Archive for the ‘Body coaching’ Category
“There is in stillness oft a magic power to calm the breast when struggling passions lower, touched by its influence, in the soul arise diviner feelings kindred with the skies.” - Solitude by John Henry Newman
As fall is quickly approaching and the weather is changing, it’s time for each of us to begin the practice of stillness. For me, I do this after I have begun to cleanse and purge my closets and other household areas. There is a cozy feeling that fall brings of big, warm sweaters, an outdoor fire pit, and soft, soothing music. Fall is a time of turning inward and developing practices that support the harmony of our mind and bodies.
- Picture yourself in a place that you associate with serenity and peace (even better if you can be there!).
- Allow yourself to move quietly through this place – movement is important for the body to be in flow.
- Tune into the sounds, the fragrances in the air, look around you and let the environment fill you up.
- Take purposeful breaths in and out. Each inhale and exhale must match in intensity and length – don’t short change the exhale.
- Allow your body to feel into the feeling of stillness, what does it actually feel like, what do you notice within yourself, don’t shift or change anything, just stay with what you are noticing. This isn’t about working at anything. It is about allowing the body to do what it naturally knows how to do – breathe.
- Make this practice about “being with stillness”, not doing stillness!
Until next time
I wanted to share with you this great story and video about the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tuscon that has integrated horse guided learning in their medical program. Neurosurgeon Dr. Allan Hamilton welcomes students to his ranch where they are able to interact with horses and learn how to better understand their energies and body language. Dr. Hamilton espouses the philosophies we share – that horses mirror us and allow us to better understand how we present ourselves to the world. Medical students are able to understand and adapt their approaches to be better healers and work with patients in a gentler way.
I have been talking in recent weeks about the importance of shifting your body in order to allow your learning to really stick. Remember the same old way of being lives in the body, and if you want to create something new, you must fully integrate it into your physical and energetic presence.
Today’s practice is about fully embracing possibility in your life, and we’ll do this through allowing it to live in our body. The body of possibility is that one which “feels” highly flexible (not like yoga or contortions). It has flow and movement, playfulness and easiness about it.
Imagine the wind gently swaying the trees, a leaf as it dances through the atmosphere. Follow it with your thoughts and just allow your body to be fully present to the experience.
What is it that you want to create in your life today? What is the energy of possibility for you? How does it feel? What emotions, sensations, thoughts come up for you?
Breathe high up in your body and “waft” your breath. Imagine yourself with your “flow” of breath being back and up in your body. Now move from this place and hold the space for possibility. Feel the lightness that comes with this.
The element of nature that is associated with the body of possibility is wind. Will you go out into the world today as a gentle summer breeze, or a tsumani? You get to choose. That is what possibility is all about.
Have a lovely day filled with endless possibilities, and remember learning lives in the body.
In my heart-mind coaching practice, I remind my clients about the distinction between noticing, observing and releasing versus the thing we are all being told to do these days, “just let that go”. I don’t know about you, but to just let something go feels very difficult. I am convinced that trying to let something go digs it deeper into my conscious mind (not to mention my sub-conscious mind). My ego has a very hard time to just let something go. It LOVES the feeding frenzy. So…how about this instead:
When I find myself “chewing” over something, clearly there is something that is bothering me. I would like to learn more about myself in the bothering me phase. What is bothering me and what reaction does it cause in me? Where do I find that my thoughts take me? What struggles does it create?
If I just let it go (which actually I can’t say I have ever REALLY been able to do), have I devalued the lesson or even missed it? Perhaps.
Here’s a new practice to try.
Instead of trying to let it go, replace it with “I notice myself in this place. I observe the reactions and responses I am feeling. I challenge myself to explore the message behind the feeling; what is it trying to tell me – perhaps there is a nugget of wisdom here. And then I release. This happens from my body using my breath to exhale the feeling out into the world and move into my place of center.
Try this today, Notice, observe, explore and then release. Just allow, don’t try to DO anything.
Blessings for a wonderful Sunday!
This timeless Shakespearean quote from Hamlet is a great reminder of moving our focus from the “doing” in life to the “being” in life. I remember working with a client sometime ago in the round pen with one of our great teacher-horses.
We had given her a few “tools” to support her interaction. She picked up the large round ball and began bouncing it as her horse turned his back on her. She continued to bounce the ball as the horse continued to ignore her.
After a few minutes of this, she found another “distraction” and began interacting with that one. The horse continued to ignore her. “Hmmm, she stated, this doesn’t seem to be working. Nothing I am “doing” is interesting to the horse. So now I don’t know what to do.” At that point she began to get agitated as she was at a loss for how to just stay fully present to the experience.
