What's an easy way to find out from within yourself whether you're making a new professional or personal choice that's right for you?
The good news is that we have in our own bodies this great, built-in resource that's surprisingly accurate in helping us affirm new choices for what we want in our work, our relationships, our creativity, and our well-being. This is the wisdom-energy of our bodies. Becoming aware of this resource as part of the coaching experience is often a fascinating part of the journey in itself for coaching clients.
From many years of giving stress-management classes, I've noticed how people at work cut off from connection with their feelings and their senses. I've seen that type of tightened, hunched-over body posture often in professionals from non-profits, tech corporations, schools, and businesses. The message so clearly embodied is: "Work is hard and demanding. It takes all my energy and leaves none for breathing and feeling. I will myself to focus only on my work and not my well-being, unless maybe there's time for that later (and there probably won't be)."
Recognize yourself? When did you last stop to check in with yourself at work or in other situations during your day, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, and actually feel the sensations in your body? For your body speaks to you through sensations-- warmth, cold, tension, flexibility-- and your energetic level. In general, when your body is warm and flexible, and your energy is high, your mind and spirit feel more expansive than when you're cold, tense, and energetically depleted.
When you're in a higher energy state, your thoughts and feelings are more positive, and it's easier to become aware of new possibilities and feel ready to make new changes.
As you practice moving from lower to higher energy states, you start to tap into the aliveness in your body and spirit that you need in order to find fulfillment in what you do and how you are in the world. Otherwise, though your career choices, for example, may look good on your resume, they may feel unsatisfying, as well as disconnected from a sense of purpose and vitality in your life.
What we can learn here is that when we hold back from feeling our life energy, we cut ourselves off from our intuition and awareness. We cut the cord to the direct knowing of our own truth from our feelings and our senses.
My client, Jana, was a young college graduate who was not happy with her career choice of engineering. Then she had a bout with colon cancer, which gave her the time to pay attention to what her belly and the rest of her body were saying to her. Healing from cancer was the first step in understanding her life priorities and considering changing her professional direction to one that was more deeply satisfying.
In our coaching together, I made time for Jana to practice deep belly breathing that allowed her to relax the pressure from her mind and engage with her body energy.
When she reached choice points, she learned to pay attention to whether she felt her energy get higher or go lower. Considering becoming a career engineer plummeted her energy. But combining some of what she did enjoy about structural engineering with community planning lifted her energy.
By checking in with her energy when making decisions, she gained clarity about her evolving vision for her new career direction and her future life-- creating a sustainable community by connecting people with the sources of real food and life. Her sense of purpose come alive as she felt her belly softening and opening.
She began to envision creating a place for growing healthful food, with beautiful buildings for holding classes and retreats to help people heal their relationships with their food, their bodies, and their spirit. In time, she brought together her technical, agricultural, and human potential interests into a more authentic and satisfying professional direction.
As Jana did, you can learn to pay attention to the messages from your body. When you feel confident about accessing your body's energy, you become attuned to your own intuitive wisdom. In learning to sense what energetically uplifts and motivates you, you can more effectively make positive, satisfying choices and transformative changes for working and living fulfilled.