Talk Less, Listen More

My somewhat recent semi-withdrawal from social media began with anger, frustration, sadness, and fear as an increase in meaningless talking points, pseudoscience by non-experts, and political rhetoric overwhelmed my feed by surprising sources. I felt disappointed and began to wonder, as we all do from time to time, why am I even here? In general in this world and also specifically on one online platform or another I began to ask myself—what is the point of all this and what can I even do about it?

After much contemplation, venting, and random conversations with as many people as possible, I finally sat still to quiet my mind. I had to acknowledge all of the feelings that were repeatedly coming up to the surface. When we practice yoga we learn that the emotions and stress that arise within us are our greatest teachers in revealing who and where we are physically, mentally, and emotionally in each moment. I learned that I was really uncomfortable.

I sat with that discomfort for a long time. In that time, I made sure to exercise my body, eat and drink in satisfying and nutritious ways, rest appropriately, practice a variety of breathing exercises, write for myself in my journal, and balance out the frustrating topics with pleasurable conversations as well.

I committed myself to my students. I continue to do so as I hold space for them multiple times a week. I listen to their needs, I give back to them as much as I can, and I help facilitate a routine for practice, for healing, and for anything else they need that I am humbly able to provide. This by itself has fed my soul in a way that I will be forever grateful.

Then it became time for me to do some work and I have made it a point to consume. As more and more referrals for books and speakers and writers came up I started collecting again. Some titles I have had and revisited with new interest while others I never would have considered exploring at all before. I choose to dive into history, divisive topics, and perspectives that I want to understand better so I can try to be better, especially if it creates more of that discomfort one would normally resist—as we know, that’s where the growth lies.

I still don’t have clear answers about much but I do always try to do my best. Hopefully as a teacher that is one lesson my students are able to take away from the classes I lead. We are not here to be perfect or right or superior or better than others—just the best possible version of ourselves. With humility, with gratitude, with kindness and compassion may we all strive to do better, be better, talk less, listen and learn more.

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