Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ears Up!

This week, I received this award from my dear friend, Arlene, at Grey Horse Matters. I have to admit that at first, I looked at it and thought it was kind of weird. It wasn’t hearts and flowers and cute and charming. It was an ear. It came with this explanation:

“The Van Gogh's Ear Award is for blogs that are making a difference in the blogosphere. Its creator said, "We are all artists in our own way, be it art, photography, writing, philosophy, comedy, or blogging, and we all go a little crazy sometimes. But if you ever feel so crazy to cut off your ear and give it to a prostitute, "Seek Help"! Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else."

Now, I can promise you that I’d never consider cutting off my ear and giving it to a prostitute, and I am certain that none of the bloggers who receive this award from me would ever think of doing that either. But I do appreciate the significance of the ear as a symbol of our ability to listen to each other and support what others have to say.

I’ve been teaching a new phrase to Siete. She’s been quite grumpy recently, as so many of us have been. Her reaction is to pin her ears back in protest. One of Carolyn Resnick’s suggestions is to say, “Ears up!” and wait to give the horse a treat until she perks her ears towards you to indicate that she is listening. It took me a long time to realize the importance of learning to listen well. I like to tell stories, so for many years, I spent a great deal of time noting what was happening to me or to others, and then talking or writing about it. It was only as I got older that I understood how important it is to simple listen and keep your mouth shut.

Raising my daughter, I constantly remember something that an old friend of mine once told me. Her son was having a lot of troubles in his life, and when he would tell her what was happening, she would try to give him advice. She said that finally she figured out that what he really needed was for her to just walk along beside him and listen. Ever since I heard that, I’ve tried to spend more time listening and less time talking.

So, while there are many blogs that make me go, “Ears up!”, I’d like to pass this award on to the following ones:
The Dog House
Oak in the Seed
Spartacus Jones
Esther Garvi
Unseen Dharamsala


Grey Horse Matters said...

When I first saw the ear I thought it was kind of creepy. But what it stands/hears for is a good thing.
That picture is pretty cute.

detroit dog said...

Thank you, Victoria!

We all out here in the blogosphere try our best. Given that what we do is "talk" a lot, it's nice to know that others believe we listen, as well.

Pony Girl said...

Yeah, kind of a funny lookin' award, hee! Great post though. This is so true...listening. We talk about it in the classroom realm too, how important it is to stop talking and listen to what the children have to say. You'll pick up a lot! Happy Friday, Victoria! And Siete, keep those ears up! ;)

billie said...


The pony went through a period of time when he got very grumpy about anyone coming in his stall. During that phase, when he pinned his ears he immediately got his rope halter on and we did some yielding exercises in the arena, rain or shine, night or day, and the moment he would lower his head and lick and chew, we stopped the exercise and returned him to the stall.

It got so he would lick and chew the moment he saw the halter!

We also play a game using our fingers as our own ears to "talk" back and forth with him. He usually perks his ears in curiosity.

My favorite method these days is asking him to "join" - by holding out a hand palm up and looking down. He connects very quickly and the ears come up.

Sounds like Siete is enjoying your new approach!

Esther Garvi said...

I'm honoured, Victoria! I saw your post before leaving last night but wanted to read it in peace and quite. So I came back today and had a moment. I loved what you're doing with Siete. So often, when animals frustrate us, we are even less likely to listen than when a human does. I've been thinking of you a lot lately that now we are raising Isolde. It's a fun time, but it puts a lot of pressure on us, since anything that goes wrong from now on will be our doing. Thankfully, she's a gentle sort - mischievous, but easy going. And she loves humans. Kalahari will be a different chapter, as she is already showing off the "I-will-rule-the-world-soon" kind of attitude... :-)

Warm hugs from Africa,

Bill Evertson said...

I love your friends advice about advice. Perhaps I'm finally maturing because I find myself listening more when my 20 year old calls for "advice". I'm all for more listeners and fewer advisors.

Lori Skoog said...

Victoria...Glad to hear that the snow is almost gone at your place. Here too and it can't go soon enough. Unfortunately, it is supposed to go from 50 to 30 this afternoon and stay cold for the next week.
Congrats on your new award.

Carolynn said...

Congratulations on your award. (although it looks like Van Gogh could do with a good wash).

Yes, exercising our ability to be quiet is a powerful thing.

Deborah Carr said...

What wonderful advice. I agree so wholeheartedly...most times when I want to whine or complain or vent, I simply want a friend to listen...and then to make me laugh.