Move closer, lean in, get curious; even for a moment, experience the feelings without labels, beyond good or bad. Welcome them. Invite them. Do anything that helps melt the resistance. –Pema Chödrön
How’s it going?
When people ask me this question in passing my first impulse is to tell them my whole story, even though I know they’re just being polite and friendly. They don’t really want to know:
- I couldn’t sleep last night.
- My coffee tasted old this morning – and p.s. where is the nearest Starbucks?
- I’m sick of always having to clean up after everyone.
- I haven’t worked out in days and I feel like a whale.
- I’m famished and cranky.
- What was I thinking to wear these shoes… my feet are killing me.
- Darn, I wished that I had bought that jacket I saw on sale yesterday. I can’t believe I let that one go.
- Will this pain that I feel in my knees ever stop?
- I can’t deal with everyone’s whining…
I’ll usually retort with my own equally non-present, fake-happy Good! (with the little lilt on the top of it), just to move things along.
That’s me living on auto-pilot.
So how do you respond in a way that feels more authentic, especially when you’re in a hurry and you have a million things swirling around in your head?
What if the next time someone asked you how you were “doing,” you could move past the stories (that no one really asked to hear anyway), and go direct to tuning into the feeling beneath the story? To use the connection with the person as an opportunity to quietly check in with yourself and allow whatever it is you’re feeling to arise – without (and this is key) judging it or doing anything to fix it.
What makes this exercise one of the most basic and powerful in my world of clearing is this:
- It takes only seconds of your time.
- You become more present with yourself.
- You become more available with the person you’re talking to.
- You become more present with your surroundings.
- You can clear tension by simply observing and feeling it.
- You become more discerning about how and where you spend your time in general.
- You become more discerning about who you choose to hang out with (i.e. someone who makes you feel good).
Awareness. It changes everything.
Responding from a place from awareness changes everything.
–Excerpted from Chapter 8, “Tune In” – Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
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