Listen to the Universe

That whisper you keep hearing is the universe trying to get your attention.    ~Oprah Winfrey

The past months have been crazy-busy.  While trying to keep current with day-to-day tasks at my office day job, I’ve had new projects and programs to learn.  At home I’ve been writing steadily, preparing my work for launching.  Through it all, I’ve been desperate to read and absorb all I can about the ever-changing world of Indie Publishing.

Still, this week I’ve had moments when I’ve heard the whisper of the universe.  They’ve jarred me from intense focus and opened my eyes to a sense of the world’s wonder.  None of the moments were huge. No weddings or childbirths.  No grand championships, or lottery wins.  Just everyday events that softly nudged my soul.

On Friday at work, a new mom brought her seven-week old son to the office to see his grandfather.  I was just coming back from lunch when I saw them walking toward me in the hall. We stopped and talked. Smiling, I watched mom hand the babe to her dad.  He lifted his grandson (his first), cradled him against his shoulder, and gently rubbed his back.  A few co-workers gathered round ooohing and ahhhing, as we women tend to do when we look on a new baby, especially a cutie like this little guy. And while I watched the proud grandfather hold his sweet, sweet grandson, I felt a tiny tingle as the universe whispered. This is life.

Friday night we attended our high school’s football game. Both teams were undefeated. In the chilly October air, hubby and I sat close on the metal bleachers, atop a red plaid stadium blanket that pre-dates our thirty-something sons.  From the booster clubs’ refreshment stands, the scent of hamburgers and fries drifted our way. The bands blared, crowds roared and feet stomped shaking the stands as plays were intercepted, players were tackled, and finally took the ball in for a touchdown, and then another.  Final score – 20 to 16.  We’re still undefeated. 🙂  We don’t go to games often, but when we do, I hear the universe whisper.

Saturday evening, four in our family went out for an early dinner to celebrate son #2’s birthday.  We sat at the table sipping coffee, munching simple food, licking our lips over ice cream desserts.  Throughout the meal we caught up on each others’ lives, and reminisced about earlier times.  They talked of the time son #2 cut his younger brother’s hair.  “You cut his hair?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said. “You wrote a column about it.”  Funny, I had no memory of the event, or my article.  “How old were you?” I asked.  “Young enough that I was using those little kid’s safety scissors.”  Still no memory, not even of the article.  He shrugged.  “Maybe I cut it up with the safety scissors.”  More talking, laughing, savoring our time together.   And as we parted with warm hugs outside the restaurant, the universe whispered again.

We drove home, passing broad farm fields filled with brittle cornstalks.  Off in the west the sun was setting in a brilliant yellow-red glow, radiating off the clouds.  I wanted to take a picture but was afraid we’d be too late to catch it at home.  My husband turned and drove up to the old Indian Tower on a hill high above our town so I could capture some of the fading brilliance.  And once more, the universe whispered.

It is easy to let precious moments slide by in a rush of daily routines – going to work, cleaning, laundry, shopping.  But as writers, and as humans, we must pay close attention.  Such little moments are gold to claim and commit to our stories, not only to make them real to the reader, but also to live on in our memories.  The velvet feel of a baby’s silken skin.  The proud love in a grandfather’s face.  The blare of a high school band after a touchdown.  Laughter at family stories.  Aroma of strong coffee. The fading brilliance of an October sunset.

I’ve read that the secret to good writing is to just write.  But in our writing we must also learn to pull raw emotion from our daily lives, to transfer those feelings to the written word.  No heightened soap-operaesque overkill, just simple human emotion.

We must listen to the universe.   Thank you, Oprah.  ♥

24 thoughts on “Listen to the Universe

  1. I love those moments, too! Last night after a very long difficult day, I was driving to McDonald’s to get Steven’s and my dinner and saw the most gorgeous sunset. Unfortunately, i didn’t have my camera. However, I did take a moment to pull the car to the side of the road and admire it. I took the time to hear the whisper.

