Editor's note: This reflection is the first in a five-part series called "Embodying Self." We hope you keep returning through October 25th to witness the way our five authors share the awe, the pain, and the power of living at home in their bodies, and of accessing their bodies' wisdom.
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
In a coaching session this summer, one of my clients was trying to figure out some discomfort that she was feeling in a professional relationship. Since she mentioned discomfort—in fact, she used the word squirmy: “I'm feeling squirmy”—that led me to say, “Let's see what else your body has to teach us. Why don't we check in with your body compass? ”
She sat up and said, “Body compass… what's that? ”
I explained that I learned this technique with Martha Beck about noticing what your body teaches you, or has to tell you, that can be pre-verbal/pre-processed, as in before you've actually brought it to your head or your consciousness. Your body already knows something, and it can point you in the direction you need to go.
I'm not an expert in this area, but I’ve read that we actually have neurons in our stomach, which means we have a way of understanding the world that’s not just in our head, but is actually in our gut. So when we connect to our body compass, we’re tapping into a different level of wisdom; a different level of understanding and connection: What do I know? And How do I know it?
When we trust our bodies—particularly for those of us who are recovering from trauma—when we trust that our bodies know what they need to heal, and that they know the truth of what's going on, we have access to much more than if we just think about something.
When my client and I explored the squirmy feelings more, she noticed that her throat chakra was tight, and that feeling of tightness in her throat felt like fear. A few more questions helped her understand that it was fear of not meeting expectations, or of doing it wrong. Once she was able to identify that feeling, she was able to engage the relationship in a totally different way: tightness gave way to abundant trust, connection, and even love.
Our bodies are so wise, and they hold so much information about what we need and how we can relate well with others. I’m grateful we have access to so much wisdom when we take a moment to check in, to feel, to recognize what we already sense is true.
Queridísima Diosa, thank you for the many ways that you remind us how important and sacred our bodies are. Thank you for helping us connect to the wisdom of our bodies, and for bringing us back to our bodies when we have left them. Please help us continue this journey of reconnection and grounding in ourselves. Bendita seas. Amén.