You know how some days you wake up feeling like a total badass, and other days you wake up feeling like a loser? (C’mon, I can’t be the only one!)
Well, you are different on different days; you are always a reflection of your current state of being. At my yoga studio, the instructors often say, “Do the best you can with the body you brought in here today.”
And man, it is so true. If you spend the whole class lamenting that you can’t do all the postures you could do the day before, you waste the class…not to mention, you feel like shit when you leave because you’ve been mentally berating yourself the whole time.
Get more on board with “what is” today.
I don’t drink alcohol very often, or in large quantities. I went to a party over the weekend, and got tipsier than I meant to. And the next day? I’m not gonna lie, life was rough.
There are very few things I hate more than feeling like I threw away a day. But, the damage was done. I needed to chill out and nurse my hangover the following day.
Early in the day, I told myself I wasn’t going to think at all about the things I wasn’t doing as a result. I told myself that I would take the day to get caught up on rest and some Netflix bingeing. So I did.
In the end, I enjoyed the day more and started the next day in a much better headspace because I hadn’t been mean to myself the whole day before.
Lesson #1: Listening to your body is good for the mind.
Your mind is a cluster of complicatedness.
Ok, let’s say that I didn’t have a crazy hangover, but just didn’t want to get out of bed over the weekend. What then?
There’s a part of me that would have been understanding and compassionate, interpreting that as needing a day off.
There’s a part of me that would have turned that into I’m a total loser.
There’s a part of me that would have forced myself to do something productive and maybe I would have ended up frustrated or angry because nothing went right.
You get the idea. When you feel like crap, there are so many mental voices at play, right?
How do you know which one is true?
You don’t! They all have elements of being true, probably. You’ve got different parts of yourself that think and need and want different things. And having conflicting messages isn’t a bad thing – but getting stuck trying to figure out which one is the most correct at any given moment is misery (and leads to lots of second-guessing!)
Lesson #2: Unless you spend a lot of time in your mind and know your patterns like the back of your hand, what you think cannot be trusted. (Even then, it’s questionable.)
It stands to reason, then, that how you feel is more important than what you think.
If I close my eyes and focus on my body, it can give me a lot of information. Some days I might notice tension in my neck and shoulders, others I might feel warmth and electricity in my heart. (I know it’s a bit wacky, but hang with me for a few.)
I can also ask it questions and get a pretty clear sense of how my body feels about it.
Do I want to go for a walk? Yes. (My lungs felt clearer and expansive.)
Do I want to hang out at the mall? No. (My legs got heavy and I felt lethargic.)
Do I want to go on a date with that guy? Yes. (My stomach has butterflies and I felt tingles up and down my arms.)
It is often said that the body holds wisdom that our minds do not. A connection to our souls. A knowledge of our whole being. All of the feelings that we shove out of our minds and pretend not to have.
Lesson #3: Ask the wisest part of you (YOUR BODY!!!) the next time you have something on your mind. (Starting with yes/no questions are one of the most basic ways to start to tune into what your body is saying…if you ask for a dissertation on why so-and-so isn’t giving you what you want, that answer may not come.)
You want the strongest leader in charge.
When you’re making big calls (or even little ones), you don’t want the part of your mind that is stuck in being rejected by her high school boyfriend to be the decider. You wouldn’t let a child make an adult decision, so you want the wisdom, the part of you that is connected to the greater universe to be making those decisions.
And, besides, if you were in the middle of a crisis and there was a group of people standing around freaking out, who would you ask for help or to learn more about what was going on? You wouldn’t ask the child or the lady huddled in the corner sobbing uncontrollably. You’d ask the one that looked confident. That’s your body, my friend.
Your turn! Let’s practice!
Set aside about 10 minutes for this exercise. Sit in a quiet space and put your feet on the floor (legs uncrossed) and close your eyes. Scan your body. Notice your neck and shoulders, then your chest, then your abdomen, your hips. Pause at each spot and just pay attention to what you feel.
Then say these statements, either out loud, or quietly in your head. Do them one at a time and let them really land in your body. (You may need to repeat them a couple of times.) Then notice how they make you feel.
- I want to feel loved.
- I want to feel understood.
- I want to feel joy.
- I want to feel worthy.
- I am loved.
- I am understood.
- I am joyful.
- I am worthy.
What did you feel? What did you notice? What is your body telling you that your brain is not? I’d love to hear what you found if you feel like sharing- leave a comment below and let me know how it was.