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Blossom Your Awesome Podcast Episode #24 - Loving Awareness With Susan Partnow

by Sue Dhillon
December 1st 2021

Blossom Your Awesome Podcast Episode #24 - back on the show we have Susan Partnow. 

Susan is a beacon of light and has been leading people to more loving connections for decades. 


Hello and welcome to the blossom, you're awesome podcast, episode number 24 today back on the show, the one and only Susan part now I am so honored and delighted to have her hair sharing with us, her wisdom love and light Susan part now is a facilitator for the compassionate listening project and she has been doing this work all over the world and we are going to go deeper with the power of loving awareness and compassionate listening Susan, thank you so much for being here, Welcome to the show. I'm delighted, thanks for inviting me so glad it's proving helpful to some of your audience. It really is, it has been one of the most popular episodes and I am just so excited to go deeper with you on this today.

What I was gonna suggest is we just kind of um do a little rehash of letting them know, helping them kind of understand compassionate listening again, what that looks like. Sure, well just hearing the words can start to in fact invite and soften your heart the whole idea of compassion and listening, it's something we all yearn so deeply for and don't get a whole lot of and so at least can we learn to offer it experience it and then we can start to invite others to please give it to me. So the idea is to listen with compassion and the word compassion is to feel with but to feel so deeply that you are moved to action. So I'm really feeling your experience and our inter we like the term inter being, it's a term that technology on the wonderful buddhist teacher who is a teacher of our mentor Gene Newsom Hoffman.

So when I really experience that I am you and you are me and we have this interconnectedness, compassion flows naturally. So we have our core practices which is to first cultivate compassion and that's through gratitude and that's such a core way to begin every day. So even right now, wherever you are, take a moment to look at a window, see the sky, the trees, if you can see any and just feel the wonder and amazement of this planet, feel gratitude for whatever you can think of and imagine at this moment including yourself and maybe later we'll do a little self compassion. So once my heart is kind of softened in that way, then I'm ready for our second practice which is to we call it, develop the fair witness, which means I'm willing to notice oh I am here, I am noticing me, I'm noticing the situation.

I have a little space between me and what's happening, I'm going to go up to the roof and look down at the street of drama of life and realize oh there is Susan getting all triggered by whatever again, but I'm not in it. So it's giving that mindfulness and um that helps me be aware of my triggers, that's a really important part of our work when things upset us and set us off which is happening all the time these days we opened social media, we turn on the tv. We see people walking down the street. So many things that activate us or we could call it trigger us. And I want to become an expert on that. So that's a really important part of our practice to study and notice the earliest warning signs and unpack what is activating me and what of it is mine. Because then I'm ready for the third of our five core practices which is to respect self and others.

So what what do I need and value? What is in my heart right now and what might be in yours. And I want to have not necessarily a boundary between us but to maintain a healthy membrane. So I'm going to welcome what works for me but not what doesn't. And I'm going to notice that you have your needs and situation and values and expectations. So I'm going to respect you as well as me. Not get pulled into the drama triangle of seeing anyone of us as a victim or a perpetrator, nobody needs rescuing. So that's an important part of our respecting self and others. Then I'm ready to listen and to listen, not just from my head but from my heart and not just to your head and story in words, but imagining and feeling with you, your heart, your values and also being aware of my own.

I am going to speak my truth. I'm going to speak from my heart with an intention of connection, healing respect? So those are our five core practices, wow now, you know so much just and that was so beautiful and so substantive now kind of breaking this down a little, getting into some of this, talk to me about the triggers and I know this is so huge, I want to kind of just jump right into this. Some practical tips for how do we learn? Yeah. You know, we might know that I know I have triggers, we all have triggers but how do we learn to really kind of grab them before they become activated? Such an important question, such an important practice. And we do call these practices because it's something you can do and practice, but it means you have got to practice.

So I think with you know, and I love the word triggers but I I apologize to anyone listening who finds that word in fact extremely activating and there's a lot of debate in our communities should we use that word, But for now we will use it with that caveat I and so I it's a very physical experience, it's so we need to be embodied and aware of what's going on in our own physiology and there there's so much we are learning in our world today, in the world of neurobiology and somatic practices and those are important. So even right now, just take a moment, take a breath and check in with your physical being, what is the state of your nervous system? Are you feeling present? Are you feeling in your body? You can feel the feet on the floor. So I need throughout my day to be centered and grounded in that way.

