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