I hate being ignored. It pushes my buttons like nothing else.
I love it when someone takes the time to hear me. But more than that, it feels great when I’m acknowledged. Thanks to my life coach (à la Handel Group) for enlightening me on the subject, so does everyone else.
So I started to pay attention, a lot of attention, to my personal ignoring habits.
I had to develop awareness.
Day one of this practice I caught myself red handed. While walking I saw a common sight for Toronto; a gentleman asking for change. I watched as he politely asked a woman and then watched as she walked right by him - his existence made invisible. Slapped in the face with reality a few seconds later, I did the same thing.
I spent the rest of my walk in a thought daze. “Did I just do that?!” Sure did. I’ve done it many times before too. In fact, it was my habit, something I was previously unconscious of.
Ignoring the people asking for change allowed me to disconnect from them. I didn’t have to look into their eyes and see their pain, fear, or hope. I didn’t have to slow my role to acknowledge them and I didn’t have to interrupt the
very important thoughts in my head to stop and give change. I disconnected.
Disconnection is the exact opposite of what I’m looking for.
Everyone deserves to be acknowledged. My new practice is to ignore no more. I will acknowledge people that speak to me, no matter who they are. I’ll either smile or verbally answer, whatever my answer might be. I won’t ignore their presence.
But I want to go deeper than my attention to others. I want to know if there’s anything I’m ignoring in me. I’m a huge believer that a healthy spirit means a healthy body - I speak from experience. When I’m stressed I don’t just feel it in my mind, I feel it in my heart, my sleep is affected, and my digestion sucks. If I’m sad my body feels heavy, almost as if it’s weighted with water needing to release as tears.
I’ve previously tried to ignore painful emotions hoping they’d disappear. If I could just put them aside and keep going, I would. Most often a night of booze did the trick as I was quite pleased with my hangover the next day. At least the pain was bodily, something I preferred over emotional pain.
My emotions became physical.
These ignored emotions didn’t disappear, they just went deeper - sometimes even placed themselves in my muscles. These damn, deep set emotions led to things getting stuck in my body, and things should never be stagnant in the body. Change and movement are required for us to survive on so many levels. Even our organs move individually and if they’re doing so, they’re healthy.
I learned how to flow.
As a yoga teacher, I’ve seen and experienced many of what some consider to be a random emotional release during a yoga pose. With yoga we learn to stretch and strengthen our body and if we’re lucky, we uncover an area that’s stuck. When we tap into such an area, the stagnant stuff reveals itself and bam, it’s an emotion stuck in our hip. All of a sudden… tears.
The tears represent your newly found flow (not just a flow of tears, but a new energy flow has opened). It may come with embarrassment as to why you’re crying in the middle of your pigeon pose, but congratulations! You’re releasing what’s no longer serving you.
Just go with it. Flow with it. Engage with it.
My teachers have taught me to engage - not just my muscles, but also my mind. If I stop ignoring challenging emotions my future will be free of trying to uncover anything I’ve previously hidden.
So my practice involves engaging with emotions instead of ignoring them. In this way, I can connect to their source and understand how to change them where necessary, or accept them.
I will ignore no more.
Who or what are you ignoring?