Field Trip # 10 with the Arnhem based, North American musician, educator, certified deep listening trainer and Associate Editor of The Journal of Sonic Studies Sharon Renee Stewart (USA)
The focus of Field Trip #10, Mother’s Day Listening Walk was on how listening to our (natural) environment can influence our perception of the world and our own perception of ourselves as a sensitive, vibrating body in the world.
After a group picnic, we divided into two groups and set off across the sands of the Veluwezoom park. Gathering in a circle (including trees) we entered more nonverbal space, quietening and turning our attention to the ‘five gates’ (crown of head, palms, balls of feet), allowing an openness to the environment to spread and expand from there. After some simple body awareness, softening and opening exercises, we set off slowly on the path, with the intention of turning our attention toward feeling the earth holding, supporting and sustaining us with each step, and allowing the breath to slow.(1)
Once at the bottom of the hill we did a Qigong (Chi Kung) exercise and then found our own spot to practice nonjudgmental, full-body listening, allowing the sounds to pass freely through our perceptual space, picking up the vibrational energy with our ears, skin and the fluids of the body, welcoming them and letting them flow away again. Our next walk was with an awareness of flow, how every step we take leads to the next step, noticing the flow of the breath.(1)
The last spot was on the side of a hill, tucked beneath the pine trees, where the ants roam freely. We chose a partner and did a windbreath duo, sitting back to back, breathing and sounding with the breath of our partner and in close listening to the sounds of the wind. We rose like young sprouting plants and began our walk back to the picnic spot, where we joined the partner's and children's listening club.
The children had also led each other in listening games and exercises. One highlight was lying on their stomachs in front of an ant heap and listening to the sounds of the ants. Inspiring! There is so much to listen to.
(1) In addition to the training received at the Deep Listening intensive retreats (2008, 2009 and 2010) and during my certification process with Pauline Oliveros, IONE, and Heloise Gold, I am greatly indebted to Heloise for the body awareness exercises. The themes of the Walking Sessions were taken from her book Deeply Listening Body, (c) 2008, Deep Listening Publications, p.6.