Empathy

Updated: March 3, 2017
Google says:
em·pa·thy
ˈempəTHē/
noun

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

It might be believed that a person is born with the ability to have empathy. I believe it can be learned. It might take extra time or effort, however.

To me, the definition of empathy is to take the time to pretend you are in the other person’s situation and validate their experience.

It doesn’t mean I have to agree or share their perspective but I try to put aside my own bias and try to see it their way.

I’ve used the following questions to help me achieve that perspective:

  • How would I feel it that happened to me?
  • What do I think I would do in that situation?
  • What situation have I experienced that is close? How did it make me feel?
  • Why do I agree/disagree with how they are reacting/their opinion?

I’ve observed that I most often react to a trigger; a trigger to something painful in my past, and experience a range of emotions. I then think everyone should view the situation as I do. I mean, my solution is just common sense!! But. I’ve observed that each person will see situations differently depending on their own hurts. Take for example, witnesses of an accident, each person had a different view of what happened. No one story is wrong; it’s just not complete. Or the story of a group of blind men touching a different part of an elephant and only that part of the elephant. They come together to try to decide what it was but they all disagree.

I might never see the whole elephant or be convinced it’s an elephant. I realize I can’t completely understand another’s view/situation/opinion but I can allow space for them to think/feel/decide that way.

Update: A friend shared this video with me after I posted my thoughts. I wanted to add it because it’s a great representation of what I am trying to say.

 

 

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Not the good kind of surprise

Surprise! It’s never what you expect. Didn’t expect to get my second ultrasound and blood work to reveal that I had already ovulated. I early ovulated; yes, that’s a thing. Pregnancy is all sorts of complicated!

Translation: canceled IUI for this month.

The bonus is that I don’t have to worry about whether I’m pregnant or not. Downside, one more month of waiting.

I’m numb today. There isn’t much else I can do. I cried a little yesterday. Somehow taught a yoga class last night and treated myself to a milkshake with the hubby. Because it’s hard for him too.

He’s more quiet about it. I try to let him know he doesn’t have to be strong for me. In fact, I need to know he’s sad with me. Otherwise, what are we doing? We are in this together.

That’s all I really have to say today.

 

Spiritual Growing Pain

You know what a growing pain feels like, the kind you feel in your leg or arm?

Or imagine the HULK, right before he starts to turn green and his body begins to bubble and build, until BAM! he turns into the HULK.

Well, I’ve felt that way spiritually for awhile. The pressure has been building for years. It started as the small, gnawing pain, in my heart with thoughts that I was missing …something… but not sure what.

The last year that …something… has been building. It feels as though my spirit is waiting to burst out of its current state into …something… bigger. Yet, until I can fully realize what it is, it’s stuck. And it’s uncomfortable. I may be a yoga teacher and practicing yogi, I may be religious and attend church; but it doesn’t mean I’m perfect and ‘get it’ all the time. I feel at times I’m not allowed to share my present feelings because that would undervalue my ‘yoginess.’ Yet, ‘yoginess’ IS being in the present moment, being with the present feeling. And being non-judgemental about it. Even if it’s uncomfortable.

Yet, I did judge myself. I felt ashamed because as confident as I felt in my recent ‘life’ post, I wasn’t sure I could act. I fell into feeling unmotivated and purposeless.

And then I read this blog post: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18640/5-signs-youre-on-the-verge-of-waking-up-to-your-life-purpose.html

All signs point to that I’m almost there, almost realizing my next stage in spiritual growth, becoming more clear on my life purpose.

UPDATE 5.25.2015

You have fallen for so many deceits. You can no longer trust anything you once knew.  You begin to realize that this quest will claim your life, and one blink later…

A little more clear after reading this post by Alison Nappi at Rebelle Society

Benefits of the pose: Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

In a previous post, I talked about Lengthening your spine, and we will expand on that practice here in a standing posture called Mountain Pose (Tadasana ‘tah-DAHS-anna). I consider this pose the base standing poses. Tadasana is where you stand strong and grounded through the legs while lifting and expanding upward with the chest and head. It is the simplest example of “root down, rise up,” completing the cycle of complementary forces.

