What do you really want?
Living authentically is to know what you truly desire and take the actions to create exactly that.
Amidst all the noise and chaos of everyday life, juggling other people’s needs and wants and all the competing voices in your head, how can you TUNE IN to discern what is most aligned with your deepest truth.
In the last couple weeks, I’ve found myself at a crossroads—trying to determine the next right step in my relationship. Are we right for each other? A good fit for life partners, or are those few things that don’t quite line up big enough to fray the fabric of our partnership?
We can go to therapists, life coaches, yoga classes, ask trusted friends, mentors, and family for their advice, but at the end of the day, the answers are all inside. Alas, how to mine that gold and excavate the TRUTH?
Here are a few steps to help you tune in to your inner voice.
1. Listen to Your Body (a.k.a. The Language of Sensation)
Your body knows. Otherwise known as “body wisdom.” Learn to read the language of sensation by tuning in every few minutes throughout the day to notice what you are feeling. Maybe, set a sound notification on your phone for every fifteen minutes. When it goes off, simply observe…“I’m feeling lethargic.” “My right shoulder is tight.” “My stomach is nervous and turning.”
As you sharpen your discerning palate, you will begin to recognize the signs in your body as green, yellow, or red lights.
GREEN LIGHT = Sensations that feel good, strong, free, open
YELLOW LIGHT = Any hesitation, moderate tension, butterflies in your stomach, resistance, or a sensation that is ambiguous and not clearly a YES or NO
RED LIGHT = Turning/churning stomach, indigestion, fitful sleep, anxiety, tension, tightness, furrowed brow, sweating, shortness of breath
2. Notice Your Thoughts and Feelings Right Before Bed and Upon Waking
The boundary between your conscious and unconscious mind is more permeable around sleep.
As you’re drifting off, simply observe the trail of your thoughts. Often, new ideas and inspiration spark in this nebulous no-man’s land, or you will notice a nagging thought that continues to surface night after night. Pay attention to the pattern of thought.
Especially upon waking, take it slowly. Take five to fifteen minutes to linger in your bed. Move slowly or stay still right when you wake up and simply observe. How do you feel? What are you feeling? Any subjects or issues gnawing for your attention? Simply be with whatever arises.
NOTE: The above applies to your yoga practice and savasana, too! Make a habit of staying off of electronics for twenty to thirty minutes after your practice and keep your attention inside. Notice thoughts, inspirations, or feelings. These are potent clues to your deepest truth and highest good. Take notes.
3. Keep a Dream Journal
The unconscious mind rarely speaks to us through linear words and instructions. Its gateway is through the RIGHT BRAIN: image, sensation, symbol, metaphor, memory. Therefore, our dreamscape is the most fertile soil for our unconscious to sprout its seeds of wisdom.
Right before you go to sleep, comment to yourself, either out loud or silently, “I want to remember my dreams tonight.” Your subconscious mind is highly impressionable, and you can begin to train yourself to remember your dreams.
Keep a journal specifically for recording your dreams right next to your bed. Upon waking (see #2), jot down any images, metaphors, locations, characters, or general feelings from your dreams. These nuggets are slippery, and, even with the best of intentions, they can vanish into thin air by the time you make it to the bathroom. Write them down.
Once a week or so, review your dream journal and notice any patters. Avoid the temptation to interpret your dreams literally. Instead, look for the larger brush strokes and themes. For example, if you fought a scary monster or predator, ask yourself what part of yourself or your life are you afraid of right now? Where part of your life is calling you to stand up in courage, valor, bravery? Look at all the different characters in your dreams as the different voices and aspects within. What is the metaphor?
Elevating personal growth as a lifestyle, Ashley Turner, M.A., brings a fresh approach to yoga as a modern-day psychotherapist with a soulful bent on celebrating the body’s wisdom and inner spirit. Ashley is the co-author of Aroma Yoga®: Using Essential Oils in Yoga + Life and creator of four best-selling yoga DVDs. She leads monthly, weekend retreats at Montage in Laguna Beach, CA, as well as retreats and workshops around the globe. For more on her and her events, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.