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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Slow Down and Listen to the Music

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Work, meetings, studies, socials, meals, travel, hobbies- how can you possibly fit it all into a day? A week? Even a year and there is barely enough time to satisfy this diversity. But with all these things, the calendar fills with a blur of annotations and deadlines until we can lose sight of the people in our lives, our friends and family, but most frightening- in the noise we lose ourselves.

Slow down. This most valuable lesson might still save my own impressively overscheduled lifestyle from becoming a run-on existence. To pause in life’s ventures gives the chance to breathe, relax, and listen. Too much of the world disappears just passing in a blur. So if you stop all activity and listen, what can you hear?

Stop to listen to the resonance around you. As your heart grows calm from sitting still, you can feel its marching rhythm. The pace may change with the heavy footfalls of passers-by. Slow matches the even demeanor of a walk, heart racing to join the excitement of someone running. When they are gone, listen to compare your heartbeat to that of the building, for buildings breathe and pulse like people. They too have rhythm.

But when the soul longs for deeper expression, rhythm without melody cannot reflect memory nor inspire admiration. The rustle of crunching leaves or the wrinkle of a snowy imprint may forever invoke a world filled with wonder. Cicada hum or cricket chirp recalls shining days under a summer’s sky, while for me the rush of wind through sheaves of corn forever whispers “home.” How many of us have longingly stared out an open window listening to the rain’s syncopation, or sat beside a laughing brook for comfort? Pause in the splendor of the world around you! If you listen closely, the sun sets in cascading triads, the moon sighs in ballads, and at the center of silence, the stars ripple in minors, a chorus surpassing any we humans can make.

Find quiet in your life and you will find the music, for all sounds, all color and shape as well, craft sensation. Sound and sight communicate with no words, but directly in the language of emotion. Nothing else can speak so purely as listening to the music of the world, simply listening to what is already there. Listen for it for it and you will find this beautiful world around you, a world of which you are part. That means that all you do resonates, good, bad, or peaceful. Listen to the song you produce, and find what parts you can tune to harmonize with your surroundings. When you pause, make each rest and measure count.

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