I really enjoyed speaking with Kidest OM on today's Be Love radio show. It's always an honor and a pleasure spending that half hour with her. She is truly a gift to the world; her consciousness, compassion and clarity shine through in every word. We talked about paying attention and slowing down enough to be able to bear witness to our own internal dialogue... the conversation between the heart and the head. We talked about how we can actually develop a conscious internal environment or family, if you will, wherein our heart is like the "good parent" of our mind. When we do so, we become the good steward of our own humanity.
There is incredible value in paying attention. When we do, we begin to understand ourselves and the choices we make with more clarity and compassion. So often we walk through our lives as if we have no idea of our impact on others. Sometimes we do, but much of the time we react to the world around us, rather than respond to it. In other words, we end up doing with little or no consideration for how we are being.
When we pay attention - compassionate, careful attention - to our beliefs, thoughts, words, attitudes and actions, we begin to make that necessary internal change from reactivity to response-ability, from doing to being. It is a very humbling experience to pay attention, but it is so crucial. It is even more humbling to realize when we haven't been paying attention. Like starting an exercise program, cultivating awareness is a practice of discipline and diligence; it sometimes seems daunting at first, but the more we do it the easier it gets. The whole point of paying attention is to give ourselves the gift of going inside so we can tap into our unique aliveness and get how very much we matter.
One of the best ways to develop the quality of paying attention is to listen to ourselves, intently, through some sort of regular contemplative practice. Regardless of what you call it, this is one of the most profound ways we can cultivate the ability to truly feel that we matter and have something to contribute. It may seem counter-intuitive - “Wait a minute! If I want to contribute, I need to be doing something, don’t I?” Not necessarily. Not doing with awareness is far more powerful than doing without awareness.
The trick is to get below that surface level of thought activity in our heads and settle into the place where we do our deepest listening - our Hearts. When we "take the elevator" down into our hearts, we are able to connect with the place where our deepest wisdom resides, the place where we remember who we truly are.
There is a caveat here – sometimes we can fool ourselves into believing that our heart is telling us something when it really is our head doing the talking. There are some great tools I use to help me discern my "heart voice" from my "head voice." If you listen to the radio show, you'll hear me go through each of them; for sake of ease, I call them "Weighing the Options," "Lighting Up" and "Body Wisdom." These tools are very useful for tuning into our intuition and making clear, conscious choices. Then we must trust the choices.
And there will be times - often, daily! - when our head takes over and we forget. Just like my friend Tricia Huffman talks about in her vlog, "I make sh-xx-t up," we make stuff up all the time because our minds need to feel important.
So if we just remember the mind likes to make stuff up about all kinds of things, then we can start to work in team with our heart and our minds and we're well on our way. It’s like the heart is the good, loving parent and the mind is this curious, playful, often petulant, mischievous, testing, sometimes rebellious, sometimes obedient, demanding child. It is a parent’s job to take care of their child, to guide it and to be the good steward of its wellbeing. In other words, we get to re-parent our minds, observing them from the loving, interested distance of the fair witness or parent.
We don't have to make our heads wrong or bad, we get to say, ‘Wow! Look what I learned from that situation.” Our choices are perfect because they take us to the next right place for our evolution, even if it may feel painful and not at all perfect at the time. That requires the willingness to take time to pay attention, the discipline to do it regularly, and a large helping of humility and humor. It’s not always easy to pay attention, but it is always rewarding. When we do, we find inspiration from those lessons and have the opportunity to see just how much we matter.
This week's Meditation, Mantra and Movement
Meditation- Paying Attention: What do I notice about myself? Journal about what you notice and what you pay attention to regarding your thoughts, words, beliefs, attitudes and actions. Do you usually listen to your mind or your heart? If you were going to live from your heart on a regular basis, what would you need to let go of? What would you need to claim or embrace?
Mantra- Paying Attention: What are your questions? What could you ask yourself to develop more self-awareness? Maybe it's "What do I need in this moment?" or "What will serve my highest and best in this situation?" In other words, what are your "hard questions"? Connecting with your heart, create one or more questions to help you pay attention.
Movement- Paying Attention: Give yourself the attention you most need! Is there something you need to do or create to develop more awareness? When you receive the answers to your "hard questions," notice what most needs attention and give that to yourself, even if it's uncomfortable. Watch what happens when you stretch and give yourself what you most need.