Have you ever had to attend an event that you felt was far, far away. Many, who live in south Austin, may consider events held in north Austin as being far. This meeting was held in Pflugerville. The purpose was to engage in conversation with others, some of different cultures, nationalities and faith, as if sitting on The Red Bench. We discussed the topic of Grace. These conversations help us share our perspective and, if we’re lucky, give us a better understanding of another person’s perspective. According to Interfaith Austin, the red bench is a symbol of a place for conversations that “cultivate peace and respect.”
Conversations with Others
“No one is more influential in your life than you are.” Yoga teacher
Before the verbal conversations began, there are nonverbal cues. There are smiles. Nods. Waves. Claiming space by placing personal items. I sat at the top of the table and got non verbal cues that I was in another’s personal space. It didn’t seem so at first until I moved across from the person and recognized different boundary lines. Moving helped change my perspective.
During verbal conversations, there were interesting perspectives about the meaning of the word. Each definition flavored by the person’s life experience. All definitions including the Divine. The benefit of this group is that there are some basic ‘rules’ to follow that allow everyone to freely speak. I’ve often left there thinking “I’ve never heard anyone say that!” Or, “I can’t believe they said that.” or ” What an interesting or controversial or unique way of thinking.”
It turns out that in these conversation groups, the act of listening by far exceeds talking in importance. My intention when participating in these types of conversations as a practice, is that the practice will carry over into the other conversations I have outside the group.
Conversations with Self
Conversations before and after class are part of the yoga experience. You may hear a few conversations between friends before class and after class. During class, you may hear quick conversations between students and the teacher. The most important conversations happen during class between you and your body parts.
I have to admit I talk to my body parts. Most of my conversations are of the friendly variety. Letting body parts know that I am their friend and will do my best to help them complete the asana. No exercise is worth a scream. No body parts need to yell either. But, a few parts have yelled.
The ankle may scream during a balance pose “Hey, that’s enough!” I sometimes listen or I may cajole it by saying, “Just a few seconds longer and I promise to give you a massage.”
The thighs may yell,”I don’t want to go lower” during a squat. I let it know that it will naturally go down during the exhale. “We will use the breath to help us.”
“Acknowledge yourself for the work you’ve done on the mat.” Yoga teacher
If you see me walking you may catch me patting my back. It’s because I’m telling myself “Good job, Marcia!”