Omer Day 38
23 Iyar 5780
Sunday 17 May 2020
At the core of non-violent communication is the desire and need for connection with others, rather than to approach a situation from a position of opposition or competition. Even (or especially) when a challenging situation has presented itself, when conflict enters a relationship, we are well-served by approaching conversations with a mindset that the other complements rather than opposes us. Rarely do competitive conversations actually produce “winners” on either side. All of this is easier said than done of course. So for today’s practice of Tiferet within Yesod — compassion within connection — we look to this beautiful contribution from Melissa Carter, Associate Director & Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming at New York University’s Global Spiritual Life & Mindful NYU. In addition to her work in wellness, mindfulness, and spirituality, Melissa is a Jewish woman of color, a doula, and an adjunct professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work. Follow her on Instagram @ignitewithmelissa!
Melissa offers us a two-part practice for today’s embodied Omer. Part one creates the opportunity for a conversation with ourselves through mindful journaling, guiding us in unearthing deeper truths about the root challenges at the heart of a difficult situation. Part two offers a guide for follow-up conversation with the person(s) also involved in the situation, which may also be completed today or may take place in the future. Whether you complete both practices or just the first, we hope this offers a calming sense of groundedness in approaching relationships through empathy, compassion, and connection.
Read on for today’s practice from Melissa:
Ever feel overwhelmed by your emotions and believe the antidote is to immediately speak your mind, raise the issue, or dive deep into a wound so you can feel heard and seen? When your nervous system becomes dysregulated your “thinking brain” and your “emotional brain” compete for who is going to activate faster. And since your thinking brain has more neural circuitry than your emotional brain it takes longer to activate especially if your nervous system is up in arms. Hence, it is very human to have an emotional response to a situation before rational thought kicks in.
When practicing Tif’eret of Yesod we take the time to actually get underneath the emotional body doing its best to protect us and get back to our foundation that is built in love, compassion, and discernment.
To practice compassion within foundation we must first begin with ourselves. To understand when we are being absorbed by our emotions rather than side by side with them trying to understand and discern the best pathway to move forward authentically. We cannot simultaneously offer ourselves compassion let alone someone else if we are not grounded. Your emotions and feelings are valid and can lead you to a deeper understanding of what is truly needing to be addressed first by you and then with someone else.
When noticing that urgent feeling to address an important matter with someone else, ask yourself if you are grounded in “heart-centered truth” or are you operating from urgency? Could you respond more powerfully and open-heartedly if you paused and first sat compassionately with yourself before someone else?
☀️Omer Day 38 practice [23 Iyar 5780 | Sunday 17 May 2020]☀️
Part 1 — Conversation with yourself.
- Grab a journal, pen and a timer. Ground yourself with centering breaths. Identify a person and situation that elicits challenging and/or intense emotions. This will set the context for your written conversation with yourself.
- Set your timer for 4 minutes. Answer the following questions in your journal:
- What am I feeling?
- Why am I feeling this way?
- Am I responding to this situation from old feelings and not the present moment?
- What do I feel needs to be most urgently said?
- Will it be helpful to move the situation forward if I share right now?
- What is most important for me to ground in before I ask to be heard?
- From a place of compassion for myself and the other person — what part of me truly wants to be seen and heard? How can I express this part so it can be?
- Note: Write rawly even if it doesn’t present you in the best light. You are not sharing this one with anyone. It is purely a tool to support you in unearthing clarity.
- Pause and continue to breathe deeply. Remind yourself just like me this person is struggling with this too. Just like me this person’s emotions are activated. Just like me this person wants to be heard and seen. Just like me this person is human. (1 minute)
- Go back and review your answers to the original prompts. After considering where the other person is coming from, have any of your answers changed? Take another few moments to make any additional notes. (2 minutes)
Part Two — additional exercise with partner (15 minutes for the exercise, along with additional time for follow up conversation)
- Call in someone you may be struggling with or wish to be seen more deeply by. Ask them if they have space to dive deeply into a matter that needs both parties’ attention with compassion and curiosity. If not, schedule a time that works for both of you to do so.
- Create an intention for your time together of candor, compassion and curiosity.
- Grab a timer and for 7 minutes each speak your hearts to each other.
- Do not interrupt each other. The listening partner is not to say a word and is there to listen to understand not respond. If it is helpful for the listening partner, take notes and or repeat back word for word what the person is saying in your head. When the 7 minutes is up before the next person speaks, repeat back to the speaker EXACTLY what you heard them say, not your perception of it but what you heard and give them a few moments to clarify anything needed before switching.
- After both parties have gone, design together a path forward using the information now shared.
- Check in a few weeks later to see how everyone is feeling about the resolution and celebrate the progress you both have made.
When you can get to the foundation of your role in a situation, your needs, and your voice you are more easily able to hear and see it in someone else as well.
- Journal & pen
- Quiet place to reflect
- Partner (for part 2)
☀️ This post is part of our Omer Wellness Series – a daily 7-minute opportunity for introspection and intentional focus on caring for ourselves, each other, and our environment in this incredibly challenging time. ☀️
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