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The season of listening: What are you yearning for?

Ever been knocked over by a huge ocean wave? It turns you upside down, and you get lost in a pool of dense salt water for about 3-4 seconds, only it feels like a lifetime? That was what 2010-2012 was like for me. Living with a numb feeling that’s so difficult to describe to someone on the outside.  A chronological string of bad decisions, all because I was in search of a different feeling, a different way of being.

Yearning for something, but I didn’t know what it was; embracing everyone else’s needs but my own, not realizing the damage I was doing to the very same people I thought I was protecting.

Ambivalence is one of the most painful things a person can feel. It’s all on you. Everyone else will be paying for the next decision you make so it sure as hell better be a good one. Pressure to get it right. Suffocation, confusion, and hopelessness; the kind where you can’t even cry because your feelings are so locked up, yet the mere thought of change feels like an ice pick chiseling away at your soul. If there were only some certainty…one linear path to follow, is that so much to ask?

Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way; we never really know what’s coming down the road, and so much of the suffering that’s endured is unnecessary. At some point we realize our survival tools were there the whole time if we only stood still and listened to them. My soul had something important to say but it was ignored because it didn’t make sense. Well, sometimes things don’t make sense and there’s no explanation for it.

 

I celebrate now, as many of those dark and stormy clouds have passed, and as we head into summer, I am given even more space to reflect on that journey and how its humbled me.  It’s so much easier to live your truth when you simply take the time to stop and listen.

 Learn how to identify what you want, then learn how to ask for it. Sounds so simple but a great life lesson.

The Winter of Listening

I wanted to share with you a poem that was recently recited by one of my dearest yoga teachers, David Vendetti, written by David Whyte that has since been passed onto my students. For me, it represents the feeling of coming out of that dark wave, standing up, and realizing how shallow the water really is.  So shallow that we can stand up! It’s just understandably difficult to see the bottom clearly in the midst of being tossed about. But we can stand up. We can stand up and quietly walk to shore.

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.
Silence and winter
has led me to that
otherness.

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own. ~  David Whyte~

(The House of Belonging)

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