In my last post from the Monday Mantra series Speak Your Truth I was talking about the importance of learning how to address your concerns and desires in a way that opens the space for truthful, yet kind conversations.
Especially if your personality is such that you find it hard to speak for yourself or to take the lead in important conversations, you may have experienced this: by the time you actually manage to address something, you have brooded over it since a while and hence the outcome is rather eruptive and anything but kind or gentle.
As a matter of fact, I even used to get upset with the people around me because I would blame them for bringing me in a situation where something needed to be addressed – like they should really have been more considerate in the first place, or something. I projected the discomfort I had with confrontations right onto them instead of trying to figure out where it came from and how I could outgrow it.
Then I experienced one magic moment during my yoga teacher training in the Ashram that changed everything.
My time at the Ashram was a very transformative one in many ways. The structured rythm of life, the intensity of our daily schedules that would not leave much time for brain wrecking thoughts and the all encompassing serenity and calmness installed a sensitivity and peacefulness in me that I had never experienced before.
But not even in the Ashram life was all harmony. I had a tent neighbor who considered herself an Ashram local since she spent many months each year living on the premises. She was not an easy person and often breached the Ashram rules of conduct, inflicting on my and other peoples` privacy and personal space. One day, she definitely went too far when she opened the hatch of my tent unannounced, interrupting one of the rare phonetalks with my boyfriend, and asking me to stop the conversation as it was bothering her in her nap time. By the time she left the tent again I was furious!
However, I managed to contain myself and decided to wait until my rage had cooled off before I would go and talk to her. When I saw her later that night at the evening Satsang, my mind was playing a tug of war between knowing I needed to say something to change the outlay of our relationship and wanting to let the whole story slip. Then, I mustered all my courage and went up to her. Miraculously I managed to stay calm and friendly, telling her how her behavious had made me feel bad earlier that day and that I wished we would not come across these stituations anymore in the future. The result was overwhelming. Not only did she apologize, she also changed her ways with me 100% from that day onwards, being super respectful and sweet. She even left flowers at my tent door one day!
I could not believe what a difference it made to stay gentle and calm in a conversation!
We have all heard it many times before but to experience that it actually worked was a game changer for me. Today, when I find myself in a challenging situation with someone and I am lacking the courage to speak my truth, I remember this situation and take comfort in knowing what a wonderful outcome it had – for both of us.