How many of us treat our bodies as machines purely to service our work and life? Our bodies reflect not only what’s happening to us, but what is happening around us, and rarely do we notice or consider what it’s telling us. In these times of great uncertainty, and critical decision making we need all the wisdom we can find.
Alevtina Kraseninnikova Associate of Amara Collaboration explores in this piece how the body is a valuable source of wisdom. It’s with us all the time as a witness to what we experience, think and feel. Next time you notice your shoulders aching, your eye twitching, what is the message, what is the wisdom for you?
At this time of information overload, uncertainty and insecurity there is one resource readily available to us, often overlooked and ignored. It is with us always; the trick is to pay attention to it. It is so simple and so close, almost magical – the wisdom of our bodies, ready to be tapped into. What we need to do is to pay attention, ‘listen’, and learn.
The other day I caught myself noticing tension and strain in my neck and shoulders while thinking to myself: ‘that’s strange, I am not stressed, am I?’ The puzzle came about as I do know that I carry stress in my neck and shoulders, yet there was no associated story in my mind. It is typical for me to be stressed for a while consciously before I start noticing physical signs of it. This ‘cry for help’ from my body made me pause and inquire.
I experience the current situation as one causing a fair amount of dissonance and it’s often too hard to grasp, connect and stay engaged with. On the surface my life is largely unaffected by the current events: I work from home and have a life in ‘stay at home’ mode most of the time, virus or not. I’m a coach so I am still very much engaged and working actively with my clients. A lot of my social interactions continue online as they always were. Seemingly there is nothing to be stressed about. It makes sense that there is no story of stress to tell, the mind does not have data to make it up. Yet, my body tells me I am stressed. What is that about? Should I even bother or can just simply dismiss the question? It is easy to dismiss the body. Wisdom is often associated with mind, not body. Body is often perceived more like a machine, something that can be fixed, made to work harder. Or, can I get curious and follow the signs whether they make any sense or not and see where they take me? I choose to be curious.
So, what is below the surface then? As I have mentioned, the situation is a dissonant one for me. There is real suffering and upset and fear and anger all around me, and to be honest in me too. There is also hope and excitement about what could be and genuine gratitude and wonder about so much good brought forward. And all of it exists simultaneously, all at the same time and space often mingled into one another. I find myself moving between polar opposites from one minute to the next, from hope to despair, to only find some form of equilibrium when the two ends come to stand still without really releasing any of the energy caught in the process. No wonder I am stressed!
Being curious, leaning towards it, letting my body ‘speak’ allows me to really connect to what is going on. Not dismiss it, not ignore it, not brush it off, but really tap into the body’s wisdom. Great, you may say, now what? Now I can really be honest with myself. I can engage with the emotions that are locked up and start releasing the stuck energy to allow ‘what could be’ come into focus, mobilise me, come to action. I can also allow myself to rest and attend to my stress without guilt or dismissal so that I have energy, resilience, immunity to face what is, rather than avoid it. I can also allow the same in others, give them space and time to process their noticing and knowing such that it nourishes them.
Now it is your turn to listen to your body. What is it telling you? What is it asking of you? What could become possible if you answer the call? What might stop you picking up the call? Try to just allow your body to speak – leave the head filter out!
If you are curious but unsure how, you may want to pick up Amara’s book ‘Street Smart Awareness and Inquiry-in-Action’ for inspiration and support or meet with us in our public events or in private coaching conversation.
In the book we present practices that are simple and manageable, underpinned by sophisticated techniques that will open up your thinking and acting, and develop and enrich your everyday life both at work and beyond.
By Alevtina Kraseninnikova, Associate of Amara Collaboration My recent experience on social media in a conversation on #diversity and #inclusion made me reflect rather deeply to the point that I was moved to written about it. So, here it is. A bit of a background would be helpful. A post caught my attention talking about … Continued
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