Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Body As Guide

For those of you following the blog, and anyone interested in having a place to connect with this idea of a better relationship with your body, go to the newly created Facebook page, 'Anna Stookey's Befriend Your Body' and click on 'like.' I'll be posting thoughts and comments there and welcome yours!

I'm continuing to evolve and think about this message and what step to take next in my work with the body. As I listen more deeply, I'm aware of how much action we can take in our lives without really being connected to it: we do the things we think we're supposed to do to accomplish the things we think are good to accomplish. There's always a next thing to be done.

But if we check in with our bodies, they'll tell us almost instantly if we're coming from a true, connected place that's rooted in who we really are or if we're just spinning our wheels. How do they tell us the difference? Here are a few thoughts. When you're faced with a to-do list or a decision to make about what to do next, try on these tools and see if they help.

1) The 'yes' test. Often we're dragging our bodies along with us to accomplish the missions of life. But if we're not aligned with and 'embodying' what we're doing, we're often less efficient and connected to to the task at hand. One way to 'test' whether or not we want to be moving in the direction we're moving is to check in with our bodies. Standing straight up and down, ask your body a yes-or-no question you have strong 'ye's to and notice if it leans forward at all to answer your question. Similarly, ask your body a question you have a strong 'no' to, and notice if it leans backwards in response. Often our bodies will betray our true feelings about something through their movement and positioning.

Now that you've seen how it works, ask your body a question you're not sure you know the answer to: 'Should I leave my job?' or 'Should I stay in this relationship?' Notice how your body responds: whether it enthusiastically rocks forward or leans back. How do you feel when you receive that information? Is it accurate? Is it what you've 'known' on some level but haven't wanted to hear with your conscious mind? Consider what might happen if you took your body's perspective into account.

2) Following tension. Sometimes our bodies are trying to speak to us but we're not listening. Throughout your day if you notice tension, tightness or any other physical response in your body, practice breathing into it and asking it if there's anything you could be doing differently, or anything that sensation is trying to say. The results may surprise you. You may get an image of a different behavior or have feelings arise around something that's going on in your life. Stay open to what you receive and see if you can translate it in some meaningful way into your life.

Our bodies' sensations may also simply be reminders to slow down, tune in and take a moment to center. Once we do that, they may go away. Sometimes bringing consciousness into the moment effects change without our having to get more information.

3)What makes you 'sick?' Beyond tension, you may get a feeling of nausea or stomach upset when you think about certain situations or choices. If that's the case, see if you can dig deeper and find out what the body is trying to tell you. Do you need to stand up for yourself? Let yourself leave something that's no longer working? There can literally be a feeling sometimes of 'not wanting to digest' what doesn't feel good or right. By paying attention to the cues your body gives you, you may be able to make choices that are in your best interests before things come to a head.

Our bodies are miraculous partners in the evolution of our consciousness and our lives. Learning to listen to them and partner with them, especially to help us get information we may be avoiding with our conscious minds, is life-changing. Practice going to your body in the midst of turmoil and choices and see what it has to say. It may just have needed to know you were listening!

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