At the beginning of the year, I made a Practice commitment to look at body habits, particularly ones that were comfortable and which had the illusion of caring for the body, yet which the heart sensed were actually keeping me from a bigger experience of Life.
One habit I had practiced with previously, yet continued to be a source of suffering, was snacking. I chose to make snacking a focus of my attention.
Reflecting on prior Practice attempts, I noticed I would make a commitment, set up reminders, get talked out of paying attention to the reminders, and then would feel bad for being a person who could not follow through. It was time to get a lot more curious and bring additional Recording and Listening techniques to the process!
I started the exploration by making a recording of why I wanted to look at the process. I then committed to R/Ling each morning and also when I felt the urge to snack throughout the day.
I quickly began to see a pattern: that the urge to snack was particularly alluring in the late afternoon when energy was low. Aha! A piece of the puzzle not yet explored! A wonderful opportunity for the two-handed R/L technique!
Putting the recorder in the right hand, I would speak about the experience of low energy and how it felt. I would reveal what the voices were saying and talk uncensored about how this felt to the human who was the target of the unkind voices.
Moving the recorder to the left hand, I listened back as if I were listening to a best friend. I got to hear about how the person felt in this low energy state, how she carried a belief that her own needs were not important, and that she felt that she needed to eat to get energy to keep doing — taking care of work and others.
Uncovering this belief changed everything! This person needed to be embraced with compassion and love and she needed to hear that her needs were important. She did not need a snack; she needed love and compassion.
Once the bogus belief was uncovered, the perspective shifted from being the one believing she needed something to distract her from her own needs to being present with the one who was feeling low energy. It was time to get to know her.
What did she need? This question prompted another great R/L opportunity: recording about the sensations and self-talk, listening back, and seeing what dropped in as an encouragement and experiment. How about resting with legs up the wall for five minutes? How about a brisk walk around the block? How about recording three things she feels grateful for?
Yes! There was a willingness to try these and other self-care experiments and to a make a brief recording afterward to see how the person was doing.
It was amazing! After five to ten minutes of rest, walking outside, or turning attention to gratitude, she was ready to re-engage with a larger picture.
I have so much gratitude for the Recording and Listening practice! In the process of expressing and deeply listening, not only does the human being feel cared for, but also the perspective widens — building trust that there really is nothing wrong.
Pick a habit you would like to bring consciousness to. Record about why you want to practice with this habit and make a commitment to R/L when you notice the habit tendency. Instead of indulging the behavior, put the recorder in the right hand and record about what is happening in the moment— the feelings and sensations, self talk, the human’s uncensored feelings. Then, put the recorder in the left hand and listen wholeheartedly as if you were listening to a best friend about the experience. Stop, take a few deep breaths, and see what drops in as an encouragement to support this person. If the encouragement is an experiment, do that. If it is words, Record and Listen. Lastly, make a brief recording afterward about the experience of being cared for in this compassionate and loving way.