Learning to Listen

For several years now, I have been utilizing the Calm.com app for my meditations. I have a routine I try to follow every day when I wake up. I attempt to wake up, roll onto my back and find a comfortable position; then, I turn on the Calm meditation for the day. I follow this up by reading some Spiritual writings. I finish my routine by listening to a poem from a podcast. It varies day by day as to which podcast I use.

The thing I like about the meditations is the thoughts that the narrator shares through the meditation. Recently the topic was emotions and how we relate to them. I never try to push down or ignore the feelings of joy and love that I experience. However, I do find myself pushing feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, and other negative feelings aside or try to ignore them. The narrator talked about inviting the negative emotions in and getting to know them.

My husband used to tell me about how he would try to sit with his emotions and invite the hard ones in for tea and try to get to know them. I always thought this was a good idea. I even tried to put this into practice at one time. It never took hold, and the attempts to understand the way I felt often went by the wayside, along with all the other things I have tried to use to understand myself better.

Lately, I have been trying to pay attention to my emotions and let them in without a fight. Today, for example, I was exhausted at work. I was struggling to do something and failing miserably. I could feel the frustration building up. I finally told the person I was working with that I needed to step away and get back to it in a few minutes. I was making small mistakes. Some that stemmed from the difficulty I have seeing the computer screen at the distance I need to be from it and part because I was so tired I was having a hard time thinking.

While I was in the other room, I was trying to calm myself. I was doing all the things that I have been trying not to do. I was pushing the emotions aside, ignoring the feelings I was experiencing. When I stopped long enough to breathe and actually feel what I felt, I had some realizations. It made it easier to go back out and do the things that I needed to do.

Everything is a work in progress. Everything takes time. Some days are harder than others. And today was hard because I didn’t take the day as slowly as I needed to so that I could accomplish the things on my list. Once I slowed down and stopped trying to work at everyone else’s speed, the day went much better.

Meditation is a way for me to find the quiet space I need to see what is going on inside. Sometimes I try to focus on the breath, and sometimes I use it as a time to listen to my body and see what it is trying to tell me. When I stopped to listen and understand what I was experiencing, I could see what I needed to do to make the day work for me.

The lesson for today, Breathe, just Breathe.

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