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  • Orla Beaton

Make Time to Listen In


“Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear.” Valarie Kaur


Dear all, how often do you take time to listen in? To stop and turn your attention towards your internal world of thoughts, feelings and sensations in the body. In our external world of action and busyness, stopping to listen in is not the default. Our habits of action are often so strong that we don't even realise they are there. We go from our morning routine, walk the dog, water the plants, drive to the office, sit down at the computer for a day of work, come home make dinner, deal with the washing perhaps, make some phone-calls, ferry the children somewhere and then turn on the tv or mobile phone (insert your own typical form of busyness here!). Even in the holiday season, we are so aware of the preciousness of time that we want to fit in as much as possible, to "make the most of it" we say. But are we really making the most of it? Do we return with a sense of wellbeing and peace in our hearts? With our relationships intact?

Of course I recognise these habits in myself. I live in this complicated world too and am not immune from its influence and harm. However, I am fortunate to have had years of awareness training so my capacity to recognise when I am being carried away by a current of busyness is stronger than it was a decade ago. I recognise the signs of fatigue, tension in my body, irritability with family. I know now when I need time-out to recalibrate and listen in with meditation, guided relaxation or mindful movement like yoga. A good example of this was on holiday in Ireland this summer. We spent some time in Dublin which is pretty frenetic. I soon felt exhausted, emotional and overwhelmed. So despite the guilt I was feeling the next day I knew I couldn't join in with planned activities, I needed some solitude and rest. Fortunately my husband was able to take the kids out and allow me some down-time, he also recognises this need in me. The following day I was able to engage in activities again with pleasure. This capacity to recognise and honour my internal world, to develop respect and kindness towards my own needs has been vital for my health and happiness especially now that I am navigating mid-life and menopause. The old adage "you can't pour from an empty cup" is so true. It is selfless not selfish to slow down, stop and turn inwards. The ancient practices of yoga and mindfulness provide the structure, support and community to enable us to cultivate this way of being. We are after all human-beings and not human-doings! The beginning of the autumn school-term is the perfect time to refresh your commitment to cultivating your capacity for self-care, to replenish your cup. We often feel a fresh start at this time of year, perhaps the school year has been wired into our consciousness! So why not join me with a weekly appointment to listen-in? Make a commitment to yourself and know that life will be easier for it. Whether in-person or live on Zoom I am there to support you in strengthening this capacity in yourself. I look forward to seeing you in class!

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