Hello Little Voice

You have one. I have one. They are different but similar.

It’s that little voice.

I’m not talking about the judgy voice in our minds that has nothing nice to say, listing all the ways we screw up.

The voice I’m talking about lives in the heart. It’s felt in the gut. It doesn’t harsh on you.

It can be faint or strong. Sometimes we can ignore it and other times we can’t no matter how hard we try.

My little voice showed up this week. It was subtle but nothing less than remarkable.

Here’s what happened...

I’m not going to sugar coat this. I’m starting a business and at times it scares the crap out of me. All of my insecurities, doubts, imposter syndrome, and general “who do I think I am anyway?” thinking shows up - That's the critical and sometimes straight up mean voice.

I get it, my mind is protecting me from hurt and disappointment from potential failure.

So, I push through and carry on.

At this phase in my development, I’m doing a lot of research, planning, and reaching out to people.

One of the scary parts for me is putting myself in front of others and saying “Hey, I’ve got something you might want.” But as I’ve shared, if people don’t know about me, I don’t give them an option to say yes or no – the don’t know I exist.

I know I have to introduce myself. I need share what I have to offer, and give people the option to decide if my yoga therapy services are a good fit for them. So I commit to a weekly outreach routine to help me achieve my outreach goals.

Every Monday I review my outreach list and follow-ups. Last week, I sent an email to a fairly large institution – very scary for me. I used the general info@ email and told myself I would follow up the next week if I hadn’t heard back.

Presidents’ Day was the first day of this week and I hadn’t heard back. Some employers observe this holiday, but I decided to give a call just to see if they were in. I got the voicemail.

My mind said, “that’s what I thought, they aren’t there and you won’t hear back.”

I was about to hang up when a little voice said, “Don’t hang up. Leave a voicemail.”

It was faint but clear. It was centered and sure. I brought the phone back to my ear and waited for the beep.

I left a voice message that probably rambled on too long and almost forgot to leave my phone number right before I hung up.

It was far from perfect, but I did it. I was proud of myself for not chickening out. I could go through the rest of my day and week and feel good.

It gets better…

Not two hours later I got a phone call back. They hadn’t received my email and wanted to forward my information to the director. Wow! I’m so glad I left a message. Thank you, little voice.

I don’t know what is going to happen next but here’s what I take away from this experience...

I will to listen to that little voice to the best of my ability.

I will take action, even when I don’t feel ready.

I will trust I’m headed in the right direction even if it feels like I’m shuffling around in the dark.

What is that voice anyway? How do we know when to listen?

In my humble opinion, that voice is our connection to deep wisdom. It lives in the body, not the mind. It can be faint. It can be strong. You can feel it.

Can you think of a time when that voice showed up?

Like when you met someone interesting but the little voice told you to be cautious.

Or that time you didn’t want to have that difficult conversation but that little voice told you how important it was.

Or that time it told you to go left instead of right.

When the little voice is a felt sense rather than thoughts in the mind, definitely listen.

The difference between the voice in our head and the voice in our body is this: the voice in our head wants to protect us from hurts and embarrassments. That has a place and is useful at times. But not all the time.

The voice in our body has our best interest, has our back, and is cheering us along to be our most authentic self. That voice encourages some risk and doesn’t beat us up if we fail. It praises for us for trying.

We all have this little voice. It’s about listening and trusting what it tells us.

How in the world do we do that?

1. Slow down and get quiet. Our minds are busy replaying what happened in the past and anticipating what’s going to happen in the future. It can be noisy and distracting in there. Our minds are amazing but shouldn’t be left to run the show. When we slow down and get quiet, we create space for the little voice to be heard.

2. Focused attention. This might sound simple but can be challenging. Our minds a great at multi-tasking and jumping around from thought to thought, idea to idea.

Here's the practice

Start small. Sit quietly for five minutes each day. Focus your attention on your breath. If your mind wanders that’s OK. Simply bring your attention back to your breath. That’s it!

This little practice has been huge in my life. My little voice is more present when I create space for it. Listening and responding to it isn't easy though. Life pulls on us, obligations, schedules, and wanting to please others (I've been working on people pleasing for years!).

I have a long list of examples of when I did and didn’t listen to the voice. There are periods in my life that just aren’t pretty. I was pushing that voice down with everything I had. As I reflect on these experiences, I see how all if it is important. All of my choices brought me here and I’m grateful for that.

Please know you aren’t doing it wrong. Maybe you don’t hear the little voice at all. Or if you do, you don’t listen. It might be too much. That is OK. You are doing the best you know how. I believe we all have inner wisdom and with a little space, time, and support you can develop a beautiful relationship with it…with yourself.

I work with a lot of different people. If you are interested in listening to your body and inner wisdom, get in touch with me. Yoga therapy may be for you.

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