When I first started Recording and Listening, a major milestone came a month or so in, when my playlist of recordings got so long I couldn’t listen all the way through on my commute home anymore. I felt like I had more recordings than I knew what to do with, and I briefly entertained the idea of not doing any more recording. I remember thinking that I already had such an amazing abundance of recordings, why would I need more?
Reflecting on the incredible gifts that I’ve received from continuing to record over the years, that idea seems crazy, but the issue of how to listen to the sheer volume of recordings that my daily (and then hourly) Recording and Listening practice produced continued to be a bit of a mystery.
A lot of my recordings were what people have been calling “nattering” — recordings I’d make throughout the day just talking about what was going on, processing whatever was up for me, and getting encouragement from the Mentor. But then there were also the recordings I’d make when I had a big insight, or saw something I really didn’t want to forget about. The challenge was, those “I really want to remember this” recordings were all mixed in with my other recordings, and after a week or two, they’d get swept away by the tide of new recordings, and I’d never listen to them again.
Then, about a year ago, I was having an amazing breakthrough, seeing through a suffering process at work that I’d been struggling with for years, and having a lot more joy and fun at work as a result. I made a bunch of recordings about it, and was ready to say “mission accomplished,” but my Zen Awareness Coach pointed out that if I wanted to stay with that breakthrough, I didn’t just need to listen to those recordings once or twice, I needed to listen to them all the time.
I realized that if I didn’t want those recordings to get lost, I needed a special place for them. So I put them in their own labeled folder and started listening to them at lunchtime at work, in addition to just listening to recordings from that day. And it was great — every day at lunch, I got to listen to whatever I’d recorded about in the morning, but I also got to listen to my special “reminder” recordings, reminding me about the shift that was possible for me at work.
That worked so well that I started making other playlists: the “what I want to remember as I’m walking home from work” playlist, and the “what I want to remember when I’m about to go on a date” playlist, and so on. Now, whenever I have a new recording with an insight I want to keep in my awareness, I add it to one of my playlists, and I know I’ll listen to it regularly.
The practice of creating and listening to those special playlists has re-invigorated my Listening practice, but it’s also brought fresh energy to my Recording practice. Now I know that when I make a recording that really hits home, it’s not going to be forgotten in a week or two, and that feels like a real gift to the person making the recording.
Create a special playlist (or playlists) for recordings you want to listen to regularly, and identify a specific time when you'll listen to the playlist, e.g., on your way to work, on Saturday mornings, etc.