February 27, 2013

A Radical Lesson in Listening.

Something I’ve been trying to implement more into my life lately is intuitive training.

We’ve become so detached from our bodies, our minds and our spirits with what we feel we should be doing—we cling so rigidly to routines and schedules that we don’t realize, or don’t want to listen when are bodies are screaming for change or rest.

If you’re supremely disciplined, you’ve got your meals planned out, your gym routine nailed down, your social life organized and necessary errands scattered everywhere in between. You go from day-to-day, replaying your mental calendar in your head so you know exactly what to do to maintain this delicate balance of this striving-for-supreme-efficiency grid you’ve meticulously worked out.

But what happens if one day you wake up and realize how tired you are?

Do you push through, trading in extra winks for that hour of writing you wanted to get in, or those three miles you wanted to pound out or those emails that woke you up in the middle of the night screaming to be created and sent?

Or, do you give into the radical idea of actually listening to your body’s signals? Do you forego your carefully laid out plans for the day and decide to intuitively move through the day, asking your body and mind what they actually need rather than what you think they need?

What if, rather than heading out for a run, you ease into a yoga practice instead? What if, instead of making your usual protein shake, you cook up a hearty, healthy omelet and actually take the time to eat, enjoy and digest your food? What if you swore off email for that day—hell, the entire computer—and opted to write and mediate, maybe even read a book and allow your mind to enjoy some peace and solitude?

What if you chose to listen to the stirrings of your body, just for one day, and see where it leads you?

It’s a radical idea from which humanity as a whole would benefit—bringing themselves in line with the fact that we are not robots. We’re not meant to bounce from task to task, crossing things off our mental checklists, creating this illusion of productivity to which we’re so tightly tethered.

As a species, as a race of physical energy forms, we’ve forgotten how to truly exist. We’ve forgotten our essence, our spark, our true driving force in life. We’ve become so embroiled with the day-to-day to-do lists that we’ve forgotten how to live.

We’ve forgotten who we are.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ~ Ferris Bueller

And what about that pesky four letter word we so love to deprive? The most essential element to our existence, the part that yoga practitioners always put so much emphasis on, the part that everyone seems to want to rush through?


Rest at the end of the day.

Rest at the end of your yoga practice, allowing all of the work you’ve done to integrate, permeate, cleanse and rejuvenate.

Rest leads to renewal. Rest leads to radiance, vibrancy, resurgence.

Rest allows us to resurrect ourselves after a hard day’s work, giving us the gift of a new day and the ability to, once again, pick ourselves up and flow with the energy of the life.

We all know what happens when we neglect this often elusive concept—the same thing that happens to our computers, phones, e-readers, televisions, iPods, etc.—when we don’t shut them down and give them a chance to reboot, we burn out.

Complete and total malfunction.

We become the walking dead, careening from errand to errand, meeting to appointment, class to workshop. We’re not machines, so why do we try so desperately to exist as one?

Intuitive living (or in the fitness world, intuitive training) is a natural, holistic means to becoming human again. It’s a radical shift from everything we’ve been taught, every way we’ve ever been told to live our life, but it’s becoming increasingly important to make it the way we live if we are to truly have lives worth living.

We already have all of the answers to all of our questions, even to questions we don’t realize we have yet.

Coming back to ourselves, tuning into the natural rhythm of our bodies and minds can bring radical shifts and improvements on levels previously unforeseen. We can bring our health, our relationships, our successes and our daily joy to unfathomable levels with the simple act of taking time to listen to what our inner voice is silently screaming for.

We can transform that silent scream into a gentle hum, and live and thrive on the soothing vibration of that gentle hum, creating a happier, more flowing, relaxed, productive, loving and sustainable life.

All we need to do is stop and listen.




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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Asst. Ed: Amy Cushing

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