Deep Stretch: Communing

This month's Deep Stretch episode highlights themes of communing, community, and communication. If you're not familiar, our Deep Stretch episodes give Taylor an opportunity to share a more in depth look at what self-care and the inner work is looking like in her life as well as Inner Workout.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to another episode of Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. My name is Taylor Elyse Morrison creator of Inner Workout, and you are normally our expert guests but it's the end of the month so it's a deep stretch episode. If this is your first deep stretch, these episodes are a little bit different. It's like we are sitting across from each other, having a cup of tea, and I'm telling you what self-care and inner work is looking like for me lately. So let's go ahead and get into it. This episode is titled Communing. And no, I'm not starting a cult, I'm not expecting you to come live on a commune with me. I chose this title, and actually being honest, I'm actually re-recording this episode because I realized that the first episode I recorded was still only hitting the surface, and I wanted to take it a little bit deeper so I chose communing because these themes in the areas of communication and community and communing keep coming up for me. It's like they just keep popping up around the corner in different areas of my life. And those words, communication, community communing, they all have the same roots in Latin. 

They all have something to do with sharing with giving and receiving. And I wanted to take some time to explore these concepts with you today, talk about how they're showing up for me, but also talk about how they're showing up for Inner Workout too. I'm in the midst of a period where there's a lot of this sharing happening, a lot of communication, a lot of relying on community, a lot of wanting to commune with other people. I'm in the midst of the biggest communication of my life. As of recording, my book is due, my manuscript is due in one week from today. This is easily, like the biggest, most permanent communication I've ever created, that has required me to lean on community, that has required me to really be communing with people to share the deep, hard parts, whether they ended up on the page, or they're what I'm talking about with people off of the page, as I'm processing and preparing to share this with the world. There's also another element of sharing that's happening. We are in the midst of doing Inner Workout’s annual survey (it will have closed by the time you're hearing this episode) and that is such a deep, both communication and communal activity. The first thing that I want to say is, as I'm reading and going through their responses, I can't help but be so grateful for the things that people share. 

And even when they're answering the question like “Inner Workout could be even better if…”, here's how you could do better, the way that people raise things with so much intention and so much grace just makes me incredibly grateful that my job, my work right now is to be in community with all of you all. And also, when you're doing a survey, you get some communications like I said about where you could do better, where something wasn't clear. And so I want to take some time to one, talk about some things that I've noticed in my own life about communication and community and communing. But then also do some communication about Inner Workout and just be as clear as possible. Because like Brene Brown says “clear is kind, unclear is unkind” and I want to be as kind to this community as possible.

So as I was preparing for this episode, and even more so now that this is the second time around, I just noticed some beliefs that I have around these words, around community, around receiving, around sharing. And I wonder if any of these are familiar, if they are DM Inner Workout, DM me, I'd love to know. But I picked up some beliefs that have showed up in my relationships, that have showed up in how I run the business…that asking questions means that you're not smart.

So if I ask a question, I'm showing that I'm vulnerable and the good people, the smart people know everything, which is antithetical to what the top leadership experts will tell you. But that's a belief that I still sometimes fall into, something that I noticed surfacing for me. Another belief that came up for me is that repeating yourself makes you annoying, or it means that you failed the first time, which just isn't true. I think I have my own kind of childhood, little trauma around this, as someone who tends to speak pretty quietly in person. When ever people would ask me to repeat myself, I would just want to give up because I was like, I'm just too quiet. No one's ever going to hear what I had to say. And then that, over time, translated into email communications, or communicating about the business or communicating in my relationship with my partner, when the opposite is true. Like when I'm on the receiving end of a reminder that is done from a place of really wanting to help, I'm grateful for it. That thing probably did get lost in my inbox two weeks ago when you sent it, and I appreciate the kind nudge. Or when a company says something on Instagram, another time, I'm like, oh, yeah, I did mean to read that article, I was gonna sign up for that thing. And then I got distracted, because I saw a video of a cute dog. 

So even as I'm sharing these beliefs, rationally, I can see how they're not exactly true. And yet, they are things that I actively have to push up against. I've dealt with the belief that people don't want to hear from me. People don't want to hear from me from this podcast, even though I can see that there are people listening. People don't want to hear from me when I share my thoughts on the internet, or won't want to hear from me when I write my book. And that’s…that's hard. But it's not just those big business things, it's talking to my friends, and being like, they don't care that I'm going through this problem. I'm just gonna keep it to myself, I'm not going to share it, they don't want to hear from me, they have enough going on. This just happened to me literally yesterday. I'm dealing with something personal, I don't feel comfortable sharing it publicly yet and I hadn't even told my closest friends about it. 

And yesterday, I finally decided like this is freaking me out this much, should share it with them. And they totally came through and supported me. But I had to battle that voice that felt like these people didn't want to hear from me. Another one, and this is especially for people who are marginalized. For me, I feel this as a black woman, if I'm assertive, if I say what I want and what I need, I will be labeled as aggressive. And unfortunately, in some instances this is true - it shouldn't be. And also, I, at least where I am right now, I have a little bit more leeway to push back against things to clearly state things because I do work for myself. I work with other people, but the power dynamics have shifted a little bit. So even when I'm working with people externally, it doesn't feel quite the same. I know that that's a privilege that I have. And there are still places where I don't want to say what I want and what I need. Again, because of that fear of they're going to discount me and say that I am being aggressive or I'm complaining too much. 

Another theme belief that I've noticed in these areas that we're exploring is, one, that feedback is bad. Obviously, I push past it because I put out this annual survey like we've done for the past few years. If you've been in a workshop with me, I tend to ask for feedback. Sometimes I send a follow up email asking for feedback. And what really shifted this for me and what I returned to when I hear that voice, that little Taylor in my head who felt like if I got a critique on an English paper, it meant that I was a terrible person. I come back to this thing that I picked up from Dominique Jordan Turner, who is the founder of a nonprofit here in Chicago called Chicago Scholars and she talks about how feedback is love. When done from a good place, when done with heart. Feedback is love.

