#listeningaslove

For many, January can be a difficult month with post-Yuletide blues, cold-dark nights and the pile of bills from Christmas adding to life’s trials. Indeed, the month hosts what has become known as Blue Monday, statistically the most depressing day of the year. However, rather than dwelling on what is wrong, the initiative proposes a listening practice that helps remedy this by reminding ourselves of what is right about our lives, our communities and our environment. It is based upon the traditional Buddhist practice of ‘metta’ (cultivating loving-kindness). Participants are invited to undertake a short daily practice - fostering ‘positive' thoughts and feelings by using a found sound or soundscape as a reminder or trigger. The sound event or soundscape chosen each day could be extraordinarily novel or beautifully mundane, it really doesn’t matter. It only matters that on hearing the sound it is explored, and one listens for what is positive in its origins, qualities, history, or potential and then makes a determined effort to cultivate feelings of compassion, joy, gratitude or kindness – whatever feels appropriate. Participants do not have to share this listening with anyone, although it is important that there is a commitment to doing this daily. However, participants have the opportunity to recount their listening experiences to others using social media by tweeting with #listeningaslove or joining the Facebook group and sharing. Posts can use poetry or prose and be appended with sounds, images, or videos. Formulating a post in a spirit of care and generosity can be a great way of keeping the good feelings going and inspiring others.