Today I got off a train at London Kings Cross and walking towards the exits I passed a train attendant. She began blowing a whistle very enthusiastically just a she was next to me and I immediately felt frustrated. The physical experience was one of instant tension and a nerve tingling in my ear that I knew would continue for a while. Further along another train attendant was blowing his whistle very loudly too.
So I was feeling exhausted with this noisy busy world. Bloody people everywhere walking too closely to the train trying to get ready for departure forcing the attendants to blow their whistles and shout demonstratively. Mindless teeming masses, right…
But British railway stations bring out something else in me. A simple amazement at the old world and the history of trains. Steam trains, the iron work and architecture of old stations in particular speaks to me on a non verbal level.
And the sound of the whistles suddenly connected me to other times. Like a sound across generations and I felt a jolt of joy at this sound that we so rarely hear these days of automated announcements and artificially created sounds.
I cannot change how my sensitive body and nervous system reacts to loud noises but life as a sensitive person can be a bit eaiser when I can honour the frustration, hold lightly the judgements that come with it and at the same time listen to other stories that unfolding in those things that seem to intrude on me.
In nonviolent communication there is an image of listening with jackal ears and listening with giraffe ears. Listening to other people and the outside world as well as listening to ourselves, our inner dialogues, narratives and bodies.
In each moment of interaction with the world there are layers of stories and many ways to listen.