In the Jewish tradition, we are in the month of Elul (Aug. 20-Sept. 18, 2020), a word that derives from an Akkadian noun meaning "harvest." Elul’s letters stand for ani l’dodi v’dodi li – I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Known in the tradition as a time when "the Queen is in the field," this month begins the time of "Teshuvah," which is a word that means return. During this time, we are called to examine our ways, our lives, our world, and our relationships. It is the time to harvest the useful part of the plant and lay fallow the parts that no longer serve. Ultimately, this is the time when we return to our relationship with Self and with Source.
During this sacred time of reflection, we listen deeply to our inner voice, the deep place of knowing. In this steadying and remembering (coming back to self), we gather strength so that we may in turn use this voice to better serve our world.
Here's an exercise for deep listening. May it serve you to hear your heart's voice. Enjoy.
If possible, stand on the ground outside with bare feet
Close your eyes if that is comfortable (if you feel unsteady, you may of course be seated)
Place a hand on your heart and a hand on your belly
After each exhalation, pause for a moment before your next inhalation (note: never hold your breath to the point of discomfort)
Feel the space that is opened and perhaps the quiet that is revealed
After a few breaths (8-10 or longer), move your hands so that one is now covering your eyes. Your other hand remains at your heart (or you may switch hands)
After each inhalation, pause for a moment before your next exhalation (again, never hold your breath to the point of discomfort)
Notice if that quiet and opening feels different and if so, how?
Lastly, move your hands so that the one that was covering your eyes is now on the top of your head. Keep your other hand at your heart or move it back to your belly.
With each exhalation, make an audible sound, whatever naturally emerges.
At the end of the sound, pause before your next inhalation
Notice if your space has shifted with the sound of your own voice. If so, how?