WOW. The power of suggestion is just that — a powerful thing. This morning I was thinking (again), “Huh, I should really post something about my Year of Yamas,” and continued replying to emails and perusing Facebook. Thankfully, my friend and teacher Fauna Moore asked me after practice today, “Hey, how’s your Year in Yamas going?” I had to embarrassingly confirm that I had failed miserably to make a single post last month, but had been keeping up with the practice… kind of. Nothing like a simple question from a mentor to light a fire under your ass. So, in short, yes, I’m still doing it, albeit not very well.
In February I intently practiced Satya, or truthfulness. For me, that meant speaking and acting with unabashed honesty. Anyone who knows me would probably describe me as quiet, measured, and thoughtful in my words (at least I hope). Last month I was still all these things, but more. I consciously did not limit my communication to what is kind and accepted — don’t get me wrong, I still practiced “right speech” and built upon the foremost practice of Ahimsa. But I also said what I needed to say and what (I perceived) needed to be heard. I spoke unfiltered both verbally and virtually; sometimes words stemmed from my need for personal clarity and peace of mind, sometimes I just blurted out whatever came up. And it was glorious.
For most introverts like me, speaking up and out can be a challenge. Whether we are literally not heard or just don’t even bother trying, we often stifle our communication to the detriment of our own psychological cleanliness — thoughts, feelings and opinions pile up like last week’s laundry and we keep a running list of things we should’ve / could’ve said and REALLY WILL say the next time we get a chance. But more often than not that chance doesn’t come and we keep accumulating more discarded dialogue, resulting in a cycle of overwhelming head chatter and unnecessary (and annoying) politeness.
When I actually, in a way, stopped caring and started to let my speech flow without constantly border checking it, I enjoyed an incredible sense of liberation from my own thoughts and openness with my friends, family and co-workers. AND no one accused me of being a loud, insensitive and pompous bitch! The takeaway? We (even the most intro- of introverts) can in fact practice kindness and compassion without shortchanging ourselves by over-calculating our speech and actions. Being yourself, in all its beautiful and ugly truthfulness, very much includes using your voice, no matter how quiet it may be.
And yes, I realize we are four days into March and I’m due to take on the next Yama, Asteya. New month / new Yama post coming soon… for real.