In my experience as a certified life coach and somatic facilitator, I've found that becoming aware of your body's energy is often a quick way to recognize your interest level in making new choices and changes in how you work and live. The wisdom-energy of our bodies is the vital resource we all have inside ourselves to release us from limiting beliefs about what we can and ought to do with our work and our lives. Becoming aware of our feelings and body sensations brings direct knowing of what we truly want and need.
As a coach, I've found that helping people slow down, breathe more fully, and pay attention to sensory perceptions (signals from our bodies) allows them to feel what engages their energy and what limits it. In learning what lifts your energy, you're more able to feel what choices will lead to positive outcomes in how you work and live. In this way, your energy builds, and these changes you make become transformative leaps in the way you work, create, and connect with yourself, others, and the world!
A man in his early forties, Brendan, had been unhappy in his position as a director in a prestigious multinational IT company. His real interest was ecological restoration, and he decided he wanted to form his own company to handle particular projects of interest to him. He came for coaching because In the midst of taking steps to get his new business under way, he kept feeling tense and exhausted. He went to his doctor for a checkup, but medical tests came out negative. He began to wonder whether he'd made the right decision to leave the IT company. That was when he came for coaching.
As we began exploring what was going on in his life, one thing became clear— Brendan saw no end to his to-do lists. He knew it would help if he could get to the gym or go for walks on a daily basis, but felt he couldn't take the time to do that. So with each session, we began with conscious breathing to help him develop awareness of his body sensations and energy level. At first, he felt this might be taking away time from the "real" coaching, but he came to understand that slowing down and making time to breathe made him more aware of what he was feeling and what was important to him.
During his third coaching session, I challenged Brendan to put five items from his to-do list on the back burner for a month and see what new choices he was inspired to make for his new business, as well as for his health and well-being. He was appalled because he thought that now his business development would have no structure and that his new career venture would fail. He felt the tension mounting in his belly and diaphragm, his breathing getting tight.
I asked Brendan if he would place one hand on his diaphragm and one on his belly, and feel the warmth from his hands there. He could feel the tension release with the warmth of this connection, and his breathing became deeper and more relaxed. Then he was able to consider what was really important that he do for his work and his well-being. Brendan realized that his original plan to start by creating a website plunged his energy down low.
What sent his energy up, and what he really wanted to do first, was take time to deepen some connections with potential partners for his business. Suddenly, he felt energy rush through his body as he was filled with a sense of new possibilities opening! He made time to connect with potential contacts through phone conversations, small-group meetings, and taking walks together. In this way, he began to build a new professional network though which to develop his business.
He also took the new step of inviting a friend to join him for a weekly workout class at his gym. In paying attention to his body's messages, he realized that what motivated him was connecting with other people— and this new insight transformed his approach to working while making time for fitness and self-care.
Brendan did create a website and set up a successful business in partnership with a colleague he met through his person-to-person outreach. Most importantly, he did this feeling connected, fit, and with less stress than he'd imagined possible!