Wellness Wednesday – deep listening

Have you ever spent time gazing deeply into someone’s eyes while they were talking with you? Really paying attention to every word, doing your best to understand?

Rather than interrupt with question or let your mind wander off into its stories (the way minds do), you truly tried to feel the emotion behind their words?

If you have, then you might know what I mean about the power of deep listening to heal many ills of the world. As humans, we deeply yearn to be seen and understood by other sentient beings. It is deeply wired into our survival DNA as a species.

When we feel seen and deeply appreciated by another human being, we start to mirror back that feeling toward the world. We connect more deeply with others around us, and we start to heal the wounds we all carry, personally and collectively.

old lady listening
Photo credit link

I have to admit that listening deeply is something I have not practiced as consistently as I would like with loved ones. Listening without judgment and with true curiosity is an art and a practice. It requires awareness of your own mind, and the ability to stay present and return even when you feel distracted.

All I know is that when I listen deeply to people, whether my family or my coworkers or colleagues, I am transformed as well. When I have made that connection with intention to deeply understand not just the words but the emotion behind them, all of my relationships improve.

In an era where it is too easy to be distracted, try deeply listening to someone today. Ignore the pings and dings from your phone. Set aside the opinions and judgments. Just watch how this practice brings greater joy and ease to your life and your work.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Happy Blogoversary!

Two years ago I began this blog on Labor Day weekend and I realize I have just passed that milestone with nearly 600 posts on this blog since I started in 2017.

To those of you who have read, supported, liked and commented: my sincere thanks! I continue to enjoy this journey with you. What a great privilege to have platforms like this where we can share our ideas and connect with others!

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This practice of regular posting has been a joyful part of my weekly routine especially in a time of a lot of personal and career transition for me. I am considering how to evolve the blog as I embrace my new job and also near the end of my yoga teacher training.

I have a deep interest in workplace wellness, as a manager and a coach for employees. I will likely share on this topic regularly. Also, as I begin teaching yoga, which I intend to do in order to practice my new skills, I will likely share what I learn in that context. There is a lot of overlap here.

Thank you again for your support and engagement here! I wish you well and look forward to what the next year holds.

Gratefully,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Commit vs. drop-in

I have a confession to make:

I did not want to offer a 5-week yoga series. I had hoped to offer several one-time standalone workshops to get my certification hours done. Maybe 2 hours apiece, with lots of class interaction and an hour of yoga practice in the “juicy” middle.

It seems harder to get a group to commit to a class for 5 weeks in a row. Indeed, when it comes to yoga, it has been a long time since I committed to a series of classes. I paid for an 8-week series for several seasons at my workplace years ago. Nurturing yoga was the name of that series. It was lovely. Not the yoga-aerobics that so many fitness centers offer these days.

I still remember Marcy Lundquist very fondly. She is retired now. But her class was a taste of what I felt was “real” yoga. I’ve since found people like Ruth Silva, who is moving this month to the east coast. Grant Foster has been a teacher I have appreciated at Tula Yoga as well.

So I was thinking that I’m a commitment-phobe, and I had a little story I was telling myself about that. Then I started talking with my husband about commitments, and I realized that’s not true.

I committed to 6 months of yoga teacher training back in January, which involved a 3-day weekend (27-30 hours) per month for 7 training weekends. I’ve lived with my hubby for 5 years after dating for 4 before that, and we’ve been married nearly 2 years. I stayed at Medtronic for over 11 years. From 1999-2006 I stuck with completing a master’s degree program even though I was working full-time for most of that time. I have meditated every day for 930+ consecutive days!

How fascinating. I am actually quite good with commitments! So why is this old belief still a story I am telling myself?

Time to let it go. How awesome.

Happy Labor Day weekend, for those living in the U.S. And happy weekend to everyone else!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. One of these days I will figure out a link/registration system for the class series I’m offering (flyer below). But this a “save the date” notice. 😉

Yoga for over-thinkers (3)

 

Ideas that won’t leave you

Yesterday I got an idea for a 5-session yoga series I want to offer as part of my YTT internship hours in October.