    Thank you for a lovely post

    • MJ, I’ve been trying to carry my old camera, the little Kodak, in my purse so I always have it. Never had much luck with cell phone camera, not enough pixels I think. So glad you pulled over on the roadside. Much safer that trying to observe while driving and sometimes a sunset is just too beautiful to ignore!

  2. In our area the trees have turned to fall leaves and it’s gorgeous. We should always take the time to admire our world and listen to the whisper. Deb, a lovely blog. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks, Sandy. I think October is one of the prettiest months in the northeast, and in the midwest. Along with everything else, we’ve been gifted with so much beauty in life. Yes, we need to take time to admire and listen. So glad you liked this. Enjoy the week ahead!

    • On my dresser I have an 8″ x 12″ tapestry covered pillow that I use for my jewelry pins. I bought it at a craft fair a few years ago to remind me. It says just that – Smell the Roses. But sometimes what’s in everyday view becomes commonplace and I forget to heed the reminder. Think I’ll move it to another location. 🙂 Thanks for stopping in, Jerrie.

  3. What a lovely way to express what we need to do on a daily basis – listen to the universe as inspiration for our writing. And we can find that inspiration in the smallest things, as you said, the whispers that almost flit by us unnoticed. But if we try to keep our awareness keen to those experiences, they will not only enrich our lives but our writing as well.
    Thank you, Deb, for a gorgeously written post.

    • The smallest things…that’s what is so amazing, isn’t it? There’s wonder to be found everywhere. Thank you for your kind words, Patti. Have a grand week!

    • Thanks, Anne. Writing it was a great reminder for me.

      I saw on the WisRWA loop you’ve been visiting the regions. Sounds fun and so worthwhile for all! Hope I can make it to next year’s conference in Wausau area.

  4. What a beautiful blog!! Thanks for the reminder of something we all need to do much more often. With three kids, work, family needs, writing, etc., it’s very easy to forget to stop and enjoy the moment. Wonderful sentiments, lovely blog as always! 🙂

    • Ah Beth, I don’t know how you possibly do all that you do. I remember those years when my sons were the age your kids are now and I was so involved in everything. As you said, it’s very easy to forget to stop and enjoy the moment. At times it feels impossible but there’s always time, somewhere.

      Looking forward to the coming weekend! 🙂

  5. You make me smile and nudge my soul! You are so right about just writing what you feel; what you know. Your moments are like those of so many yet sometimes we just don’t stop long enough to absorb the warm fuzzies of each passing day. I love the visual of that certain someone holding his grandchild, thank you for that. You also remind me of how much I miss Oprah…lol

  6. Deb, you have such a beautiful way with words. I’ve been out of town and am just now catching up with blogs. I’ve only taken time to respond to one other and yours. This morning while I was wallking, the bird sounds really caught my attention. Very distinctive sounds, from a steady high pitched chirping, to a “chit, chit, chit” scold to the “caw, caw” of the black bird, and others I won’t even attempt to suggest. 🙂 I Don’t know if they are always that way, they were louder than ususal, or I just heard them today. They’ve inspired me to look at a ms I’m editing for logical places to include that “stuff.” You’ve inspired me to keep my eyes and ears open for more of the universe. Thanks. Marsha

  7. Thanks, Lindsay. Yeah, I love pictures. Always have. Snapping pictures helps preserve the memories. Thank you for your comments (and I still love your atavar!)

    Rose, so glad you enjoyed the post. That means a lot. And seeing that certain someone hold his grandson was a good moment, one that inspired this post.

    Marsha, your walk sounds incredible. Nothing like really listening to sounds, especially birdsong. Hope you find lots of little places in your ms to slip in the universe’s whispers.

    Oh, I like evocative, Tahlia! 🙂 Thank you. And yeah, melodrama is easy to step into. A long ago CP called it “purple prose.” Still, reading it…like in the Bulwer Lytton contest…is such fun!

    Thanks all for your comments!

  8. Amy, you’re not alone. Thanks so much for your comments.

    Anita, I never know if I’m going to reach anyone when I write pieces like this one. So glad I reached you. 🙂

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