The Art of Listening

This year has brought waves of change; the loss of my mother brought waves of grief and loss that made me nauseous for months. Watching my 18  year old son Ryan graduate from high school, and navigate the ups and downs, life lessons and pressures of a semi -adult life sent me into another surge of anxiety, excitement, loss and change.   In the midst of all of this, I dove deeply into my teaching and went to New York for a Level 1 Yoga Tune Up® training. Unexpectedly, this brought about a shift in my yoga teaching, my relationship to my students, and to my yoga and spiritual practice. Another wave of change. And then . . . .

 During all of this, I noticed I needed to tend to myself with more care; not the, " more massages and acupuncture" brand of self-care, but the self-care that comes from listening more attentively to my own words and learning to care for myself with my words. I began to notice the subtext that was created in the monologue in my head; things like "pushing through" and "using my time well" and on and on; which actually made me doubt my ability to forge my future with inspiration and flow and love.  Our words hold the power to both inspire us to feel joyful connection, or to perceive disconnection and anxiety.  The good news is, we can choose.

In the philosophy of yoga, "Sankalpa" or intention is a way of anchoring ourselves in the present with words that reflect self - love, care and compassion for whatever we might find in our bodies and minds. In turn, the dialogue we have with ourselves had better carry the weight of that same self -love and care.  OUR words create patterns and those patterns create our life.  The ancient yogis had it right; we all need this.  We need to watch our words.  

If you haven't yet read the memoir "On Being Human" by Jen Pastiloff you should.   The story of her life and childhood is heavy and sad, but at the same time humorous, and real and relatable.   She refers to the inner voice that runs us down with shame and can see and articulate only the negative as the" inner asshole" or "IA".  I love this term because it gives us agency to love and nurture ourselves as fiercely as we need to, and as fiercely as our IA seeks to undermine us.   

Much of the time we speak to ourselves in a way we would never dream of speaking to another person; if we did speak to someone we love this way, or even someone we know less intimately than that, we might find ourselves being on the asshole side of the conversation. It's so easy to obsess about the negatives; the areas where we believe we fall short; our weight; our willpower to lose said weight, what we have done, what we haven't done, and the list goes on. An injury or pain can lead us down a sorrow path if we don't remind ourselves of the wisdom and resiliency of our strong and wise bodies.

  We get caught up in working hard to be perfect and not to be who we are.  This constant judgement carries with it a lack of self-care.   

The call to action for all of us:

If it is action that you desire, create an intention using words that allow you to take action, without losing the connection to the universe or whatever the bigger, larger energy that allows you to feel inspired.   Listen carefully to your words and take time to notice how they make you feel.

  If it is connection you desire, what kind of connection do you seek?  Can you choose words that inspire, energize and reconnect?  Choose words that lift you up and send you out into the world with confidence, rather than anchoring you in doubt. Use words that will draw you back again and again to the goodness that is in you.

This process, of deeper listening is a day to day moment to moment thing.  It really never stops.  Take a few minutes every day if you can, or some sacred time and listen carefully to the monologue that is running through your mind and then create an intention that rewrites that monologue with words that bring you joy, connection and love.   Read it back to yourself again.  If it's right  You will feel it. 

Here's my intention for the week:

I am relaxed and aware and my actions come from a place of inspiration and love.

Check out "On Being Human" here:



Let me know what you think!  I would love to hear from you!