Even though everyone who showed up this month were Dreamers & Schemers veterans, it was really important for me to go over the agreements given the sensitive nature of the work we were going to do around the throat chakra and speaking our truth from the heart. I reminded everyone that we were there to honor ourselves and our own truth. We would be working at voicing our truth but also recognizing our current limits. We also agreed to honor others, and their truth, and honor their process, however that looked today. And we agreed that to honor beginner’s mind by seeing our truth as coming in the moment, rather than relying on what had been true for us in the past, or voicing what we think our truth “should” be according to our ego or external forces.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Everyone thought they’d dodged a bullet because we’d skipped over the questions last month in the interest of time. But this month saw the return of the repressed (mwahaha) and I put the questions I’d originally planned to them: When is it easy, medium, and hard for you to speak your truth? For easy, I also included scenarios where it might have been hard in the past, but with work it’s become easy. I played along, of course, so here are my answers:
EASY: sharing my feelings during difficult conversations, especially with my husband. This used to be difficult for me in the past, and my tendency was to remain silent because it was hard for me even to feel anything past my anger (or whatever). I used to have a really hard time getting to the root of my upset, so I couldn’t really communicate much past the most superficial layer of my emotions. With a lot of work, it’s now become easy for me.
MEDIUM: calling people or situations out. This actually used to be very easy for me, but it also would get me into a lot of trouble because my opinion is not always welcome! In those cases, I trigger a lot of defensiveness or my advice just falls on deaf ears or a closed heart, or simply gets misunderstood. I am learning to discern when my perspective can help and when it would be useless to share.
HARD: “What do you do?” I find that it is still very difficult for me, in most cases, to answer this question because I don’t fit into any easy boxes, and my “in a nutshell” answer ends up opening even more questions (“I bring people together. I hold space. I shake things up.”). I always try to gauge how to handle this question by reading the audience. Am I ever going to see this person again? How open minded is s/he? etc. Sometimes I just tell a white lie and say things like, “I’m a teacher,” and let that person make whatever assumptions they want to make. If sense the person is open to a longer conversation, however, I am more than happy to say, “It’s complicated,” and I share some details to see if they bite. When they do, I am more than happy to elaborate and talk about my work!
Without divulging personal details, the group resonated a lot with what I shared in their own answers to the question. We all agreed that the ease with which we shared certain truths still depended on the audience, and that sometimes you just have to pick your battles and save your truth for when it really matters / when the audience is receptive.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS AND TRICKS
Instead of a standalone opening meditation, we did this by way of going through some of the tips and tricks I learned from Naaz Hosseini, a fantastic voice coach I worked with back when I transitioned out of academia and realized that I needed to find a new of way of being in the world in order to speak about my work in Minds On Fire. Naaz’s work begins with connecting with our breath and the ground. Long before we start vocalizing she has clients become aware of their bodies and then create a safe space within and without. Although I don’t use every single on of her tips, her work has been foundational for so much else in my life, beyond public speaking. I keep trying to refer friends and colleagues to her, because I think she does such wonderful work.
VOICING YOUR TRUTH
We put our new tools to the test with an exercise that I made up to find just how comfortable or uncomfortable people are in voicing the truth of their heart. I wrote down heart questions (i.e., the mind couldn’t really answer them adequately) on folded bits of paper and had people draw them out of a box without looking. Then each one stood before the group and I would put the question to them, and they would have to answer from the heart. There were some questions that elicited immediate, heartfelt answers, and questions that triggered a lot of emotion. It was a learning situation either way, and I am so proud of how the group handled a very emotionally charged exercise. We wound down the evening with a fun meditation where we went inward to discover the songs of our soul.
Our next gathering will be on Thursday, Sept. 14, when we will be moving on to the third eye chakra, so get ready to explore our intuition!