Like most people who start a new blog, I’ve had moments when I felt unsure as to whether I could write enough new material. There are always plenty of things going on that might be worth writing about; the challenge is in finding meaningful ways to describe and relate to them. It can seem overwhelming at times—so many experiences and perceptions to draw from, so much going on in the world, and the inevitable doubts about what has been overlooked and whether one’s small efforts really have any meaning to others.

When I stepped outside a few days ago to bring in the mail, I noticed that the crocuses and other spring bulbs in my front garden had started to come up. There were no flowers to be seen, but only the blunt green tips of the leaves, pushing their way through the hard snow-dusted ground. The garden was quiet and still, except for a slight breeze that moved the tips of bare branches almost too slowly to be noticed. This scene left me with a strong feeling that if I had been closer to the ground, and if my ears had been sensitive enough to hear what was going on below the surface, there would have been a tremendous amount of life and activity to which I could listen.

Many of the people I’ve met online are social change activists of one sort or another. Sometimes they feel that it is an overwhelming struggle and that the world is too full of injustice for their work to make much difference. They despair of ever being able to get enough people to understand their point of view. They wonder how they’ll find the energy and resolution to keep on speaking out regardless.

Both anxious bloggers and overworked activists can benefit from a slower pace every once in a while, rather than struggling to be in control of the narrative at all times. We can’t control everything that goes on around us, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s enough, like the crocuses, just to send up a few hardy shoots into the sunlight while waiting for nature to take its course. Sometimes it’s enough just to stand still amidst birdsong and gentle breezes. Take a breath, taste the changes in the air, feel the energy of life all around, and listen.

Listen.

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