Shhh…LISTEN UP!


It all started with a conversation.  And it wasn’t the kind of conversation that skims the surface, like talking about the weather or political banter, or gardening.  It was an open-up-a-can-of-whoop-ass-kind of conversation.  The kind of conversation that stirs you so deeply, that rallies you to rage and love and tears and wonder.  The kind of conversation that is so inspiring you just can’t stop talking.  Why would you?  How can I??  It’s just getting GOOD.  It’s can’t-sleep-fascinating.

I’m talking about yoga.  A conversation I started having six years ago.  I’m pretty sure it began as an argument.  A battle of ego and willpower and shame and inadequacy.  An arm wrestle between everything I “knew” was true and all that WAS true which I refused to know.

The language was the breath; the medium, the mediator, the regulator.  Mind talked to breath and breath talked to body.  Body responded and breath relayed the message to the mind.  At first, it might have looked something like this:

Mind:  exhale, relax your shoulders.
Body: relax my shoulders?  They are relaxed.
Mind: but you’re wearing your shoulders as earrings and you are holding your breath.
Body: No I’m not, my shoulders are relaxed!  I am relaxed!!
Mind:  You don’t seem relaxed.  Why can’t you relax?  What is wrong with you?  Relax, dammit.  Relax!!
(breath: panting and strained—and most likely, in my case, tears.)

And then the yoga starts to work a little, because you start to really listen to the conversation.  You start to notice the tension in your shoulders and you take a closer look.  It’s not just the physical script that you pay attention to, but the one that sits below the surface.  The root of the tension; the indigestion, the high blood pressure, the headaches.  You start to edit and refine and change.  The toxic relationships, the bad food, the self-deprecating thoughts, the judgements.

Yoga wiggles its magic little fingers in a little deeper and suddenly the conversation gets taken off of the mat and you start to notice you’re ujayii breathing in the grocery store, or that you’re a little kinder to strangers, open and loving towards your family, or more patient with things like time, the process, and the desired result.  You start to see things, like the beauty of now.  And you allow yourself to be big and full and content.  You listen and you respect.  And suddenly you are a powerhouse.  You are Walking for Peace, or empowering at-risk youth to be confident and strong and beautiful, or teaching or helping or just living in the full capacity of YOU.

And what is so cool, after attending a 3-day yoga festival in Santa Monica, is that there are a lot of people having this conversation.  We’re all talking.  Telling each other, #it’s okay to relax your shoulders.   This swirling conversation happening all around us that more and more people are starting to see and hear and feel and taste:  He’s telling her she’s beautiful while she’s talking to her thighs.  Her thighs don’t respond, because, well, they’re thighs…but her mind hears loud and clear so she skips lunch and dinner because she doesn’t hear she’s beautiful, she’s only got eyes for thighs, thighs, thighs.  Her body says please-oh-please-oh-please no more high fructose corn syrup, but her mouth says, why yes, I’ll supersize. We are all talking to the Earth, telling her “I’m just not that into you” and she tells us how that makes her feel, but we refuse to hear, we just try to speak louder.

Our lives we live to the If—Then slave.  We cling to our things; our cells, computers and cars…and anything else stamped: Made in China in hopes that “Made in China” equals Make Me Happy, but it doesn’t and so we just grip tighter and crave, crave, crave.  Breath by beauty breath, we are learning to let go, let live, to trust, forgive.  So, if you were enough, what would you have to give?

I mean, this is a fucking fantastic, dynamic, enthralling, exhilarating conversation; a conversation that could perk up the ears of politicians and decision makers and potentially change the world.  And I am just so amped to get into it.  To be a part of it.  I want to scream and dance and SHOUT!

But if everybody is talking, then……who, is listening?

So I am making it a point, an intention, to listen.  To listen with my arms open, not crossed.  Bust out the Q-tips (or the beeswax ear candle if you’re more hippie-inclined) because I’m gonna listen with my ear to the ground, curious humour in my heart.  Pickin’-up-air-waves-receptivity:  rabbit ears.  (metal wires, not fuzzy bunnies)  To listen without an agenda or judgement or personal belief.  Simply.  Quietly. Listen.

 Because when you’re eavesdropping on a conversation THIS good, it’s best to pay attention!

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