A conversation can be a contest,
or a game of catch with invisible balloons.
They bounce between us, growing and shrinking,
sometimes floating like cloud medicine balls,
and sometimes bowling at us like round anvils.
You toss a phrase and understanding blooms
like an anemone of colored lights.
My mind fireworks with unasked questions.
Who is this miracle speaking to me?
And who is this miracle listening?
What amazingness are we creating?
Out of gray matter a star spark of thought
leaps between synapses into the air,
and pours through gray matter, into my heart:
how can I not listen generously?
On Being Gathering, 2018
Greetings everyone! We thought the following blog from 2 years ago was worth a repeat.
It’s funny, isn’t it? How hard it can be for some of us to figure out what we want?
I find this to be an especially common problem for dedicated moms and educators. Why? Because we’ve been taught that being UN-selfish is what makes us so amazing.
WANTING SOMETHING JUST FOR OURSELVES (OR GOD FORBID ACTUALLY SEEKING TO GET IT!) CAN SEEM SELFISH. SO WE GET OUT OF PRACTICE EVEN KNOWING WHAT WE WANT.
Another contributing factor in our culture is that we’re taught to spend most of our time in our head. Emotions are viewed as suspect. Intuition is not to be trusted and the body is viewed primarily as a necessary container for living. None of above are seen as dependable sources of wisdom. (And I might add that this perspective leans a bit towards favoring masculine ways of knowing as opposed to feminine, but I digress.)
There's science to back up the importance of these alternative ways of knowing. I'm learning more about it all, but what I can say for sure already is that my life is WAY better now that I listen to all the parts of me, not just my (very overactive) rational mind.
RATIONAL MINDS ARE GOOD, BUT THEY CAN’T MAKE GOOD DECISIONS WITHOUT ACCURATE INFORMATION. AND THEY MISS A LOT.
Because our bodies and the right side of the brain take in way more information per second than the logical, linguistic left side of our brain, the “logical thought only” perspective leaves us missing out on a whole lot of information that can help us figure out what we want, which is one of the first steps in moving towards a life we’ll really love—a life with meaningful purpose and a whole lot of delight on the side. Learning how to listen to my body’s wisdom is one of the best skills I’ve learned in the past few years.
IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU WANT — OR JUST MAKING DECISIONS IN GENERAL — I HIGHLY RECOMMEND PRACTICING THIS NEW FORM OF LISTENING.
Step one to hearing your body’s wisdom is to notice what your body does when it likes something and what it does when it doesn’t. In the Martha Beck coach training they call this using the “body compass.”
The exercise below is a first step in being able to effectively use your body compass, so you can follow it’s directions toward a life you love (and when you love your life it always leads towards more love for others too. Really. We’re wired towards compassion.)