Armenia Day 21: On Being Listened To

photo credit Tamara Khlghatyan in a room where you can be listened to

The interview room at New Illuminations in Gyumri photo credit Tamara Khlghatyan


I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. … When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them. … Listen to what they’re saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it. …

A loving silence often has far more power to heal and connect than the most well intentioned words.

– Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom
via One Spirit Learning Alliance


I am in Yerevan, the main city in Armenia, preparing to fly home tomorrow morning. By a sweet twist of perfection, my close friend Lydia is also flying in to Boston at the same hour, so her car will be my ride home across the state of Massachusetts on a snowy Sunday night, home.


But not before I tell you these weeks in Armenia have been soaked with beauty, stretching to new spaces within me, in my teaching and presence. I have listened with an open heart to so many people. Listened in the way you do when a language not your own is being spoken and you have to filter through a translator, but read in real time the emotional content as it is expressed.

“Listening is the first part of ceremony.”

-Terry Tempest Williams

The interview room with Terry Tempest Williams quote at New Illuminations about listening

I won’t write much here. I am tired and struck with a state of digestion of this huge time alone, away from my family, taking in the rough beauty of Gyumri, of teaching and interviewing that culminated in the opening of our exhibit last night at Shahumyan 148 in central Gyumri.










Beauty flowed out on to the street. It met the star filled sky with a beam of joy rising from a large group of women artists being witnessed and taken seriously. I was so met, so matched with my collaborators, Anna Gargarian and Charlotte Poulain of HAYP Pop Up Gallery. When we parted last night, we could really only beam at each other.

So while I have spent these 3 weeks listening, I have also been listened to in a way that has not yet happened in my life. The exhibit features the work of 20 women artists, and expresses my intent with the inception of New Illuminations and the interviews eloquently. I feel like a cup of tea that has been fully drunk, drained and ready to be wiped clean.

Then refilled.

What is next, I am not sure at all.
Thanksgiving with my family.
Lots of thank you notes.
Laundry in the cold November air.
Standing under my oak and telling all I have seen and celebrated.
And thinking of this group of women, newly in hand with books and words and community.

photo credit Knar Babayan

photo credit Knar Babayan



Thank you Goddess, I will take more.

With thanks for all your love and support, your comments here and on social media,



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Showing 5 comments
  • Clara Sue

    Dear Suzi, I sit in my early morning stillness, gazing at the joyful faces of the New Illuminations women with an overflowing heart, listening with love. Thank you.

  • Linda

    Dear Suzi, I am so grateful that you have shared your journey with us here. I drink in the photo’s and look forward to hearing more after you have returned and settled in to who you are now and are becoming! Thank you! Love, Linda

  • Brece

    Welcome home, Suzi!! It has been such a pleasure to follow the book journey and to see so many new books made and used. The images of the exhibition are stunning. Look forward to more and sharing a cuppa tea with you some time soon. Safe travels, dear one.

  • Ann

    Thank you for sharing your journey Suzi and for widening my world. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. The magpies are singing up the world as I write this!

  • Jennifer Clark

    JUst wrote a long comment but it got trashed. My Ipad is very tired right now, clearly! I’ll try to reconstruct at a later point…Wishing you all the best on your resettling at home…more to come…