I approached the fence of the round pen and quietly asked her “When was the last time you allowed yourself to just be; free from an agenda or goals, doing, doing, doing, just really be?” Her response “I can’t remember, I don’t think I know how to do that”. And so we began a new dance; one of quiet relationship where she could just stand still, breathe, and find connection with her heart. Her horse-teacher decided she was now much more interesting to be with and approached her, putting his head on her shoulder and standing with her in quiet connection.
Today you might not have a horse-teacher in your life so just use the good old fashioned pause button. Staying fully present to life means being awake at the wheel, observing, noticing and releasing distractions. There are lots of things that will call your attention today so decide what kind of attention you will give them versus what you will give yourself.
Make YOU count today and before you start your day set your intention. It goes like this:
“What do I want to create today?
What do I want my life to be about today?
Today, I fully intend to stay present to the experience of just being. That means I will notice when I am pushing myself too hard. I will breathe into life today, and stay curious and connected.”
Have a beautiful day of just being!
I recently read an article from one of my mentor/teachers, Dr. Stuart Heller www.cultivatingexcellence.com Dr. Heller’s claim to fame (and well deserved) in the language of movement.
In our women’s empowerment programs, we often start the sessions off with reminding folks that adopting beginner’s mind will help support their learning. Stuart does a great job of definining beginner’s mind and the practice of “flowing smoothly into not-knowing”.
Now the brain doesn’t really like this aspect of not-knowing since most of our lives we have been taught that “to know” is to have power, and then of course the ego gets involved. The ego REALLY has a tough time with not just sayng “I don’t know, but even thinking it!”
So…let’s practice this for today. Think of Beginner’s Mind as an attitude of openness, curiority, and excitement that comes from an observing place. Observing is that beautiful, graceful and easy way of looking, noticing and releasing our attachments to knowing. In order for you to “practice” a beginner’s mind, you must first practice a beginner’s body. This means to hold yourself, to move yourself, and to even breathe differently. This is not something you force yourself to do. It is an invitation of coming towards that body of beginner’s mind.
Let’s try it. Sit forward in your chair and then find your breath. Allow your body to relax into a state of openness (just imagine it), take a few deep and quiet breaths as your shoulders find their rightful place (yes you have a neck!).
Relax and feel down in your body. Now allow your breath to find its way into your lower back and soften yourself (even more). Allow your breath to be breathed into and out of your lower back. This will help keep your body soft.
Just practice this as you imagine yourself in quiet conversation with something you wish to learn or a conversation that has found its way in front of you.
Let me know what this practice creates for you and where beginner’s mind, begins to create a whole new way of seeing yourself and the world!
Summer on the west coast has taken a while to finally get here. We’ve been enjoying beautiful, warm/hot weather for a couple of weeks now. Today as I look outside and watch the breeze dancing in the top of our very high cottonwood trees, I am struck by how effortless their grace and majesty accepts the dance. As you look into your life today, can you say the same?
Close your eyes for a few moments in the midst of your busy day and take a few deep breaths. In between your breath, find the place of peaceful serenity, the place where calm and satisfaction lives.
As I breathe into my heart space, what joy do I feel, what aching or longing?
As I imagine myself uncluttered and free (which of course I really am), where do I journey? What thoughts find me? What feelings can I feel?
Can I tenderly caress myself from the inside out?
Remember it is only your thoughts that hold you hostage — it is only those limiting beliefs that keep you small. They are not real. Your sacred contract in life is waiting to be signed. You need not struggle, just pick up the pen (take that first step), and say yes.
Have a beautiful, peace-filled day.
There are many articles that talk about the importance of maintaining balance in our lives. As I stopped to think about this, I wondered how true this really is. If our lives were in perfect balance, what would we be missing? Being out of balance, allows us to appreciate the surrender of ourselves to the things around that us that cause to pay a different kind of attention. If I was always in balance, I wonder if I might see the world with all its cracks, challenges and struggles. I might miss them completely and then what would I be learning?
So, let’s reframe this thinking and focus on a life in center — a centered life. Striving to live a centered life means that I can notice when I get out of center, and right myself. As a somatic coach, I have worked with hundreds of people to help support their center. What actually is center? It is simple really…it is the connection of all parts of self — an awareness of my body and how I move through space. How I move through space is how I move through life (from the work of Dr. Stuart Heller www.cultivatingexcellence.com). The way I carry myself, my breathing, my posture, gestures, beliefs, thoughts, feelings all make up the person that I am. When one part gets out of center, it causes the other parts of my system to become disorganized and move out of center. The practice of Centered Presence is easy…
I’ll talk about that in my next post. In the meantime, just notice and allow. There are messages in all that we see.