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Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within the other person.

 I discovered this gift in another book while rooting around for a topic for my next blog—gift because of its striking use of juxtaposition: creates, sanctuary, and homeless parts with listening; gift, because of its power in shoving apart steel barriers imprisoning my psychic depths. I still wince at the scraping sounds on the cement floor of my prison.
 

Its distinguished author is Rachel Naomi Remen, medical teacher, author, poet, and currently professor at Osher Center of Integrative Medicine at University of California San Francisco.

Rachel Naomi Remen

So moved was I by this quotation that I decided to use it in the first person, then amplify it according to my present circumstances.

My CPA Recovery teaches the primacy of listening, of stepping back from distractions and become fully engaged in the beauty of the unfolding moment, whether shared with a significant other or alone, whether spoken or in print. Exercising the Twelve Steps facilitates this process.

Like pesky mosquitoes hovering over creek beds, my symptoms zap my inner quiet and prohibit listening—then, imprison me until time for bed and sleep with my “cocktail.” Such intrusions pull me out of prayer and into anxiety, impatience, and my need for help, more than I’d like to admit.

But when I’m able to sort through the rabble and bring compassion to the troublemakers, or the homeless parts, a new creation occurs: its colors, scintillating and fresh, like that First Morning Genesis describes. I find myself in a sanctuary, a place of communion, peace, and joy, unlike any I’ve seen around the world.

Only Precious God produces such revelations that buoy me until the next one, usually on the heels of a spell of aridity. I’m humbled and grateful.

Church bells, town hall bells, garden bells, handbells, alarm bells, electric bells, cowbells, jingle bells, ships’ bells, ice cream truck bells, and so many more—seems like bells have always been around. And indeed, they have. In 2000 BCE, with the advance of metallurgy in ancient China, bells began to appear, slowly penetrating themselves into its culture, religion, and way of life. Neighboring countries followed suit.

In addition to various weights of metals, today’s craftsmen produce bells in wood, glass, pottery, and stoneware.

When struck, their sound quickens us, instantly modifies our worlds and rouses feelings: joy, sorrow, fear, dread, order, or inspiration. As the strains fade from awareness, we return to our familiar world, and, if wise, savor the intrusion and learn from it.

Why do bells affect us so? On a deeper level, we consider their symbolic meaning: a universal means of communicating truth—As if the bell’s tongue carries a divine summons to pay attention. And as the poet Mary Oliver reminds us, “Be astonished! Tell about it!”

Time is passing.

My great-niece leaps above the in-coming tide of the Atlantic Ocean, Ogunquit, Maine, June 2022

Such joy touches mine!

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