Listen for the Heart of Things

by Caspar Schjelbred

Reading time:  minutes

Listen for the heart of each thing with Julyen Hamilton (Caspar Schjelbred in the background).

Listen for the heart of things.

That’s what to do if you’re lost, if you don’t know what to do, if you’ve forgotten why you ever did anything in the first place.

I rediscovered it recently in Julyen Hamilton’s workshop in Paris: The Dancing Spirit in Voice, Word and Body. (Yes, that’s me in the background.)

How Could I Forget?

Too much superficial listening and watching. Too many news items. Too much stuff scrolling past. Too much to take in.

Too much for this heart of mine.

It closed in order to survive, and I forgot to listen. I forgot to see and feel. Stopped letting the world enter.

That’s how it goes. That’s how we lose our sense of connection to the world. That’s how we lose our sense of wonder.

It happens easily. Surreptitiously.

What I needed was a week of instant composition, of dancing. Together with others. Here’s what I wrote on the Monday morning of the second week on my way to the workshop:

Listen for the Heart of Things

Week Two
One more, the second step
That which I need; which
I’ve been needing for years
Years of counting to one

One lost, one found again
I realise it, now that I write
These words, on my way underground

Before, just before typing this
These words here, I thought:
“I already got what I needed;
Now what? I got the reignition,
The reconnection to Spring and All

Poetry, music and dance all feel real again,
Within and without, I listened for the heart
Again, like Julyen said, the heart of things

I listened to words, notes, phrases, melodies
And I found my books again, my music
Collection, and spent my weekend
Where I used to live, right next to
And often in the Imagination
(See William Carlos Williams for more)

Now, this morning, on May second,
– Wonderful coincidence, even official
Time is on my side (yes, it is) –
Writing these words, trusting them to
Become phrases, lines, meaning,
Something I didn’t know before I
Started writing, not just writing, but

Writing again, again! O it’s been too long
How good it is to write, even on this device
It’s not the medium, and yet it is,
On paper this would not have been

Typing with two thumbs has a certain
Twiddle to it, and the width of the screen
Determines the length of each line
OK McLuhan, you win - for now
I’d have to think more about it, if –


Back to the workshop, or forward or
Just: to the workshop, week two,
What now? What do I want? I dare ask

Connection through Space, through
The Imagination, with Space, with
The Imagination, with the Others and
All they’ve got, Spring is here, we
Are here, OUI

The answer is to become a dancer, said the human spirit. Then swirled into a multitude of earthly shapes and sang all the way back to heaven.

Published: May 25, 2022

Last modified: September 4, 2022

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