An essential part of living a more sustainable life is listening. In our modern society it is altogether too easy to succumb to the white noise of every day life. Included in this white noise are - traffic noises, music (either yours or others), televisions, cell phones, customers or clients, bosses, and the omnipresent (though not noticed by many) 60 cycle hum of any electrical appliance or gadget. It is almost impossible to get away from these perpetual sounds. That is why designated wilderness areas in the USA are charged with providing solitude. People need opportunities to remove themselves from the constant barrage of sounds. This din makes it difficult to listen to those around us and even harder to listen to the spirit. You can call this spirit the Holy Spirit, Mother Earth, the Great Spirit, the voices of your ancestors, the inner self or anything else you want, but abiding in this spirit is an essential part of living closer to the earth.
If you are listening closely enough you can get a good idea of impending weather, feel when someone near you is in physical or psychological need, know what your land is needing, and perhaps most importantly, know what is either abundant or lacking in your own life.
One way to improve your ability to listen to the spirit is to fast. Fasting can take many, many forms. You can go without food for up to at least thirteen days, you can forsake the presence of others for an extended period, you can shut off all non essential electricity for a time, you can even go without liquids for about three days if you feel the need for a deep purge. I have no intention of walking people through the steps of beginning a fast. There is information aplenty written by far more experienced folks than me. And besides purpose of a fast can dictate the methods. All I can say is that it has been far too long since I have made use of this powerful tool, and I feel that my ability to listen to the spirit has become very limited because of it. Soon I will be embarking on such a journey and when I do I will disappear from here for a time.
I'll be back.
In the meantime you can enjoy a picture of my new friend: