How to Listen to the Whispers of Your Soul
Let go of being fine, and instead, choose another path that includes rest.
A friend recently asked me in passing how I was doing. I responded that I felt like a bit of a crazy person, trying to get through my list for the day, and that life was full, but full of good things. And that is how I feel most days. I no longer suggest that I am fine as I would have ten years ago, but I do recognize that it wouldn’t take much to topple the delicate balance that is my life.
We live in a world where we claim we are “fine.” And while it may be true that we are fine, just over the edge of fine is a pit of exhaustion and overwhelm. For many, being fine means toeing the line, the one where all it would take to tip over is to admit that we actually are not fine.
The trick then becomes admitting that we not fine. Actually, we are quite tired, and could we please have some help? Admitting to needing help and needing rest are two things that are not valued in our society. As the pace seems to be quickening however, it may be that we each need to decide to admit these things to everyone around us. We do need help and yes, please, we would love to lay down for a rest.
Karen Brody, an author, playwright, and yoga nidra teacher, wants to help you get the rest you need. In her book Daring to Rest she lays out a 40 day program for women who just can’t summon the energy to pretend they are fine any longer. Brody, who had suffered for years from severe panic attacks, found her way to yoga nidra accidentally, as she was really just looking for a place to lay down at her local yoga studio. The profound difference it made in her life inspired her to immerse herself in the practice, and become and advocate and teacher.
Brody’s program is based around 3 phases. At the heart of each phase is a yoga nidra practice. This is the anchor of her program, and is augmented by practices that will help you understand and harness your energetic body, your intuition, and the bigger vision you hold for your life. An important part of the program also involves journaling, and training yourself to become still enough to hear and write down your “Soul Whispers”—which can come in the form of words, images or sounds.
The first phase, “Relax” is about allowing your physical body to rest, to return from a state of exhaustion that we constantly override. Yoga nidra has been shown to help you access a brain wave state that gives the benefits of sleep, yet you do so consciously. In the beginning, you may fall asleep because you are so utterly exhausted, but over time, and with practice, you will find that you can consciously activate brain waves that bring about deep relaxation and restoration.
The second phase, “Release” lets you access your emotional body. We all carry outdated emotions with us throughout our days. Old hurts and grievances that have morphed into anger or rage. We may not even realize that we are lugging these old stories around with us because we have buried them. Brody writes, “during this second phase, I’ll be asking you to meet and greet the dark sides of yourself. Meeting your darkness is a key to feeling powerful.” Combining this sense of befriending your darkness with the conscious awareness of yoga nidra allows you to heal and release what no longer serves you.
In the final phase, “Rise” Brody invites readers to let go of what isn’t true for them; she calls it “letting go of life-purpose exhaustion.” She writes, “you will take yoga nidra ‘out of the bed’ and learn how to use it to live a well-rested lifestyle. To do that, you’ll first need to lead differently and dream big from this well-rested place.”
Ultimately, Brody is advocating for a new form of leadership—a feminine form. She insists that this has nothing with gender, but rather “is a style of leading rooted in empathy, communication, and consciousness. This kind of leadership, which both women and men can embrace, is about leading with awareness.” The world could use this kind of leadership, and Brody believes that each us can lead with our feelings and with our hearts. To do so, however, we have to let go of being fine, and instead, choose another path that includes rest.