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  • Writer's pictureKimberly LaBounty

Are You Listening?

“Man, I’m bored.” “You look bored.” “I am bored.”

I was watching Oceans 11 the other night, with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and several other great actors. I can pretty much recite all the lines of the movie (it’s a household favorite) but I was thinking about the exchange above between Daniel Ocean (Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Pitt). They had been apart while Danny was serving time. Rusty was teaching movie stars how to play poker to pass the time. While Rusty was making good money and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, he was bored because he wasn’t utilizing the experience, creativity, or skill he was capable of exhibiting.

“Time to eliminate things that no longer EVOLVE me.”

After the reunion, Rusty quickly left the "teaching" job and the two put together a heist that was “both highly lucrative and highly dangerous,” requiring everything they had to pull it off. And though there were several challenges throughout, it was during this time that they were happiest and most authentic. I’m not suggesting a life of crime is a recommended career choice. But think about how much more productive and effective they were when they were doing what they loved; when they were doing things that helped them evolve professionally and personally. They were downright genius in the heist, and knew how to utilize the skills of the team members involved and achieve the best results.

There’s no doubt that to pull off the heist took guts, conviction and a drive to cross the finish line. The decision to do it was difficult, and convincing others to actually pull it off was no easy task either – especially with the “Ella Fitzgerald,” “Miss Daisy”, and “two Leron Sphinx” required to make it happen. But they loved the challenge, and that made it easier.

Sometimes life forces us to make tough decisions so that we can continue to evolve and move toward what we love and are most authentic doing. I’ve had to make some life-changing decisions in the last couple weeks. While the decisions were tough, once made, there was a sense of peace that settled over me and I knew – I felt – it was right. But that was just step one. .. then I had to live the decision and tell others about it. Admittedly, the “telling others” part was most nerve-wrecking because I’ve always worried about what others think of me. So I repeated, “I’m releasing the concern I have over what others think, and I’m manifesting the change that lies ahead” every day in my meditation. And on Monday morning I went live.

“You can use your mind to ignore what your heart says, but your heart will only get louder,” said Paula, my yoga instructor. It hit me like a kick in the gut that day, and still resonates. Since then, I’ve been paying more attention to my heart. It’s funny how, when you start listening to your heart, you realize all it has to say. I used to only listen to my mind, and I realized how shallow the discussions and decisions. When you listen to your heart, you are listening to your authentic self and there is depth and breadth in all it has to tell you.

It is easy to get trapped in the day-to-day, and stay focused on all that surface-level happiness. But you have wisdom, and you have soul and you know what is best for you. You just have to stop and listen. “The body is just a vessel for the soul and wisdom to flow through,” said Savitri Palkhivala in a recent interview. In yoga and meditation, we have an opportunity to be a little still so we can hear what it has to say.

I would encourage you to STOP. Listen to what your heart has to say. It may not be comfortable at first, but it speaks the truth – your truth – and will guide you to find what will continue to evolve you.

Here are a few ways you can just “be” and allow your heart to speak to you:

  • Start a small meditation practice. I started mine with some alternate nostril breathing for five minutes, and then moved into just three minutes of sitting still and then ended in a prayer. Total time needed: 10 minutes. I’ve added on since then.

  • Take a mindful walk outside. Notice things. See/listen to/connect with nature.

  • Do something for others.

  • Take a long bath.

  • Go to a favorite spot – I’m not far from Lake Michigan and I love to listen to the water. A colleague loves to go for a hike.

  • In your next yoga class, simply focus on your breath, and nothing else.

  • Be grateful.

We live in a noisy world – much of it distractions and loud “stuff” that just pulls us away from what is important. Find a way to block it out; disconnect. Allow your heart to tell you where to go next.

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