I completed a second day of silence as part of the required homework for level II of Indu Arora’s Yoga Nidra training coming up in August. I did the first day of silence with my husband back in March and completed the second one on the anniversary of my mom’s birthday. There are various levels of silence. I chose a deeper practice the second time because my husband was to be out of town on business. I managed about 10 hours—amateur, right?
It sounded perfect originally. Ed would be out of the house so my silence wouldn’t be difficult—or so I thought. You see, I’m pretty attached to my husband so I still exchanged texts with him to make sure he arrived safely and also to wish him well on his appointments. This connection we have is not easy to turn off—especially when he’s out of town. “What if’s?” haunted me, hence the texts were something I just had to do despite my original resolve to be without technology.
I started the “count” shortly after my ritual Facebook post honoring my mom’s birthday and how she loved that her new country celebrated Flag Day on her birthday. She would raise the flag with pride that day, and I joke that my dad enjoyed the head’s up it was her birthday. Both she and my dad were prisoners of war during WWII and immigrated to the United States in 1950. Both had PTSD, which my trauma-informed YogaFit training clued me into with great detail. The training allowed my childhood to make so much more sense. I’m in the process of writing a book tentatively titled “The Why’s matter”. Because they do.
I spent much of my silent mode that day dwelling on my mom and our history, coming to some major understandings about certain events from my childhood. Without the sustained silence, my thoughts would not have gone this deep nor made the connections I was able to make. In retrospect, I’m surprised I didn’t make the connections I did earlier in life. It was like a big ole’ slap on the head for me. D’oh! Why didn’t I go there before? Silence is powerful. Or maybe I was just ready now.
I believe I connected the dots on at least one important memory. Being aware of PTSD and what triggers and flashbacks can do to hijack the brain—and I do mean hijack—not only helps in understanding the immense burden both my parents were dealing with emotionally; but also helps in making peace with it. Needless to say, reframing those events has been healing for me. This day of silence created the perfect conditions for a deeper resolution on one particular event that has troubled me over the years.
Without going into details, the evening progressed into what I can only describe as interesting. No alcohol involved. I was relaxing at one point and meditating when I woke up in the midst of deep dreams in another part of the room. I do not remember getting up and moving and it felt like I was “solving something” in my dreams. I awoke to the sound of the timer on the stove where my dinner was baking and I knew the timer had been going off for some time. As I awoke I had the realization that something wasn’t normal here. I don’t remember moving! What happened? I immediately realized my legs felt vibratory such that I was afraid to walk down the stairs, for fear of falling, to turn off the oven. I shimmied down the stairs on my butt for safety. It was all very woo-woo. Enough said.
I kept going over the details in my mind, confirming that I did NOT remember moving to the other part of the room. I have never “blacked out” like this before or woken up somewhere I didn’t remember falling asleep. I only know that my day of silence brought me some special gifts I will never forget, nor would I want to. This makes me want to practice other days of silence, perhaps for longer periods, to see where they will go. My inner self had some things to share. It’s time I listen.
Who is your safe place to vent or talk about what’s bothering you?
Choose those friends wisely so you feel safe when sharing. This keeps the doors open for honest communication vs. just the niceties you think everyone wants to hear. And then hold on to THAT friend.
I wasn’t always able to speak what was on my mind without constant filtering growing up in a PTSD-ridden household. I spent most of my childhood never speaking up because I was too busy trying to stay clear of the volatility in our family conversations. I’m well-versed in holding my tongue when necessary, but I also allow myself to express my opinion a whole lot more than when I was younger. I think I’m making up for lost time now. You see, my environment has changed.
I treasure those friends that love and care about me, as I am in any given moment, and listen. How about you?
My husband is my absolute best friend. He’ll let me rant when I need to because he knows me, I mean really knows me. So he listens. And he respects who I am and where I’ve come from enough to know that sometimes it’s best just to let me say what I need to say to get it out. Getting it out is healing. He understands that he’s the only one I share everything with and he honors that relationship. Being able to speak my thoughts without filtering is healing. He is healing.
Are you that someone for your friends?
My mind/body training as a yoga instructor and yoga therapist has had a huge influence on the state of my well-being and resiliency to stress. I no longer spin out of control with worry or upset like I did many years ago. But there are those occasions.
On the occasion that I’m really upset and my husband knows I’m ramping up, he’s the only one that can pull me back to center with a gentle nudge and a deep caring. There are no digs or insults in our relationship save the joke or two that we know are joking. My words are safe in his presence and his words are safe in mine. There is no armor to shield our energy. The walls are down. It’s an unfiltered relationship. Or perhaps, maybe in retrospect, it’s so naturally filtered that we just don’t let the bad stuff through. Either way, we know we are in a safety zone when speaking.
I’ve heard that when someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.
Do you have a friend in your life that you feel safe sharing with—that unfiltered relationship with the shields down? Treasure them. Hold them close. Revel in it. They are so far and few between. The longer I know my husband the more in awe I am of him, the man that he is and what our relationship means to me. There’s a depth that’s palpable. It’s a friendship unfiltered. I shudder to think where I’d be emotionally without his huge heart surrounding my world.
So here’s to all those out there who will let their loved ones speak without a filter—those who will be the healing balm of “listening and responding with respect” for the person standing before them; and who will say your name differently because it’s safe in their mouth.
“Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.” ~ Unknown
“The quieter you become the more you can hear.” ~ Ram Dass
#thequieteryoubecomethemoreyoucanhear #ramdass #unfiltered #unfilteredfriendship #safe #wallsaredown #Shieldsdown #friendshipunfiltered #Ilovehim #healingfriends #reallylisten #respondwithcare #treadsoftly #areyouthatfriend #betterdayyoga
Have you ever been driving down the road and someone cuts you off? It’s hard to hold your tongue sometimes, isn’t it? Oh if my car had ears it would be blushing! This is something I’ve worked on and have been much better at being detached when upsets happen—in the car any way!
During one of Indu Arora’s workshops at the Minneapolis Yoga Conference, she likened it to giving each upset one of your remote controls. It’s true, isn’t it? We’re allowing them to push our buttons, right?! She said we should make a point to reclaim our remote controls. At the end of class she suggested to ask for at least five of our remotes back.
So now when I start to have an upset while driving, or whenever, I’ll either mentally say or say out loud “I’m taking my remote back, thank you!” This small exercise has made me chuckle at the situation because it really is funny when you think about it. We’re allowing someone else to push our buttons and by asking for our remote back, it lightens the mood and makes you smile at your silliness for allowing it in the first place. Try it! You’ll start laughing at what just a few seconds ago made you angry! I love this little phrase: “I’m taking my remote back, thank you!” It has allowed me to become a witness to the emotion vs. become the emotion. And it’s also very liberating!
What ways have you come up with to stay detached when situations become heated? You know your body can’t tell the difference between real danger and imagined danger. Our upset moments really are a creation of our imagination.
By allowing our body to gear up for action with our anger, we are turning on our fight/flight mode—our sympathetic nervous system. These constant assaults to our body DO affect our health and longevity in a very real way. Our adrenal glands release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which increases our blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! See the infographic on how anger affects the brain and body from NICABM below.
Our body is preparing for physical exertion so it directs the blood away from our gut and into our extremities, affecting our digestion in a negative way. Can you say irritable bowel?
Using your upsets as a prompt to release anger and detach from the emotion is a not just smart, it increases the health and well-being of your physical, emotional, and spiritual body. Who has your remote controls? Take a moment right now to think of five remote controls you’d like to claim back and then visualize taking them back. Smile and repeat.
(click here for your own printable copy of the above great infographic from NICABM!)