Listen first. Nothing else matters.

Ram Dass once said that the quieter we become, the more we can hear.

And lately, we’ve all had to be so much quieter than we ever have before.

What is there left, when we can no longer fill the spaces in between with white noise to drown out the signals we don’t want to hear?

It’s a time of uncomfortable questions, and often more uncomfortable answers. It’s a time when things that have lain dormant are re-awakened, and we start to reach further within ourselves to find the source of those crashing waves that keep us up late at night when the rest of the world is asleep and the silence has become an overwhelming riptide.

But I think we can choose to listen passively, and be borne away by everything we hear as though we have no say in it, or to listen actively. Listen for the joy, listen for the questions that make us feel alive, and listen for the love that we had no idea we even felt. Because in the silence, I think we can also find hidden comforts and warmth.

Joan Westenberg is an award winning Australian contemporary writer, designer and creative director. She is the founder of branding and advertising firm Studio Self. Her approach to messaging, communication and semiotics has built her reputation as a writer, and she has been named as one of the leading startup voices in Australia by SmartCompany.

Her writing has appeared in The SF Chronicle, Wired, The AFR, The Observer, ABC, Junkee, SBS, Crikey and over 40+ publications. Her regular work can be found on Pizza Party, a blog about creativity, culture and technology. Joan is the creator Transgenderinclusion.com, an open-source workplace inclusion hack, and the author of the book #DIY, a manifesto for indie creativity.

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, The AFR, SF Chronicle, Junkee. founder tinyspells.xyz / thisisstudioself.com ✨ She/Her.

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