One fun thing about life is that you receive the lessons you need, not necessarily the lessons you're expecting to find.
I traveled to India for my first yoga teacher training, but something that's stayed with me was how my teacher often closed her eyes and waited a while before speaking, so intentional was she with her words. I'm sure it wasn't part of the lesson plan, but the pauses between her sentences showed me that I don't have to fill every space with sound, or stuff. Easier said (er, unsaid?) than done, but still. It was, for me, an unassuming but poignant example in getting comfortable with silence and stillness.
My ongoing psychedelic therapy training is yielding mounds and mountains, truckloads and buttloads of information about neuroscience and culture and history and anthropology and therapy, but something that keeps sticking is a question we were encouraged to ask ourselves when met with the silence or even the screams of a patient in the midst of the medicine:
W.A.I.T. - Why Am I Talking?
Am I talking with a purpose, in service of the person in front of me, or as a means of filling up space to avoid my own (and, perhaps, others') discomfort?
This applies not just in a clinical or healing setting. We can ask ourselves this question whenever we open our mouths to speak. (Do I even need to be speaking right now?) We can ask ourselves this whenever the monkey mind rattles off thoughts and imaginary scenarios and begs us to engage with it in needless conversation. (Maybe another time, my simian sister.)
Why am I talking? I don't think there's a right or a wrong answer.
Just a question for us to think about this week (or for the rest of our lives).
- as always, with love and thanks,
Something to listen to on shuffle:
W.A.I.T., a playlist. If this were 20 years ago, I'd hand you a burned CD with all songs downloaded from Limewire, a personalized letter from me to you on the face, written in my version of bungled cuneiform (in Sharpie, of course).
Some things to read:
- This intriguing bummer of an article on the prison-to-plate pipeline (tl;dr: we've got a lot more work to do in prison reform and a lot more companies to boycott).
- On a lighter (yet geographically deeper) note, this fascinating collection of what was found in the deep sea in 2023, which reminds me of one of my groups, in which we discussed whether we'd prefer to explore outer space or the deep sea. I voted for outer space, but these pictures have got me thinking otherwise.
- Lastly, this neat idea for a practice in presence.