Men go into Caves; Women are like Waves

Recently, a friend gifted me a copy of three chapters, well-used and stapled together, of the classic relationship advice book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Published by counselor John Gray in 1992, these yellowed pages had a surprising amount of helpful wisdom.

The main takeaway, which is not rocket science or anything—though I appreciated the clear and simple way he explains the differences between men and women and the way we communicate, express ourselves and deal with difficulty—is that men go into caves, while women are like waves.

Men are motivated and empowered when they feel needed. Women are motivated and empowered when they feel cherished.

When men are struggling with a problem, feeling upset or angry, they often “go into a cave”, get silent and need space and time to process alone. Women, from the other planet, go through cycles or waves—going up, feeling good, fulfilled, motivated and loved, and then doing down into the trough, crashing down into emotional overwhelm, worry, frustration or confusion.

Like I said, it’s not a revelation. These are simple metaphors, and they make sense. The more you know…. Now I can let my partner go into his cave when he needs to and not try to elicit conversation from him until he has emerged. I will watch my own wave and be more aware of my tendencies to go to extreme highs and lows, seeking greater balance and moderation in my daily life. Hey, maybe I should read the whole book!

Heart-to-Heart Communication

“If we want to do good, it has to be in our words to the people we live with, and the people that we meet on the street, and the people that we interact with at the stores, and the people we work with.

If you want to stop nuclear war, pay attention to your speech, pay attention to how and when your words are connected to your heart, and when words aren’t connected to your heart, and what’s going on when they’re not.

Without judging it, just study it, begin to look at it.” ~ Jack Kornfield

broken record

How and when are my words connected to my heart?

When they come from a place of understanding, a remembrance of oneness, rather than from a feeling (falsely) superior or inferior.

When they well up with truth, clarity and necessity.

How much of our time is spent speaking in broken-record small talk and superfluous phrases?  Words decidedly disconnected from our hearts. Mindlessly coming from habit.

“That’s so funny.”

“Did you hear…?!”

“How about this weather, huh?”

“You know…”

The most common question in the English language must be, “How are you?” And nine times out of 10, we ask it and completely glaze over at the answer. That why we’ve all trained ourselves to say, “Fine, thanks, and you?” “I’m well, thanks for asking.”

How am I?

Well, I am feeling a little tired and anxious and also super grateful and content this morning. I’m hungry and lazy with the mildest of headaches and I’d really like to crawl back into bed and snuggle with my hubby and daughter but I kind of need to get to work.

I’m never just “fine,” no one is… yet we say so even to our partners and parents and close friends —unless we are really there, speaking from the heart, present in the moment.

It’s complicated yet simple. We can be feeling all this and knowing that it’s okay and natural to feel whatever arises.

This is our challenge, if we choose to accept it: observe when and how our speech (spoken conversation, written words and body language) is connected to and flowing from the source of the heart…. and when it is not.

Slowly, slowly, with the magical power of awareness and attention, our words and ways of expression become more genuine, more meaningful, more loving and more real.

This is life’s work. It’s not going to happen in a week, probably. We have years and generations of practice speaking from the mind, from the ego. It will take effort to recreate new patterns. It will take time, patience, persistence and love.

So… how are you?

Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn

Freedom of expression is a birthright that many of us have been granted and regularly exercise. We are freer to speak our minds now more so than any other time in history. Protests are readily organized and petitions fill our inboxes. We have endless mediums to share our opinions; we can let others know what we are thinking at any given moment through social media status updates. Information is endless; we are eager to tell others what we know.

Typically, speaking is valued more than listening. We all want to be heard, but sometimes we forget to ask questions. We avoid silence by filling the space between words with like and ummm… We don’t simply pause and breathe between sentences. Then, we think about what we should have said or we are going to say next while the other person is speaking. We don’t know how to listen for what isn’t being said. Rather than seeing the person, the whole person, behind their words, their story, we react, we interrupt with advice, we agree or disagree, or vacantly smile and nod.

Teachers and parents told us that listening is an important skill and we were frequently reminded to “Listen!” (to authority figures, that is). We were taught to tune out the intelligence of our inner voices and the wisdom of our surroundings and have since been bombarded with the media’s mind- and soulless messages — the only other option seeming to be to escape into internal dialogue.

June is a time to practice listening.

Ask a question, then listen to your intuition by noticing the images that come to mind later that day or night.  
Listen, to your thoughts and ideas through journaling without judgement. 
Listen, to your heart speak through the emotions in your body. 
Listen, to your stomach in all its feedback, reactions and responses. 
Listen, to your surroundings by listening to the sounds around you without labelling them as pleasant or unpleasant.  

… Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

To find
another’s voice,
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
listening
to another…

– From David Whyte’s “Start Close In”

ARCHIVE

June 2015

Hearing & Listening (with Ashton Thébault)
Seeking Silence 
Meditation on Sound

Throat (5th) Chakra

“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~ George Orwell

Throat chakra concerns:  communication, creativity, voice, expression, consumption, purification

Music:

  • Communication Breakdown by Led Zeppelin
  • Hello Goodbye by The Beatles
  • People Gonna Talk by James Hunter
  • Rehab by Amy Winehouse
  • Express Yourself by Madonna

Literature:

Want to learn more about your throat center and the other 6 main chakra points? Get intriguing information, essential questions, yoga practice suggestions & guided meditations for each chakra in the new eBook, Flow & Flower: a guide to your 7 chakras.