A few weeks ago, I wrote about self-talk. How the words and tone we use to speak to ourselves make such a difference to our lives and to our health. Today I’d like to bring up the companion topic of listening. I have three questions to ask you on this subject.
What kind of listener are you? This isn’t just about listening to yourself. I mean, listening to your friends, your family, your partner. Are you able to stay attentive to what they are saying? Does your mind wander off at times? Are you composing what to say back to them in your head while they are still talking?
What kind of listener do you appreciate? Do you like eye contact while talking, or no eye contact? There is no right and wrong here, this is a very personal thing. Do want the person to stop what they are doing and listen or are you comfortable when you are both engaged in some sort of activity? Do you like to get feedback in the form of nods, uh huhs, responding comments? Or do you prefer people to wait until you’ve finished talking and then respond?
How do you listen to yourself? How does your body talk to you? With pain, butterflies, a dry mouth or a fast-beating heart? With sniffles or sleepiness? How do your emotions manifest? Are they tricky to pinpoint, slow, fast, strong, soft? What does your intuition sound or feel like? How do you help yourself to find out what you want?
Okay, so that’s a lot more than 3 questions! But I’d love for you to think about these questions: what kind of a listener you are to others, what kind of listener you want and how well do you listen to yourself.
Listening is the back bone of our relationships, personal, professional and with ourself. If we listen to our family, they feel heard and loved. Our body and our emotions are not so different. They too need to be listened to. If we listen to our body when it whispers to us of aches and pains or fatigue, it’s much less likely to need to shout at us—or make us ill—later down the track. If we listen and acknowledge our feelings as they arise instead of suppressing or denying them, they are much less likely to resurface in other forms where they are inappropriate or damaging, for example in our romantic or work relationships.
This week, my challenge is for you to start with you. Listen to yourself when you feel hungry, tired, emotional. When you feel tired, rest. When you are hungry, eat. When you feel a strong emotion, acknowledge and express it, even it is just to yourself as a thought or a few sentences in your journal. You can practice this as a sort of mindfulness, a mindfulness of self.
I’m going to practice this too. I’m heading down to Kookaburra Creek Yoga Retreat on Thursday, running a retreat there on Sunday, and then having a delicious week off to relax with Ambha the Tibetan Mastiff and any friends who come to visit.
If you’re in Perth, join me on Sunday, November 29th for a beautiful half day of yoga, breath work, meditation and relaxation. I have invited two wonderful guest teacher to contribute yoga and breath work sessions, so it promises to be a very rich supportive day. There are still a few tickets available. Click on the link below to find out more:
I’d love to see you there!
Until next time,
with warm wishes for your great health,