesterday, and to you, too? 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “Day 910: What do you hear?

  1. I can’t tell you what gratitude sounds like, but I can hear it. It’s not synesthesia, which is a very different thing, but looking at the pictures I can feel the gratitude and happiness, and it becomes a sound. Right now I hear keyboards clicking and a printer going, but when I look at the pictures taken outside I can imagine I hear tree frogs. They’re one of the sounds of summer. And that makes me think how when I see lightning bugs flash it’s like visual music; the arc of light they make feels like a single note drawn on a violin. Maybe that is synesthesia.

    • I can tell you what gratitude sounds like — it sounds like this reply to your amazing, magical comment, Christopher.

      Oh, and I brought back a definition, from Google:


      the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.

    • Very lovely Christopher. Me too.

  2. I hear all these beautiful sounds prompted by Ann’s mindfulness exercises, amongst them beautiful heartbeats ❤️ that I suppose are my own. I hear beautiful music played by Ann and see the beautiful people that surround her!

  3. The only thing I’m hearing is talk radio in the background…..a bunch of angry white men and some women always complaining about something. Time to turn it off and pay attention to the simpler things in life. Thanks Ann for reminding me that I don’t need to listen to negative people when there is so much good happening all around me.

  4. Sondheim is lovely, but what I really hear is the sound of my avocado ripening on the counter telling me it’s about ready. Thanks for the reminder, Ann. ☺

  5. The sound of rain is one of my favorites, and I got to hear it the other day when I visited my boyfriend where he is ranch-sitting, w-a-y out in the country.
    In the desert, the sound of rain is a blessing.

  6. I’m gonna be really mundane. I hear the constant flow of traffic on Christchurch Road. I hear Dick Van Dyke playing a doctor on telly in the next room, constantly interrupted by jolly, jolly adverts. The sooner I get away from this computer, the better. Good post, by the way.

  7. I hear a distant leaf blower and my belly gurgling. I hope they aren’t connected!
    What an interesting get together yesterday Ann. What was the theme?…
    Lots to stimulate me today. Thank you Ann!

    • Thanks for this stimulating comment, Val! The theme of the get-together was … nothing in particular. But I will explain this: the doctor who hosted the event was showing me a special ceremonial hat that was worn at her wedding.

  8. I love this post and I love the beginning of meditation when I tune into the environment – the room where I usually do this has a martin’s nest outside and I can hear them burbling away.

  9. I hear the overhead fan of my office – loud and obtrusive. The mouse clicking of a coworker not too far away. And that’s it.

  10. I love the sound of rain, and the sound of nothing

  11. I love the sound of rain hitting my bedroom air conditioner at night when I know I am safe in my bed and do not have to get up. I visit my favorite pond to listen to the sounds of nature that never cease to amaze me.

  12. I hear a symphony of hearts and stars:

  13. Was that a grilled/ pan fried tofu patty? Looked yummy! I made a new tofu recipe tonight and it was so yummy! But of course, what I really wanted for dinner was a bowl of ice cream! 🙂

    • It was delicious swordfish, Kate, and — of course! — I wanted ice cream, too. What was your tofu recipe?

      • Ah, Swordfish, I can see that now that you tell me! Tonight I marinated the tofu in some Hoisin sauce with soy and garlic. I’ve never used Hoisin before, but was good. I dumped it in a skillet with a bit of sesame oil and red pepper flakes and let it sizzle for about 5 min and then tossed it to crisp up the other side while I made some brown rice. Did you know they have cups of like pre-made rice you just nuke for a minute?!? It’s awesome and doesn’t help with my “less processed” food; however, the convenience was awesome! 🙂

      • Great to hear, Kate!!

  14. I hear ‘The Bachelorette’ on the TV and my dear wife Karen watching it on the couch and Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle at the back door. That’s all good, Ann. Very good.

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