Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Power of Now

natalie is being here nowA friend of mine recently confessed that she's been feeling very out of touch with her body. It's showing up in extra weight, in eating things when she's not really hungry, and in an increasing sense of awkwardness whenever she does anything physical. Sound familiar? The more time that goes by, the harder it is to check in with herself and the less she actually wants to be in her body. Like other relationships that grow distant, when we start to lose touch with our bodies, it's harder to reconnect the longer it goes on.

Why is that? You feel guilty or you've lost the path back. You think there's something you have to do in order to make it all better, some dramatic gesture like getting back into an exercise regimen or making a huge change to your diet. "If I could just start going back to yoga every day..." she lamented. Then every day she doesn't go back to yoga is another day she feels she's done something wrong.

What if we changed that paradigm and said it's not so much about what we do (though that's important too) as it is how we 'be' with our bodies? It hadn't even occurred to her that one way to start connecting with her body was just to communicate the desire to connect, to sit, and to begin to pay attention. We talked about what might happen if, instead of making a list of all the things she thought she needed to do to feel better in her body, she could just listen to it right now and hold an intention to reconnect. No big dramatic changes, no fireworks or Biggest Loser. Just a shift in perception and a willingness to hear.

If you've been feeling at odds with your body and want to reconnect but keep missing the mark, keep not 'doing' the things on your list that would make it all better (supposedly), ask yourself instead how you could 'be' right now in a way that would begin to give you a sense of the connection you really want.

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and with awareness, begin to scan the body for sensations. Notice how the mind wants to get involved, distract, and just come back again to the body, exploring what's there. Notice if there are any feelings, sensations, messages. Notice if your body responds to you at all as you make space for it to be heard, seen and made important.

Sometimes this reset is the most profound for a relationship, not all of the 'things' we think we're supposed to do. One client I worked with had a long list of the classes, smoothies and breathing exercises she was doing to connect with her body and wondered why she still felt dead inside. Something in her wasn't letting in the simplest thing of all: an intention to just 'be' with her body, pay attention to it, be willing to go back inside it and see what's there.

Ask yourself if you might be willing to take one moment to reconnect, whether you get to yoga this week or not. If you're stressed out at work, see if you can take a deep breath, feel the sensations in your body and follow them instead of just wishing you had time to get to the gym. Reconnecting is really as simple as your next breath, your next thought. The more complicated we make it, the more we begin to believe that we'll never get there unless we're doing all the right things. Don't buy into that.

What could you do right now to reconnect, listen and open to your body again? How long will you wait to let yourself be exactly what you need, one moment at a time?

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