And the more that becomes the natural place to be, the more you'll then notice when you're off that center, I love the word Equanimity, I just love saying it and I want to be a quantum a sauce. So that means resting in peace in this place of evenness. So I can observe and notice things that I don't like, but I don't get thrown off my center. So that's a practice and you know, doing meditation or prayer or whatever your personal practices that is key. So I have my set point, my normal place to be a calm place. That takes a lot of work. Then I need to notice when I start to be pulled off of that. So I must say after I've been teaching this for maybe 25 years and so I can testify, It really works. I start to really now notice, wow my whole, I can feel when I'm activated and that's like my I can feel myself spinning when I'm off my center.

And so that's a call to me if I notice that like wow, let me just pause, let me check in what's going on how much of it is what my mind is racing and saying in the story that I'm making up, so that's that bear witness and I want to calm myself and come back to softening and opening my heart to myself and the other. So it's very much a physical awareness that is the starting point. It did. Yes, yes, and I can see how that, you know with practice, obviously we just grow to have greater awareness around what is going on inside and all around us. Yeah, as I say, if we can catch the earliest warning signs and nip it in the bud, it's so much easier because then I'll catch it before I you know react and say something that's gonna make things get worse. And yet I also know we all including myself forget and sometimes we do get triggered and we act out of that so it's never too late to notice it could be in the middle of a heated thing, I remember this one time getting into a really intense conversation about Israel Palestine with my my brother in law and nephew and and all of a sudden I just felt like it was like wow, we were like just monsters, I couldn't see my humanity or there's and I it scared me and I said stop, let's stop, let's take a breath, this is not going how I wanted to, so I realized I was in such a triggered state and so were they, I didn't know what to do, but I could at least notice it and say let's stop and and then I could turn it to how much I loved and cared for them and how you know, I know we have differences and so I could restore myself and them.

So I think we want to practice as much to catch it early, but it's never too late now. You know that story you just shared speaks volumes to work you've been doing and where you are because you know, for some of us, when we get to that place, it really there is no turn around. So that is just so beautiful now, you know, in relation to conflict, I have a question here for you because it how do we people when you're mad at somebody, you're just so peed off and you're holding a grudge, you're mad, you're hurt, you're angry, you're resentful grudge fel all of that. How do we find how do we overcome those feelings and tap into compassion? Yeah, well, it's it's definitely not easy. So, it starts with having compassion for yourself. So, I am frankly in the middle of such a situation right now because right in my little nuclear family, the whole issue tearing our nation apart right now has shown its raw rawness and and heat.

The whole issue of back to vaccinate or not. And and it's so emotional. So I am really activated and the important thing is for me to notice that and then to realize, oh and I could sit here and stew in my anger and judgment and so I can I have to notice. So again it's that awareness. I have to journal about my triggers like you know, I need to get it out. It's okay that I feel that it's not okay if I act on it and call my daughters in laws and yell at them, that would not be helpful. But I'm not ready to talk to them until I can come from a calmer place. So again, I think it's awareness being kind to yourself. Like okay Susan, I can say to myself, no wonder you are anxious and concerned for well being. And this is a really hard thing and look at how it is in our nation. So cultivate compassion for myself. So for yourself is the first place and to allow it, it's not like we shouldn't have these feelings are part of us but we also don't need to keep feeding them.

So I think be curious and notice and listen to your own thoughts and feelings and then make a decision. Is this helpful? What would I like? So in the in my case that's realizing, well I need we need peace in our family. Uh we we were able to set the boundary. They made their choice, They canceled their trip because they couldn't meet our needs and it's really sad and now I can let go of my anger and I'm not there quite yet, but I'm trying to once again cultivate even just imagine, so I guess this is the stage I'm at can I imagine once again feeling compassion for my son in law's family, you know, who hurt me and me and my daughter, it's not me, they're hurting my daughter, that really gets me. Can I imagine forgiveness and softening? So I'm not there yet? But oh I'm starting to realize, I could imagine it and then to realize and who is that for who is suffering right now?

You know, it makes me sick and lose sleep if I keep feeding these hurt angry feelings. So then it becomes a choice and then I know what to do if I want to make that choice. So I'll start to work on cultivating that compassion, Does that make sense? That does make sense. And you know, that brings me to another question now with people who struggle with that cultivating compassion you, you know, you as an expert in this and a facilitator and showing people this more powerful way. You know, this seems like it's a really a very personally emotional thing for you and it is obviously because it's your Children here that's taken you a moment to get to that point where you know, you have that time of being upset and hurt and whatever and then you arrive at that place of Yes, I I do need to cultivate the compassion and I can do it.

