While I’m on maternity leave, I’m sharing some favorite posts from the past few years. This is one of them – enjoy! ~ Tara
You can listen to this post in audio, too. Click the player to download an mp3 file, or you can read below …
I’ve noticed a pattern in my life.
It’s a pattern that occurs around the situations that don’t work out so well.
The things I commit to that end up being a waste of time. The relationships that are in stilted spots. The times I act in ways I am not proud of.
Lately I’ve noticed that most of those situations share a similar backstory. Before the problematic event or the unwanted outcome, I felt subtle feelings of discomfort.
You know when you see something out of the corner of your eye, in your peripheral vision? You see it, but just barely.
The feelings of discomfort that I’m talking about are just like that.
It’s not that they are so mild but more that I just don’t give my attention to them. When they are present, I am sort of aware of them, but just barely. I’m moving fast in other directions, swimming here and there at the surface of the water, as those subtler feelings make the currents below.
That is why – if I don’t want my life to be full of situations not working out so well – I need a space to take inner inventory, to do a scan of what’s present in me. By that I mean both a space in time – time set aside, and an emotional space – either a space of openness to myself, or the listening ears of a friend or coach or therapist. I also mean a physical space – a walk in solitude, or the blank page of a journal, or that friend’s cozy couch. All three – a space in time, an emotional space, and a physical space – are needed.
In that space, I can become conscious of what’s happening – not just the big events occurring in my life but the things brewing, the things otherwise only in peripheral vision. This is when I can ask the ongoing questions that need asking like, “How am I feeling about what’s happening on my work team?” Or, “What’s up with feelings about my home these days?” Or, “What’s present in my relationship with my partner right now?”
Then I can investigate. What is that low-level stress I am feeling? Or, huh, what’s up with the late night emotional eating of the past few weeks? Or, hmmm, I am really avoiding calling so-and-so back – what’s going on there?
During my regular days there’s lots that grabs center stage: the things on the calendar, the to do list for the week, the conversations of that day. The pureeing, and singing while diapering, and rescuing the lasagna before it’s entirely eaten by the dog.
The things that aren’t quite right but still unfolding their not-quite-rightness? In my regular life, those things simply won’t win the competition for focus.
I need to give them time and space. I need time and space to tune into the subtle stirrings. I discover lots then, things like: “This dynamic isn’t feeling quite right, and I realize I’m bringing a real sense of scarcity to this situation – what’s that about?” Or, “I said x in this situation, but you know? I left out y, and saying y was important.” Or, “I agreed to this, but the truth that is here right now is that I really want to say no.” Or, “I’m losing motivation around this writing project. Hmm. Interesting.”
If we don’t notice what’s present, we can’t take action based on the wisdom of what our inner compass is telling us. We can’t steer well.
So today I invite you to do a check-in with yourself. Notice the subtle stirrings you are feeling in the major areas of your life. As if you are holding up a soft light, explore what’s there, with compassion for yourself.
Join the discussion 5 Comments
Yes, Tara! This resonates so much with me.
An incredible suggestion and one that I needed right now…thank you!
Brilliant! This resonates with me. Thank you!
I forget to be still everyday. Thank you for the reminder.
So true. And this idea is well illustrated by an idea from ancient Egyptians…
They believed that upon “westing” (death), they would go to the Hall Of Two Truths for the “weighing of the heart.” There, their heart would be placed upon a scale and weighed against the feather of truth. Now, we would wonder how a heart could possibly weigh less than a feather, and this is where the point hits home. In order to move on to eternal life, they must have been “light of heart.”
The next time you’re feeling frustrated or upset, tune in to your chest. When you feel that dark and heavy feeling of unhappiness, you’ll realize the wisdom of the Egyptians.
They Egyptians saw the heart as the seat of intelligence and wisdom. In fact, it was more valuable than the brain. The brain would be thrown out during embalming, but the heart was carefully wrapped and put back in the body. It’s hard for our society to see the heart as being more valuable, but we too are rediscovering such truths thanks to organizations like HeartMath Institute.
So never doubt that moral compass. Call it heart, intuition. soul impulses, or whatever you term you have for it. Whatever it goes by, it’s something to be listened to.
Thanks for another beautiful post Tara. <3