CDF8AC9C-1EE4-4FE9-ABAD-5F82F1B68B3B

My mind found this particular idea irresistible, and I had a hard time NOT thinking about it. Ironically enough it is a course on “yoga for over-thinkers.” It seems a perfect offering for myself as well, so the irony was not lost on me.

Richard Bach said that “you teach best what you most want to learn.” Before now, I had been aware of the phrase, but not the attribution. So I was compelled to look up a little more about Bach, since I had heard of one of his books.

More than that, the idea of teaching in order to fully master a topic is something that has been present for much of my life in various opportunities.

Over-thinking is common to a lot of our lives and it’s a theme I was seeing in my coaching clients as well as others I have mentored on their careers as well.

So I will embrace this idea, and walk fully into it with the vulnerability and with the attention that this course requires. May I share some learning with my students, and more fully embrace the lessons as well.

Are you also an over-thinker? 

cristy@meximinnesota.com

Throwback Thursday – Walking the labyrinth

This is an edited piece posted originally August of 2018. Now that I’ve arrived at a new position at the University, I realize that the assessment phase feels like a bit of a labyrinth. 

***

After a morning appointment in St. Paul I decided to make a stop at the College of St. Catherine in order to walk the labyrinth.

labyrinth walk
Photo credit link – Meditate in a Labyrinth

Have you ever walked a labyrinth?  I considered taking a photo while there but I was without electronic devices on my walk, so I did not. However, I found a great article on how to meditate in a labyrinth, so I am cribbing a photo from that, and the link as well.

I used the walk as a meditative experience, starting from the outside and following the path toward the inside. Then I spent some time on the inside, taking a few deep breaths, and slowly walked back out again. I walked barefoot, and did not worry about the acorns that occasionally stabbed my feet. I did nudge away a few small branches that had fallen along the path to make it easier for the next person’s journey.

My intention was to reflect and consider the big changes happening in my life, the opportunities that are ahead, and any possible fears I was holding. It was a walking meditation, a slow and intentional trip back and forth through the “folds” of the labyrinth. It occurred to me how little I knew about meditation last time I had walked it a decade ago. Yet repeating it gave me sacred feeling both times.

labyrinth visual.JPG
Photo credit link – Fractal Enlightenment

As we traverse through life, our paths are rarely linear. Some of them meander and fold back on themselves. Some of them seem to go in spirals, and we wonder: Are we in the same place AGAIN? But really we are never in the same place twice. Even if an event seems similar, or we seem to repeat a mistake we have made before, we are not exactly the same people this time.

Our lived experiences give us a different context. This is why I love the work of Marion Woodman so much. She understands that many of us learn in a non-linear way. We forget things we have learned, or sometimes we must re-apply lesson we have learned, but in a different way, or in a different relationship.

Our learning and wisdom are never lost, even though it may seem like we did not absorb a lesson the first time. Maybe we are ready to learn in a new way. Maybe there was resistance the first time, and we were not ready to complete lesson. We receive multiple opportunities and invitations for our souls to expand and grow.

The journey inward allows us to check our soul’s intentions. The journey back outward allows us to live our ultimate purpose. This is the essence of a life well-lived.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

On heroes and mentors

In my next yoga teacher training, I get to give a presentation on my favorite sociologist, author and teacher, Martha Beck.

Last night I started creating the required 1-page handout, which will be 2-pages double-sided so I can fit in as much yummy goodness as possible.

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Eventually, I will likely share that handout on this blog, but for now, let’s just say it is important to acknowledge the mentors who have “held” us in our lives. Typically these are living people who have helped guide us along our path. And sometimes they are authors, people who share their wisdom on the pages we read and digest.

As I consider how to give back in this phase of life where I feel I have been successful and want to help mentor future leaders, I am enjoying going back to what I learned and reflecting on its impact on my life. I may share some of those nuggets here as reminders to myself more than anything.

Do you have mentors who have influenced your life in a positive way? Try sending them a note or give them a call to thank them for their contributions. It will surely brighten their day to know they made a difference to you. Then pass it on, and pay it forward.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com