Listening Is Scary.

Sometimes my soul whispers things I don't want to hear. And so I ignore my soul, I shout over the whispers, I force my will all over everything.

And then my soul says something like, "Oh, I guess she didn't hear me. I'll just speak a little bit louder."

And so for a couple of weeks now, my lower back has been spasming and seizing. It's excruciating when it happens, and has brought me to my knees and forced me to remember how I breathed while birthing my babies; calm and focus are the only things that help the muscles relax.

I went to see my chiropractor, and told him, "My back is trying to tell me something." He worked his magic, but the pain has still been present.

Last night I drove to Vermont for a breath session. I pay someone to help me learn to breathe in a way that actually nourishes my body, because I, like so many of us, have forgotten how to do this.

I've forgotten how to mindfully do the thing that keeps me alive.

I didn't really want to go. I knew I'd be glad I went, just like I'm always glad after a hard workout. But last night, half way there, I just wanted to turn around and go home.

The only word I've been able to use to describe myself for the past week or so has been 'curmudgeonly'. I'm not sorrowful, I'm not angry. I'm just feeling itchy inside, like something is working its way out or in.

I said all of this to my breath teacher last night. I told her I'd been ornery. I told her about my back. I told her I hadn't really wanted to come.

She laughed.

We talked about words like freedom and love. I told her that my grouchiness had been making me feel really alive, like I was allowing a piece of who I really am to exist without judgment, without shooing it into the corner.

"It just keeps coming back to something I've said before: up here, in my brain, I'm aware of everything I need to do to feel the way I think I want to feel."

"You sure are, sweetheart." And then her face got serious. She looked at me with her piercing blue eyes, soulfully determined. "And now it's time to walk the talk."

I breathed air all the way down into my belly. I breathed it into my back, into the places that have been clenched.

When I stood up, my back felt new.

My soul has been whispering an invitation. It wants me to get to know it again. In fact, I think it's fair to say that my soul wants us to get to know each other for the very first time.

And the message it's been sending, the one I've been resisting, is that it's time to turn inside. It's time to do the research and read the books and breathe in and stretch out and walk the talk I've learned to talk so well.

*E