A couple of years ago I did a NIA* Blue Belt Training in Portland, Oregon – which was an incredibly moving (no pun intended :-) and “applicable to everything in life” experience.

The week long training opened up with 4 Allies for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth – and one of the most interesting ones was “Don’t Assume Anything.”

This statement invites us to be silent in our mind and eliminate any stories we create in our heads about people, situations or conversations. To be like a fascinated child, curious about a person, or what is being said, without making assumptions or “making up” who you think the person is, or what is being said. We were asked to “practice” this and the other 3 Allies throughout the training.

Not easy. I was AMAZED at how many stories I could create in my head about people, situations and conversations and conversely, when I waited, listened, and observed – I would come to a much different, and usually more loving and constructive, conclusion.

What I learned: When in doubt, or when you have a STRONG reaction to anything, observe and listen longer than you would normally, ask questions and gather information rather than telling yourself stories. Keep inner dialogue to a minimum.

The results: It improved my relationship with everything – people around me, myself and even to learning. I stopped finishing people’s sentences (by listening and not assuming anything, I would actually realize that is NOT what they meant). I had more compassion for people as I learned about them before “neatly putting them in a box”. I was more compassionate with myself as I listened and waited to see what my initial reactions (physical or emotional) to situations were all about.

Now this can be heavy stuff, and I am SUCH a huge proponent of learning with fun, emotion and laughter. So, watch this wonderfully moving YouTube video. Notice if you have any “assumptions” come up when you first start watching it. Then empty your mind by telling yourself “Don’t Assume Anything.” That’s when the magic happens :-)

Action Step: “Don’t Assume Anything” this week with people, conversations or situations. Listen, watch, wait…notice what different conclusions you can come to simply by not making up stories in your head before learning more.

*NIA is an absolutely beautiful mind-body-spirit movement practice that combines the dance, martial and healing arts. Similar to martial arts, NIA has belt levels and the Blue Belt is the 3rd level. The Blue Belt focuses on Relationships, Intimacy and Communication and how it relates to teaching, dance, music, ourselves and others. I have been teaching NIA since 2001 and weave it into my Zumba classes as well as it is an incredibly transformational movement practice – and so great for your body and soul! For more information and classes in your area: www.nianow.com. You can also check out where my next Soul Fit Dance class is here.

Be Happy… Be Vibrant….


Carmen xo

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