And that's how I feel even when there are criticisms or when people are framed in answering how we could do better. The fact that someone cared to really thoughtfully say “here's what I would love to see from Inner Workout. Or when my husband says like, here's what I would like to see in terms of tidying up our house. I really appreciate it, I see it as a gift, as an act of love. But sometimes it takes me a while to get there. My knee jerk is like, oh, this is bad, I am bad. And then I can get to the love part a little bit afterwards. 

And the last pattern or belief that I noticed was this belief that conflict needs to be avoided, which again, I know from experience in organizational development isn't true. There's a whole framework that talks about what it takes to build a cohesive team and it includes storming as a stage in it. Healthy conflict is a part of building connection and cohesion. And it's not something that you need to opt out of, but I can still feel like, oh, I shouldn't say that. I shouldn't rock the boat. If we just pretend everything's okay, then it is

Okay. So why did I share those?

I wanted you to kind of know what has been on my mind, what came up for me in reflection as I thought about my own relationship to these things, to community, to communication, to communicate these things that are interrelated. And it's hard to build community, for example, without communication. Communing is a type of communication where you go really deep, but you normally do in the context of communities, so they're all connected. And I think it could be helpful for you to to take a few moments to do what I did, and think, what are my beliefs around these things? What do I believe about communication and how I'm allowed to communicate? What do I believe about what it means to be in community and what I can and can't share in certain communities. And with communing, like when was the last time I really did that, that I really communed rather than just sharing the surface level?

And what I have noticed both through doing this deep work around the book, and also in sifting through the survey feedback, is that there is so much opportunity for me as the steward, as the leader of Inner Workout, to be better at all of these things with you, to be better at communicating, to be a better community member, to commune with you. And so I just want to take a few minutes at the end of this episode to do that, to talk through some of the things that came up in the survey feedback and some of the things that didn't, and also let you know where we're headed for the next month of Inner Warmup. 

So some of what people just wanted was some context around Inner Workout. So first of all, Inner Workout is a few things. It is this company that runs this podcast, and that sends out the Self-Care Sunday newsletter. It also is a practice. And that's where the company began. This practice that blends movement, breath work, journaling, and meditation. And when Inner Workout was just a practice, and still today, the five dimensions of well being have been the foundation. They are inspired by this yogic concept of the coaches. If you head to the front page of our website, you can see that and you can click through and read about the dimensions and the sub dimensions. But that's really the the core of Inner Workout. 

And what we're here to do is to help you build the skill of self-care, which we talk about as listening within and responding in the most loving way possible. So, not you have to buy this expensive thing, not you have to spend an hour doing a specific type of task. But we want you to be able to listen to what you need, to give that to yourself in the moment. We also help you do the inner work. And the way that we talk about inner work stems from this belief that you already are this dynamic, multi dimensional, incredible human being and the inner work is our process of returning to that because we have things that we have picked up from other folks about who we should be. How we should show up in our inner work is how we return to our fullest expression of who we are.

So that's what we do at Inner Workout. We help you practice self-care and do the inner work. It builds your self-care support system through practices, through products, and through partnerships. So you'll see us especially more this year putting out more experiences, more opportunities to be in relationship with people in real time, and I'm so excited about that. I'm recording this after getting off of a meeting with Pariss, our content lead and we just have some really, really good things in store. So we still have products, they are great, you can still buy them on the website, but yes, there are these other other elements as well that you will begin to see more and more of. And I just mentioned Pariss, another thing that I wanted to highlight is that we are a tiny team, but we are a team. It's not just me. So I created the company, I lead the company. But we also have Pariss, who runs content. If you have ever been on Inner Workout’s Instagram, she for a while now has been the person running the stories, responding to DMS and comments. And now the Instagram is her playground. 

So I was just telling her I love being a little bit surprised in coming on to see what she has posted that day, because she does an incredible job. And if you think so too, send her a note, I'm sure she would appreciate it. 

We also have Diana, who is our Operations Assistant. there are so many behind the scenes, things that happen to make this little company run and Diana helps with a lot of that. So if you reach out to the meeting Inner Workout email, there's a good chance that she will respond and make sure that you're supported and that you are well cared for. 

What else did I want to let y'all know? I guess that as a reminder, we, at the beginning of this podcast talked a lot about our online community. Our online community coming out in the online community. And then we decided, at the end of September, that it was time to like, close it down. It wasn't community in the sense that we really wanted to be creating community. So it's still open. If you want to stick around, you can find the link, but we said hey, we are not going to be actively engaging with this iteration of the community right now. That came up in the survey. So just just letting folks know that that is the case. And letting you know that we have some pretty cool launches coming up. Some may be sooner than you think. 

So. Yeah. If you're missing the community, maybe there's something for you. Maybe there's not, I don't know. You'll have to wait and find out but that is really what I wanted to say, just take an opportunity to be a better community member, be really clear about what's happening. Talk a little bit more about the why behind things. And that's something that I'm committing to doing. And both as an individual and as Inner Workout is that we want to be better at communicating with y’all, and that goes both ways. You can always feel free to communicate with us. You don't have to wait for there to be a survey. 

Now that we are nearing the end of the episode, I just wanted to let you know what you can expect for next month. Next month is Black History month. Next month has Valentine's Day and we really want to talk about community. Yes, talk about community some more. What does it look like for us to give love, to receive love? What keeps us from receiving love? We're going there next month, so get excited for another episode. Thanks for listening. Take care!