Few of us have lost our minds, but most of us have long ago lost our bodies. ~Ken Wilbur
Bodymind Awareness Question
to Consider This Month:
Do you know where your body is?
Last month, I asked you if you were breathing. This month, my question; “Do you know where your body is?” sounds even sillier!
I’m asking this very deliberately and not to be cute or flip. I want to point out a phenomenon that happens to most of us, at least some of the time.
We tend to forget about our bodies.
Our lives are so fast paced; we rush around doing what we are supposed to do, regardless of what our Bodymind is telling us it needs for balance and health. Often we don’t even feel our body at all; it is reduced to a vehicle to carry around our heads!
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Until end of October, offering a 1/2 hour free telephone consultation.
When you are not connected to your body, not only do you lose a rich source of feeling and experience, but you become victim to the tensions and imbalances that collect in your body throughout your day and your life
Have you ever left a tense meeting at work and suddenly discovered that your shoulders had crept up to your ears and you can’t remember the last full breath you took? Your body was “posturing” your mental and emotional state. By tuning in and consciously bringing your body back to a centered, open posture, you will not only help your body, but you will shift your mood…and your day.
I encourage you to make it a priority to tune in to your body throughout the day. Notice how your body is reacting to different situations; what you eat (or don’t), when you are talking to the coffee shop waitress, on a crowded bus, at your desk pushing to finish a project, talking with a friend or partner at the end of the day.
As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter; check your Breath, Tension and Center. Those are good places to start. Also notice the little sensations and the big ones, like the knot in your stomach, the flush of your face, the stiffness in your muscles, the drained feeling all over, the heaviness of your head, the buzzing in your limbs, or the general feeling of disconnection or ungroundedness.
Often just by noticing, your body will begin to find its way back to balance.
To learn more about how to tune in to your body and what to do when you find it...read on.
Getting our bodies back:
Practical tips for reconnecting body and mind
Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body ~James Joyce
Way back in the early 1600s a philosopher and mathematician named Descarte decreed that the mind and the body are separate things and do not affect each other. His was the famous quote: “I think, therefore I am”. This idea greatly influenced the development of modern science, medicine and philosophy. Today we are beginning to challenge this notion of mind-body dualism. But we have a lot of deeply ingrained habits to break.
As a culture, we focus much more on what we think than what we feel. Some of us, though not all of us, are aware of our emotional experiences as we go through our day. Even fewer of us stay in touch with the sensations and needs of our bodies.
If we can learn to make (or re-make) these connections between our mental, emotional and physical experiences, we can take better care of our bodies and use them to shift our moods and even ways of thinking!
Bodymind Health Tip of the Month:
Let your body decide!
In addition to being disconnected from our bodies, when we do pay attention to them, it’s often to judge them and try to improve them. From an early age we are told how to sit, to stay still, to look a certain way, stand up straight, suck in your belly, calm down, ….When was the last time you heard your parent say in public, follow what your body is leading you to do honey…go ahead, move, stretch out on the floor, make noise, fidget, take a break…do what you need to do. We learned to not trust our body; to follow or even hear its expressions of joy, anger, sadness, fear, even contentment.
We disconnect from our bodies for a number of reasons. Some of us have never learned to feel them in the first place. I talk about some of the cultural reasons for this in the other sections of this newsletter.
A common reason we disconnect has to do with our emotions. Every emotion we have has a physical manifestation. The best way to not feel an emotion is to disconnect from the body. We go into “denial” in our psyche, and we go numb in our bodies. There’s a good reason. If we begin to feel our bodies, we will usually begin to feel our emotions more clearly as well. That can be painful. But our body can also help us process and release these difficult feelings. It can help us explore the meaning and message and they can help us resolve it. “What you can feel you can heal” applies to our physical body as well as to our emotions.
Letting your body decide involves having a bit of courage and willingness to feel what’s so, and then to allow yourself to follow your body’s impulse in response to the feeling. If you are tight, stand and stretch, or find a different way to sit. If you are tired, rest (what a simple concept…but who does that!), If you are frustrated, give your frustration some form of expression like a growl or a sigh, or a stomp of your foot. When you are sad, allow tears to flow if they are there. When we bottle our tears in our throat, that lump stays there and causes more tension and suffering over time. Allowing the expression, no matter how subtle, will allow your body to find its way back to balance. Equanimity lives on the other side of the expression.
If you need to get somewhere where you won’t be seen or heard to follow your body; do so! And if you have bottled or disconnected from strong and painful feelings for a long time, it is important to find a therapist who can help you reconnect in a gentle and measured way.
When you follow your body, it will lead you back to yourself...
More to come in future newsletters:
Learn to identify you particular body strategy for managing stress and upset
How to find your “center”, and then find it again!
Listening to the message of your dis-ease