What Does Your Body Say About This?
By Tracy KeenanSeptember 3, 2015
I’m not talking about the knee I just wrenched. Or maybe I am.
Most of my days are spent reading, writing, listening, praying, going from home to office to hospital to coffee meeting to office to home, all the while either checking or working on the screen of some device. I live in my head. I use my eyes and ears and mouth. I think a lot.
I tend to think of my body as something to be fed, washed, and outfitted, but mostly it just carries my head from place to place where I’m supposed to show up.
There have been several voices recently suggesting I pay attention to what my body is saying. I should probably listen.
When I attended a songwriting workshop several weeks ago, there was an opportunity to do yoga each morning, and I availed myself of that. The teacher said that also though we were using our minds (yes, and our ears), and even, arguably, our hearts in our songwriting, that our whole bodies were a part of it. Breathing, vocalization, and even playing instruments or clapping – these were more than just the body doing what was needed to produce the sounds.
Our bodies were capable of opening new avenues of creativity and freeing up the spirit that blows through the process.
In my study of the Enneagram, I hear how important it is to pay attention to the body, when and where the tension arises, and what it feels like. Being aware of it, being curious about it, letting it be there, and then breathing deeply into it to see what it’s about.
Sometimes I know what it’s about fairly quickly. I’m annoyed. Or I’m entering territory where I don’t feel confident. I’m peeved at not being heard or feeling belittled. I’m defensive.
Some suggest that I explore the feelings even more, the way a child explores a new toy. Hmmm - What is that clenched feeling in my shoulders? What triggered it? Is there something in me that feels threatened or unsafe? Is there physical danger? Is it my ego that’s upset here? Is it something I need to tend to, or can I just let it be?
My body often knows even before my head does.
I can breathe deeply until those tensions relax. I don’t have to toughen up, tighten up, or sharpen up. I can take a step back and review my options. There are many more than I usually think there are.
The body is a wonderful teacher. It shows up everywhere you are. It often knows what you think or feel before your head knows it. It can alert you to be aware of something you were going to step right over or run and hide from.
And it is trying to tell me that it has a place in the conversation, that my head is not the only important voice in my life.
What does your body have to say?
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