How are you?
How many times are you asked that question? How many times do you answer authentically?
Years ago, when I was still working in a corporate environment, I started an experiment.
I started answering that casually asked question honestly every time I was asked. Even in the elevator or walking in past the coffee machine in the morning. Any response ranging from, “I’m actually feeling amazing today, thanks,” to “I’m exhausted,” or “not so great, really.”
Sometimes the response on the other side was confusion, or hesitancy and, more often than not, it’s met with an authentic exchange. I let people know about the experiment which usually put them at ease.
This is a practice I have continued and it’s now so embedded I now forget to hide how I really am from others.
Last week I went out for one of the first times since the dawn of COVID. I had my new mask and was in a place following all of the proper protocols and still I could feel my entire nervous system stress. When I got to the checkout the friendly man behind the counter asked, “how are you today?”
“Stressed,” I responded without thinking.
His heart opened to receive that answer and he said, “yes, it’s stressful, isn’t it?”
This helped me take a deep breath and find some relief.
We chatted back and forth a bit and, as he handed me the receipt, he said, “let me tell you what I tell my kids every night before bed. Tomorrow the sun will come up again.”
I felt my heart well up with tears of gratitude and let them flood my eyes as I thanked him. Reminded and awed in the beauty that can come when we are able to be with what is.
Last week I subbed a yoga class that was recorded. I didn’t realize it was being recorded and it led me down a similar path of acceptance and love, by offering a window into my heart and Self that I had never let myself see before. A window for me to witness the path of authenticity we have been co-creating together through practice. I wrote a bit about it here if you’d like to read more in case it might resonate with you.
Let’s try again: how are you?
Take a moment and feel into your heart. Notice the sensations there.
Scan your body and feel into the places that bring you discomfort and those that bring you pleasure.
Without judgment, check in and see what is present for you right now. Whatever it may be.
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