Whether I’m teaching beginners or practicing on my own, I take the time to guide the class or myself through Tadasana. It’s important to get grounded right at the beginning of a flow class. When the feet and legs are awakened and connected to the mat, there is more stability, awareness and balance as the body flows through the rest of the practice. As the legs are engaged and drawing up energy from the earth, the upper body has the lightness and energy it needs to expand and open.

Here are some basic instructions for Tadasana:

  1. Standing with feet hip distance apart, toes pointing forward, lift and spread the toes, then press them back down.
  2. With a soft bend in the knees, rock back and forth on the feet until you feel balanced.
  3. Engage the muscles of the legs, as if they were hugging the bones, lifting the kneecaps up.
  4. Draw your low belly in and lengthen the tailbone down, lengthening the low back, without strain.
  5. Imagine a ribbon tying the low ribs together, so that the chest doesn’t puff out.
  6. Draw the shoulder blades together, and shoulders melt away from ears.
  7. Arms are extended and soft, and palms are facing forward as you gently reach up through the crown of the head, keeping the chin parallel with the floor.

If you would prefer an audio version, click here.

The lift in the chest you want to feel is not like your trying to puff it out (or stick out the breasts), it’s the feeling when you practiced lengthening your spine from seated. Take a moment and revisit the seated version, and then practice it standing. Variations are: palms together at heart, arms relaxed by sides palms forward or facing thighs, or part of a sun salutations with arms extended overhead with shoulders relaxed.

A few of the physical benefits are: strengthening the muscles of the feet, ankles, quadriceps, and abdominals; allowing the ankle, hip, shoulder and wrist joints to be in neutral positions, creating space for the lungs to fully expand with air.

You can practice Tadasana any time, any place, any amount of time: while doing the dishes, standing in the check-out line at the store, or taking a standing break while at work. It may seem too simple, and it is, but the benefits of standing taller and aware, breathing in a sense of calm and contentment, give a sense of confidence that comes as we connect the physical body with the spirit body.

The mountain is a symbol of integration of life: fully grounded, yet rising beyond.

Lessons from the mat: practice what you preach

I am a big believer in practicing what you preach. It can be difficult, don’t get me wrong. It IS difficult. And I am going to toot my own horn today because I deserve it.

I had the opportunity to practice what I preach today.

First lesson, breathing in and through the moment of uncomfortableness because that moment is the only moment that is real. It is the only moment that can be truly controlled. I received some unpleasant news one hour before I needed to show up to teach. I was in shock, heart pounding, and hurt.  All I could tell myself was to breathe; deep, steady breaths. It’s what I say to all my students as they are sitting with their hips on the heels, their toes tucked under in the appropriately name “broken-toe pose.” I took deep inhales, and loud exhales, releasing the stress and tension. I listened to my heart  beat  pound in my ears, thinking, “I’ll meditate before class.” The Universe/God/Higher Self has a sense of humor. I didn’t get the time alone, in fact, I received the opportunity to work on lesson number two: putting my big girl panties on (being assertive) and dealing with the unpleasantness face-to-face. I, who runs from confrontation. I, who would rather deal with it through email. I, who would rationalize it away. I, who would try to ignore it. I did none of those things this time. I remained calmed and spoke. I remained calm and listened. I remained calm and taught my class. When thoughts of the future presented anxiety and possible tears, I came back to my breath and the present moment. And it worked. It truly worked!

Third lesson, show up on your mat. Instead of going home and pulling the covers over my head, I went to a yoga class. A grounding, challenging yoga class. I rolled out my mat and practiced. I focused on my inhale and exhale, how I moved through the poses, finding my inner strength and peace. I softened into my savasana and found my answer. I found love and peace and forgiveness for the hurt. I was able to authentically send love and blessings. I received peace about what to do that can only come when you take the time to ground and slow down and pay attention. I meditated and gained clarity and excitement about my solution.

Today, I showed up on my mat. Today, I experienced the peace I promise my students. Today, I took the lessons I learn on the mat into my life. Today, I share with you the importance of coming to your mat and live your life better. Today, I invite you to look at what you preach and find a way to live it!!

Complementary Forces

I took a break from blogging, about a 3 year break, by choice and by force. I felt I didn’t have anything to share because most of what was going on in my life I didn’t want to share, not with the world, a judging, harsh world. I felt if I “didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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