Beyond the Din


I stood at the pump while fuel flowed into the tank, assaulted by the sound of busy traffic rushing by. It seemed nearly deafening and I realized I couldn’t hear anything else.

Or could I?


I strained my ears to hear something other than the raging traffic. Sure enough the pulsing music from the gas station could be heard, as well as the hum of the air conditioner unit. I was surprised at how the traffic noise, so all encompassing just minutes before, had, as I listened, subsided enough for me to hear something else.

Then I wondered if I could tune in even further, beyond the tumult of traffic, music, and machine? Could I hear something soft, and light?


I closed my eyes and at first, I heard the whoosh of gas flowing into my car. Yes. I had not been able to hear that before.

And then. I heard them.

Birds tweeting and twittering somewhere in the sparse surrounding trees and electrical lines. I could actually hear, listening with all that I had, the birdsong of a new day.

And I smiled.


It was a wonderful picture of how I’ve been approaching my days lately. I’ve been training myself to listen beyond the loud noisy thoughts of “Achieve more! Do more! Get more done! This isn’t enough! Create more! Improve! Stay on top of it all! Get it all done!”

This brand of thoughts rages through my mind like the noisy traffic in our town. It can be constant and it has long been the litany I’ve paid heed to for many years. This year, however, I’m not listening to it. Or at least, I’m questioning it, and wondering if there’s another line I could tune into. I’m finding there’s a birdsong of living and joy, beyond the din of these maddening thoughts.

As I’m learning to listen beyond the cacophony of noisy thoughts, I’m hearing something so lovely and freeing. It’s a song I’ve heard before, that has broken through the din on numerous occasions. The words to the song are the same every time I tune in: ‘You are loved. You are enough. In this moment, all is well. And all will be well. Today’s unfolding will be sufficient for the day’s needs. My presence goes with you. Live and love. Laugh and be free. Peace and joy are yours.”

As I placed the pump handle back in its cradle, I marveled at the fuel I had just received. My heart was full and ready for miles of living.


Above watercolors were created over this past weekend of high school graduation, graduation picnic, soccer championship game, and numerous other events and activities. I find myself drawn to these abstractions as a way of releasing nervous energy, of gathering rich memories, and of listening beyond the din.

8 thoughts on “Beyond the Din

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      It’s life altering. And it’s crazy how addicted I am to listening to the din rather than the birdsong! Feels like I’m retraining my mind, heart and body in a new direction. Love you Margaret!

  1. Ed pilkington Da says:

    Jennifer, when I taught acting, one of the exercises we used to increase awareness, focus and concentrated relaxation control, was to lie on our backs and listen , just listen, but in stages. There were three stages in the listening. First, we identified our own immediate aural impulses like our own heart beat, breathing, etc. Second, we identified only sounds in the room, like other actors breathing, my breathing, walking around them, air conditoninng sounds. Third we listened only to outside the room sounds like lawn mowers, birds, wind, people talking. At each level we worked to isolate each level, in other words to not let the sounds from one level one to interfere with the sounds in another level. It was hard at first but soon some could actially hear small sounds from very far awy and they were amazed at the relaxation and self control benefit of this exercise. Eventually we moved the exerciise to a standinng position . Eventually we worked this exercise with eyes opened and then with movement. This final level was extremely difficult but incredibly fullfilling when achieved. This exercise actually made the student actor more aware and immediate on stage and helped prepare them to receive any stimuli sent by other actors on stage. .

  2. MaryEllen says:

    I know you’re right, Jennifer, when you say that you feel like you’re re-training your mind. That’s exactly what you’re doing! Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming To Our Senses talks all about this, that the din’s moved us far afield from where we began and not in a good way, and that the goal is to come back to our senses for health and well-being. I love that you practiced this while you were pumping gas–love the metaphor and also love the mundane place where this magic can happen. Just recently discovered you and your beautiful work, looking forward to traveling along with you.

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      Hi Mary Ellen! Thank you for your lovely comment here! I will be checking out that book…thank you for the reference. So glad you are visiting my blog and website. May you have a day of creativity and hearing the birdsong of life! -Jennifer

  3. Timaree says:

    The words to your “song” sound like something Julian of Norwich said in the 1300’s! God’s Truth is never ending isn’t it?

    I’ve got my yarn for the shawl and made a ball out of the skein this morning. Won’t be starting to knit till I am over my dizzy spell though.

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      Hi Timaree! Oh i do hope this dizzy spell doesn’t last very long! So glad you are ready to go on the shawl! Let me know if you have questions. And I’m going to browse around for Julian of Norwich quotes. Thanks for referencing that! Have a lovely day!

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