So how do we like what brings us there? Right? How do we in a very visceral way for those of us that are not experts are not facilitators, we don't do this work. Well, I think you don't need to be any kind of expert to know. It's a matter of choice. It really is a choice. What do you want and to notice what is the impact that it has on you and your relationships? So there's no sugar is really, it is a matter of choice for me. It's a it's a spiritual path that I have chosen to be on, that I that I want my life to be all about creating and generating love a space for love that's that is my mission in life. So it's a choice. And I don't expect everyone else to choose that maybe they want peace. We all want to be happy, right?

And we know it is very hard to be happy when you're filled with anger and rage. So, I think noticing how how does it affect you? Is that what you want? What do you need to do differently? So you don't have to become a saint. We do have these feelings. There's a lot to be enraged is very healthy. There's so much things, so many things to be authentically enraged about, but I don't want to be consumed by my rage. So again I want I wanna be I wanna see yes there is rage about these things but I don't in this moment need to physiologically feel it that is not good for me and my body and it doesn't help lead to powerful action which I do engage in. So I think it's uh it takes a lot of self awareness and then choosing what is your intention, what is it you want and that will lead you to a path and a choice and the hard work of getting along that path wow!

Um now what about leading us giving us some practical tools here or like a visualization you and I had kind of not briefly for Yeah, yeah, because I think all of this has to begin with self compassion as I said because I could imagine many listeners are saying yeah, but you don't know my brother in law and I don't and I am sure he is really a case, you know, So I'm not saying oh all of a sudden see that person as an angel, but what would you like? How do you want to be in relation do you want to? And sometimes we want to not be and just say, nope, I have to end it and that's okay. But you always at least need to begin and end with self compassion because it's really hard being a human being. So let's start there and I'll just if you're listening to this, if you're in a car driving, it's not really do not close your eyes and maybe save this part for later.

But if you are in a place where you could actually join us uh and I hope we don't hear too much from my dogs down there. Um yeah, just take a moment to settle in and I'll talk you through a short little self care, self compassion, uh meditation for visualization. So just settle in and feel the chair or couch whatever it is that's supporting you and start to follow your breath, feel the coolness of the air as you breathe in and maybe follow it with your mind to the loans. How amazing inhalation since that first breath you took when you were born, this rhythm of breathing in and breathing out has carried you through the days of your life. What a wonder! And you know that oxygen you breathe in is pumped by your heart through every cell in your body.

What a miracle! The heart that has been beating for you since before you were born, wow! Hell some awe and wonder and gratitude for the brilliance and reliance of your body. Give a little gratitude and attention to your feet which have carried you so far in life taken you. If you're blessed to be able to walk. They've taken you where you can go and your hands hands that create things and cook and draw and write and caress. What an amazing wonder. Bring your hands to your heart for a moment and feel this sense of awe and wonder and gratitude running through the veins running through your whole body and call to mind a moment of deep wonder and appreciation of some special magical moment.

Maybe it was a rainbow or your puppy dog looking at you beautiful tree meal with gratitude running through your body and now picture yourself at your center. Imagine yourself as a sweet little child three or four years old, so precious. An innocent. Imagine holding yourself tenderly and call to yourself dear one, whatever the pet name you might have for yourself. For me it's Susanna or Susie Amita. You you mean so well give yourself some care and loving compassion, keeping these feelings of care and compassion when you're ready in case your eyes have been closed, Wiggle your fingers and toes and when you're ready open your eyes, how was that?

That was beautiful. That was really I wasn't ready to open my eyes, but I didn't want to keep everyone waiting. So yeah, I would usually give a little longer. But you know, yeah, silence on a podcast can be a problem, right? And of course I had, I wanted to exercise compassion for everyone. So, um that was beautiful. I think it's um thank you for that. It's so powerful and we don't do that enough. No, and we can you can do that for yourself just even with just a few breaths in and out putting a hand on your heart. Giving it so give yourself that tenderness. And when we soften our heart to ourselves we can soften it to others. We have to start with that self compassion. Can you feel the shift in your physiology and your nervous system that we talked about at the beginning of our time?

