by Meredith Breeden

Communication has been difficult and painful for me. I have felt that whatever I said was wrong, inappropriate, and unwelcome. Even if the reaction to my words was positive, I felt ashamed. At Tayu, I was given a couple of exercises. One of the effects of these exercises has been to transform these feelings.

The first exercise is self-observation. As a scientistís daughter, it has been natural and acceptable to gather information. It made sense to try and clearly understand who I am. At first, I didnít know if I was self-observing or not. I didnít feel like I was, yet my teachers told me differently. My life was feeling better, and the only new thing I was doing was self-observation, so I persevered. Now I am beginning to recognize myself.

The other exercise is putting full attention on others. This also made sense to me. In order to interact well with others, it is helpful to be aware of them. When I began, I forgot to do it all the time. Also, I was scared to do it because I didnít know what I would find; maybe monsters or something. What I am finding are people. I donít have to guess anymore about them because Iím paying attention. People are great for provoking opportunities for self-observation, too.

What has made these exercises into practices has been the wordless examples of my teachers. Their efforts to communicate these things have been persistent, creative, and caring.