Sunday, June 05, 2011

Actions Actually DO Speak Louder Than Words

...which feels ironic to write in words...

I'm not dumb. I know there's an inherent conflict in even writing about how I have experienced, more and more, that statement to be true, that age-old adage:
Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

I just can't get over how true it is, perhaps because I listen to, write, and share so many words every day, all the time. Reading books, articles, blogs; writing manuscripts, poems, essays, emails; listening to raw writings, soulful conversations and even the radio. I often say my classes are so that we know that not everything arises in finished form - that a good, solid start from the heart is necessary for clear writing, but of course when all we read is finished product, we think all the fineries - great editing, structural reconsiderations, etc, should come, too, in the first draft. I say a lot of smart and insightful things, and I even believe some of them, truly, deeply. Words are awfully sexy and wise.

Life itself - not just writing - should be perfect the first time around, the little but loud voices say in my head. And when they speak, I listen and act accordingly.

When I want to know what I believe lately, not what is necessarily true or essentially true, but what I actually believe, I look at my actions.

For instance -

I love yoga. I know it helps me connect with my body, I know it helps my back, and I've even found it seems to align me with my basic sanity, and send a crucial irrefutable message to my mind that I am a competent adult who can swim through depression, anxiety and stress.

So you'd think I do it at least once every day if not more, right? I am no fool - I know that others struggle with this, too. But I want to own, to show, to be clear that if I pay attention to my words - WHEN I DO PAY ATTENTION ONLY TO MY WORDS - I think that I am all set. Done. Case closed. Only for some reason, for many reasons, none of which are actually true but all seem really solid, I don't do it. For days on end, I will consider doing it, thinking either happy or guilty thoughts about it, then finally do it.

What does that action tell me?
It tells me that I believe something far different than my experience tells my consciousness, and that I believe my words, my old beliefs, based in fear and defense, more than I believe my actions. And those words MAKE actions if they are what I believe in - actions that make it clear to me, are louder in fact, than the actions that stem from action.

So I am working on overriding this system.
I began Marianne Elliot's 30-day-yoga program on June 1st. I had high hopes - this could finally structure me, sit me down, "make" me do it so I could hardwire, override my old tendencies and create new habits that I could actually believe, hear over the din of words.

It sort of has.

There has definitely been a lot of synchronicity lately for yoga, and that sets the stage. I taught a Yoga and Writing retreat again - our fifth - with Ali Dwyer, took a wonderful course with Ali's Teacher Kari Tomashik, and set up my own commitment to a home course with videos by Rodney Yee.

All helped. All were not perfect. I wanted perfect, though of course I didn't tell myself that I believed that. "I'll be gentle," I promised myself. Then I wasn't - didn't do it, beat myself up. Even when I picked up on her very simple grounding breathing exercise and started using it during the days I wasn't doing yoga, it still wasn't "enough" - I got angry that she wasn't pushing me enough, and angry at myself. All old beliefs. All things my actions tell me, if I listen, won't get me anywhere.

But is it true that an override is happening. Every time I choose to breathe and lessen panic, every time I choose yoga - even if only a couple of times a week - over more time on Facebook, I speak a message back to myself through my body, through my actions, and it IS louder than words and eventually, slowly but surely, my inner child and core self get that message. It is covering the messages of lack of self-worth, covering the cowering and disconnection.

It is not perfection. I would not want perfection - that is easier to say than believe. But my body is starting to get the message and is sending it back to me in a clear-cut irrefutable feedback loop.

As the woman who trained me to teach writing practice used to say "Practice makes practice, not perfect." Finally, my actions are slowly learning what she was saying in words.

1 comment:

  1. Practice makes practice.

    I often say I'm a practicing yogi and a practicing Buddhist, and that it takes a lot of practice.

    Going easy, as it turns out, is a lot harder than it looks. It takes a lot of practice too.