I yeah. Yeah it's it's measurable. It's help a ble and it is a practice to get that kind of regulation that the more we practice the more deeply we can reach that place of being centered and softening our hearts to ourselves and then to each other wow. And now you know question for you now um was it inner being inter being or inner being? Inter inter being is a term that tick not han uses for how all of life is a oneness. We are literally Children of stardust right? Our D. N. A. Is shared with all other life. Even a tree as well of course is our closest relations of apes and monkeys. But even a tree and I and you share so much of the substance of life.

So we are all inter beings. What happens to me happens to you? What happens to us happens to our environment? We're all connected. So when we are aware of that then our compassion can flow and and reach out to each other and all of life. And then what about some practical tips on being able to kind of get more in touch with that part of ourselves that allows us to feel more connected. Yeah, I think nature being out in nature, I think the japanese call it forest bathing, can you get out into nature and feel that oneness. I think it's the most healing for all of us. Um and then I also wanted to leave folks with a simple little practice that you can do with each other because as humans, we're such social beings and we need we long to be heard and hopefully we learn to offer listening to one another.

So I was going to just suggest a simple little practice people could try with with someone in their life, a close friend, your partner, a relative, a neighbor, whoever someone that you want to develop a little more connection with. So you have a fabulous tool, believe it or not for a great conversation and that is the timer on your phone. So let's say Sue, you and I are friends and we want to have a connection and I could say, hey Sue would I would, I'm learning about compassionate listening and I would love to have a little connection with you. Would you be willing to take about 10 minutes together and share some speaking and listening And so hopefully you'd say yes and I'd say, okay, so I'm gonna just set our timer. So we each have the same amount of time is five minutes good, you know, and it could be three minutes, it could be 10 minutes, but let's say we say five and I said, okay, so I'm gonna set my timer for five minutes and first I'm going to just listen to you and I just want you to speak from your heart about whatever is alive for you.

Whatever is challenging for you right now and you don't have to worry about me. You don't have to be interesting. I am here. I am going to listen deeply from my heart to your heart and I'm going to listen, not just to the words you say, but underneath to what it really means to you. And I won't say anything, but I'll just be here listening so deeply. Does that sound like a good plan? I love that, I love that. Yeah. So then I would just listen to you for five minutes being fully present and if you can see me, I'm not nodding or shaking my head because I'm not verbally nonverbally communicating either, although I'm not it's not like I'm stiff, I'm just receiving witnessing but not saying that's a good idea or not or I know just how you feel. No, just being present for you. It is so incredible and transformative and rich and five minutes is amazing.

Rich amount of time and then when the, you know, clock goes off, just take a moment to breathe. You could maybe offer an appreciation. Like I was so touched by what I heard. Thank you for trusting me with that my heart's with you. You know not don't go into analysis, no problem solving, no fixing, no brainstorming. Just appreciating receiving. And then, okay, let's, let's switch roles. And so now I'm going to speak from my heart and you'll offer that beautiful, spacious listening to me and that's the simplest form and you know, there's, there's more of course that that can happen. But that's a beautiful way. And so many relationships. I've known parents do this with their kids and it just changes everything. It equalizes the power. Especially like if it's an adult and a child like you both get five minutes and it's equal.

So I hope people will experiment with that and maybe they'll write to you um what their experiences are and you'll share them with me. Mm mm mm mm. Mm I will. Absolutely. I love that. That was so powerful. And now in closing. Um you know, thank you again for just all of these really actionable tips and things that people can start doing right now do better with those around them. We need it so much in our polarized world. Mm hmm Now I'm gonna have you leave us with, you know what is your hope for us all and uh, you know, anything else, Any other wisdom insights you would like to share. Well I feel hopeful just knowing there are people who have chosen to listen to this because they do want to receive an offer compassionate listening And as I said, it's a choice and I offer all of you blessings and support and encouragement. We don't get it modeled very much out there, but it's so needed.

So be patient, be kind to yourself, be kind to each other and that will just spread and generate more. And that will make me very hopeful indeed, awesome. That was amazing. Thank you so much. You're ah you're such a light and um oh my God just embodies so much power and wisdom for us. Thank you. Thank you so much. So for for hosting this podcast, Thank you. Mm hmm, mm hmm. Okay.

Blossom Your Awesome Podcast Episode #24 - Loving Awareness With Susan Partnow
Blossom Your Awesome Podcast Episode #24 - Loving Awareness With Susan Partnow
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