Listening — It’s a simple thing, but could easily change your whole life.
It was January, 2018, the beginning of a brand new year, and something interesting happened to me. At the start of every year instead of doing a list of resolutions, I choose one word to work on (Idea cred to Life Coach, Clarissa Findlay).
For my 2018 resolution, I told God, “I’ve decided my word is LISTEN; I’m going to focus on listening better to you, to the people I love, and to my body. If you have anything to tell me I am ready to hear it!”
It didn’t take long for messages to come up. A few normal days went by after my resolution, and then a realization hit me; My body hurt. Badly: My back hurt, and my insides. I felt sharp pains in my hips, legs, neck, and wrist. It all hurt. One issue after another, my body was almost constantly in pain.
I don’t mention this for sympathy, instead, my intention is to draw attention to this: My body was sending a message. From previous poor experiences, I did not want to see traditional doctors about my pain, so I decided to work on my lifestyle and do some homework on my own. This method has almost always helped me in the past, and so I decided to continue with it.
Right away, I started with improving my diet. I ate more vegetables, and less dairy. I drank a lot more water, and steered clear of sugar. Then, I started working out again. This time, unlike in the past, I chose to really listen to and honor my body and ease into the workouts. I read about posture and ways to recover from back pain. I watched the ergonomics of my body throughout the day for things like washing dishes, or lifting my sweet baby. Needless to say, I was not going to let this pain run my life. I knew that the pain was a form of communication. When something hurts, it’s almost as if your body is saying: “Hey you! Can you please do something differently? Something’s not right!” When I listened, slowly I started to improve.
Sometimes, though, it’s not just your body trying to communicate with you. While my issues with pain improved, I also somehow found myself tending to my mind as well through meditation. Those moments of reprieve became part of my nightly routine. I would sink into an Epsom salt and essential oil bath, and while I was relaxing, I’d turn on some guided meditations. I even blended my own prayers or meditations with God. And, as I emphasized in my New Year’s resolution word, this time I really focused on listening and hearing.
As I started meditating more often, my eyes began to open to and peel off new beautiful layers of myself I never knew were there. For the first time I truly accepted and recognized myself as a highly-sensitive person, (often referred to as HSP) and an empath. I have always known I’m the passionate, emotional type, but I’ve never used the word sensitive before, (probably due to the sometimes negative connotations).
Sometimes if you’re blessed to be an empath or HSP, the pain and discomfort within you can be because you’re subconsciously taking on energy and negative emotion of others and your external environment. The beautiful news is that it doesn’t always have to be that way. You can learn to embrace it as a power and a gift. It requires vulnerability, but because of this new experience, I was able to know that being sensitive is actually a beautiful blessing I’ve been given. I’m learning everyday how to use it, control it, and bless the lives of others as I accept and embrace it in my own way.
If you’ve ever heard of Brene Brown, she speaks of this exact phenomenon. Her amazing book and TED talk are a testament to the power of opening up and listening:
When you let yourself become vulnerable to the world around you, you can learn and connect in ways you’d never thought possible.
Not only was I able to become more aware of my gifts, but these exercises also brought me to a point where I could actually look in the mirror with true love and gratitude for myself. We’re all more than we can even imagine. The world is changing and is now full of wonderful things and opportunities that were never there before. Some people feel like they are just not that talented or that they just don’t have “gifts” like others. Through listening, I’ve come to know otherwise. If you haven’t found your gifts yet, I challenge you to look and to listen. Don’t get discouraged. The universe is a positive place. Try listening to what it is telling you. You’ll discover your own gifts, I promise. (Another great resource for those wanting to discover more about their gifts is the quizbook: Strengths Finder 2.0 which you can find here or you can find it on Amazon.)
There is power in the vulnerability of listening. By being open I learned something about myself that is changing my life in such a beautiful way. Some say ignorance is bliss, but I say knowledge has the power to raise you to a level of peace and happiness beyond the bliss of ignorance.Through these experiences I’ve learned messages about my body and mind, allowing me to see myself and my own gifts with gratitude, all because I chose to take the time to listen.
I so hope you have found my words enlightening in some way. Sending love and light to all you beautiful people out there in the world,