Finding Your Rhythm Profiling Practice 111: Inquiry: Finding the Language for Listening

Weekly Practice 31

Every week we profile one of the “Reflect to Create! “ practices from my book, they are chosen at random from a jar on my desk.  My invitation is for you to try it out if it speaks to you in some way.



Welcome back!

Hoping you had a wonderful Festival of Lights and wishing you and yours all the very best for 2020 and beyond!

This week we are profiling Practice 111: Finding the Language for Listening (from page 189 of my book). 

Practice 111 is in the suite of The Flow’s Art of Listening. I have chosen this practice this week because deep winter is a time for stillness and deep listening. Learning to listen to ourselves, to others and to life – with a willingness to be changed by it – Listening is a radical act of trust and patience as we explore the questions that life asks of us.

Maria Rainer Rilke reminds us to embrace, love, and live our questions: and not to rush at answers, which are not yet formed or ready to emerge. As he wrote¹:

“Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

Our early intuition inhabits a different landscape inviting us to listen in different ways to our everyday speech. Poetry, art, music, nature and literature can help us tune into new and different base notes and timbres which can help support us in our listening. This is because as John O’Donohue wrote²

“There is an unseen life that dreams us; it knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize, and we need have no fear of change.”

For this practice ask yourself: 

  • ‘What is life inviting me into?’ and ‘What does life want of me?’
  • What poets, writers, musicians, artists or places can help support me to listen with a different ear? 
  • How can I learn to trust my listening?
  • How can I learn to listen in the Fertile Void with ease and grace?

For Paul Goodman³:

“Confusion is the state of promise

The Fertile Void where surprise is possible again.”


Reflect, doodle and journal as you listen. 

Please do share your stories so we can all learn together.

Join us on our “Reflect to Create!” Facebook page.



[1] Rilke, R. M (1903) Letters to a Young Poet. Chapter 4. Worpswede, neat Bremen, July 16th, 1903. [Accessed] Downloaded: 11th November 2016

[2] Cited in ‘A Tribute to John O’Donohue’ by David Whyte Downloaded 30th October 2017

[3] Paul Goodman quote Downloaded 4th July 2017 from

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