Today, in my morning meditation, I focused on listening.
Considering that I’m going to facilitate a group on listening and that I picked a card saying that “a deeper level of listening is needed”, it was a natural choice.
While I was breathing into this thought, I realised that lately I’ve been talking and thinking and about listening more than I’ve been doing it.
My recurring struggle aligning what I know with what I do.
I tell a friend to take some time off and walk in nature, while I spend most of my time sitting with my laptop. I write about the importance of having clarity about who we are to guide our steps, and I don’t take time to explore my own identity.
How easy it is to get trap into the doing. When our intentions and actions are not in sync, that’s a good sign that we are losing the connection with our true self.
Listening is a good example. It is easier listening to others than to my self.
Yet, this apparent weakness hides also an opportunity.
If it’s easier to listen to others, than maybe we can help each other in this.
We can be the listeners for others while others are the listeners for us.
Through meaningful conversation and trust, we can create a space of mutual listening.
July 1987, early Saturday morning in a little town in the North-East of Italy.
The town is almost empty. It’s too early for the kids on holidays from school and too late for the workers. In the churchyard, a family of four and an old nun are waiting.
The boy is thirteen, even if he looks younger. With his thin legs, the square glasses and the narrow shoulders, it seems like he is trying to hide from the world. He is timid, and he would prefer to be lost reading some adventurous stories than being there waiting with his family. A few other families join them in the square, just before the arrival of the bus. The boy has never been anywhere before without his parents. Yes, in his dreams, he has already travelled to plenty of exotic places, but that doesn’t help in the present situation. He is going to go away to a summer camp for a full week with his smaller sister. And he doesn’t know anyone else. He steps into the already full bus, this is the last stop before heading to the mountains. With his sister behind him, he walks towards the back of the bus looking for empty seats. He feels as if all the eyes are staring at him. Sure they are. They all know each other, and they must think he is a nerd from the countryside. The only two seats left available are at the very end of the bus. Behind them, on the last row, a group of guys who look older than all the others. All so confident and relaxed. Among them, there’s a boy whose voice stands out. He is the taller and the louder of them all. With his long hair, he looks like he came straight out of a movie. And he has a prosthetic arm. The boy has never seen a prosthetic arm before in his life. The bus leaves the square, with the cheering parents, the sleepy town and everything familiar behind. The boy is scared, but he wants to play the big brother with his sister. Even if, to be honest, she looks a lot more at ease than him. The cool guys on the back seats are having fun. The guy with the prosthetic arm takes out a portable cassette player. And this song started. A song he never heard before. He can’t understand the lyrics, but that line of bass and that voice carve their way into his heart.
I still remember how I felt that morning.
So, when this song started while I was listening to random stuff on youtube, for a few seconds, I was that shy and innocent boy again. Obviously, a lot of other songs have been played during that bus trip. But this is the only one I remember.
I know it’s just a small event in my life. Thou, that trip is one of the defining moments in my life. It was my first time really out of my comfort zone, opening up to the world.
That summer camp spent with plenty of other guys and girls on the mountain has been such a fantastic experience that I kept doing it every summer for the following ten years or so.
And in that week, I also fell in love for the first time that week. Oh yeah, a proper love story even if she never knew about it.
Definitely, this song will always have a special place in my heart.