Many years ago, I was a starry-eyed young woman who fell in love with an angry young man. The relationship gradually chipped away at my vitality, leaving me shattered and disconnected. Despite this, I couldn’t summon the resolve to end it. Until, that is, I received a simple and powerful piece of insight from my brother-in-law.
Terry married my older sister when I was just 5-years-old. He taught me how to skate like a hockey player, burp on command, make toot sounds with my armpit, and throw a football with the perfect spiral. More apt to talk about sports than feelings, he’s not known—at least on the outside—for being sensitive. A soft heart rests beneath the tough exterior.
One day, reeling from my boyfriend’s latest emotional blow, Terry asked if I wanted to join him on an errand. I sat silently beside him in the car, lost in a fog of sadness and uncertainty. After a few moments, he said: “You know what you need to do, you just haven’t done it yet.” And I listened.
Those words were a gift. A ray of light, they pierced through the murk. They helped me remember who I was, deep within. I did know what I needed; there was a part of me that always knew. I stepped back into my life, and away from the relationship. I relearned how to be true to my self and my needs. Twenty-some years later, that practice remains strong.
A New Year’s Remembrance
Tradition tells us it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Often reluctantly, we pledge to change what we don’t like about our lives and ourselves. To erase undesired traits and behaviors.
Instead of pouring out the contents of your cup, fill it up. By remembering and attending to your needs, you naturally invite habits that expand wellbeing. And, in doing so, dissolve patterns that no longer serve you.
We can all remember how to listen. To the human being and the spiritual. The physical, the subtle, and deeper still. The whole self. Here are few ways to practice.
Pay attention to your body; hear what it has to say. Societal rules often shape us to ignore our most basic, physical needs. For example, as children, we may have learned to “hold it” when we have to use the bathroom, “wait” for a convenient time to eat, and “sit still” to show respect. When we override these needs often enough, we’re conditioned to drown out the body’s signals. We can practice listening now. Feeling hungry? Eat something nourishing. Have to pee? Take a restroom break. Crave motion? Move in a mindful way.
Stated as truth, an affirmation has the power to greatly influence our patterns and everyday life. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said it best: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” Try dropping the following pebble into your day and notice the ripple effect: Repeat the affirmation “I know what I need.” Say it aloud, softly, and silently.
A daily Sadhana, a routine practice, is a wonderful opportunity to listen closely to inner knowing. To that wise, whispering voice within each of us. Whether your practice spans a few minutes or an hour, embrace intentional pauses. Sink into the gaps, and drift into the next moment with whatever need arises. It could be intuitive movement, relaxation, long exhales, meditation, sobbing, or singing out loud…who knows? Your essence does, so listen in.
Remember: You know what you need.
Megan DeRosa, MA, C-IAYT, RYT-500 is a yoga therapist, teacher, and lifelong student. Sharing both ancient truths and research-backed tools in an approachable way, she guides others to access more ease, connection, and joy in everyday life. Along with yoga, her work is inspired by a graduate degree in holistic health and healing, certifications in life coaching and Reiki, a background in science, and her experiences as a mom and human. Learn more about her offerings, writings, and story at www.meganderosa.com.