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Healing through Listening to Place — Day 3 of 40 Days of Listening

Day 3 — Healing through listening to place

We won’t save places we don’t love. We can’t love places we don’t know. And we don’t know places we haven’t learned. — Baba Dioum (Senegalese environmentalist)

Becoming “disciples” of the watershed…

There is a growing movement among practitioners of Christianity to engage in “watershed discipleship*.” The word disciple simply means learner, so to practice watershed discipleship is to immerse oneself and learn from one’s watershed**.

But beware. Learning your watershed — localizing your attention and listening to place — will agitate your soul.

Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower of happiness grow. There can be no lotus flower without the mud. — Thich Nhat Hanh

It is in coming to know — in entering more deeply into our relationships with place — that we grow our awareness of the beauty and miracle of life. But this proximity also makes us aware of earth’s suffering. Water, soil, plants and creatures. We begin to see the impact we humans are causing through an overly-consumptive way of being.

In practicing watershed discipleship, we learn the specific place we live for the sake of transformation. This is not about quick fixes. It’s about the cumulative healing that comes as we, in a daily and committed way, deepen our relationships in our immediate environment.

What if “Follow me…” was the call of the snowflake or raindrop, the turkey or the milkweed seed? What do they have to teach us? What loving action might they inspire? What healing and transformation awaits us all?

P.s., The third spiritual practice we are engaging during these 40 days are “Listening Walks.” At our upcoming gathering, Listening to Place, (Sunday, March 1, 9am Meditation & 10am Gathering) we will be sharing Listening to Place Practice Journals. These journals contain words of wisdom, instructions for practicing “listening walks”, and space for reflection, all for the sake of deepening our relationship to the place we live. Come to the gathering for a copy. We’ll also share a digital version in upcoming emails.

* Learn more about WATERSHED DISCIPLESHIP at

** Find your watershed and explore ways to care for it by visiting the Mississippi Watershed Management Organizations website.

Learn more about what a watershed is at



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