Tap Into Your Mind-Body Intelligence
Steve Sisgold says we each come equipped with an inner navigation system, and the key to accessing it is in learning how to use our mind-body intelligence.
Indian Springs is a natural hot springs resort in Calistoga, California. It is one of those places people go to unplug, relax, and enjoy the healing mineral waters.
I was enjoying a long, hot soak in the outdoor pool when a loud voice rippled through the silence, “Honey, you will love this. It’s just like lemonade.”
My body responded with a tug in the back of my throat. I immediately got thirsty and opened my eyes.
A woman with her hair wrapped in a bright green towel was signaling to her toddler who looked very happy playing on the pool steps. The woman reached toward the little girl, handing her a plastic cup, which looked to me to be filled with the ice water and thin slices of cucumber that they have by the entrance.
I thought, “Hmmm. That cuke water definitely does not taste like sweet lemonade.”
I watched as the little girl took a sip. She scrunched her nose and squirmed a bit as she looked up to her mom. Mom’s disappointment was instant and tangible; her face fell and her body visibly collapsed—shoulders and all.
I felt empathy for the mom; she so wanted her daughter to like the green water. But comparing it to lemonade? I felt even more empathy for the daughter. She knew how the drink tasted to her and it wasn’t at all like lemonade.
The mother’s agenda was fairly obvious, “You need to agree with me and enjoy this like I do, or I will be disappointed.”
For a young child (or even an adult), disappointing a parent or failing to meet someone’s expectations sets up an internal conflict. If the young girl could have put words to her experience, I imagine she would have said, “No, Mommy, it doesn’t taste like lemonade at all.”
But that isn’t what I heard. (Okay, I admit it. By this time, I was in full-on eavesdropping mode.)
Mom: “So whatcha think? Yummy, huh?”
Daughter, with head down: “It’s okay.”
Mom: “Just okay? I love it. How can you not like it? You will. Give it another try.”
Daughter blinked her eyes several times: “I’ll try it again. I’ll think of it as green lemonade.” She took another drink and forced a smile. So did her mom.
What Really Happened?
The little girl gave up her body’s authority in favor of mom’s authority. Mother’s certainty and need for her daughter to agree caused the little girl to override her innate body-based knowledge. She pretended she liked it to please her mom, not her palate.
This may seem like a harmless interaction, yet this type of undue influence over our inbuilt, body-based intelligence conditions us to ignore and even distrust what our body is telling us.
Once we become far-removed from our bodily experience, it becomes easy to ignore any physical or emotional signals that don’t fit into our mental constructs. This becomes a habit—our default response to the world. And all this happens without our knowing it.
We form these habits of mind unconsciously, and then we reinforce them with technology’s many “smart” devices that make it even easier to ignore our body in favor of a nonstop “out of body” experience.
Understand Mind-Body Wisdom
Whole Body Intelligence provides you with an expanded awareness that consistently keeps you in touch with your inner navigator—your personal Google, if you will. It will show you that your body is always ready to give you the most reliable information, the best way to go, and the best decision to make.
You’ll feel more relaxed, knowing that you can make difficult decisions without strenuous mental gymnastics. No more overthinking. No more lying awake at night strategizing your next best move—just you trusting what you know from head to toe, and acting with confidence.
This intelligence takes you straight to the body for solutions by using essential body-centered life skills to take charge of every area of your life with increased awareness, clarity, and confidence.
The aim of this developmental process is to reclaim your native ability to make choices in favor of what you truly desire so you can progress toward your goals.
This practice will ease your mind, taking it from confusion to clarity. You will get to translate the body’s message to the mind in a way it can receive it, an intuitive way vs. willing it or deceiving it. It can benefit you in every area of your life. Try this simple exercise below to experience it for yourself.
Exercise: The Rebooting Technique
Step 1: Unplug
Take a few minutes and disconnect from the outside world and all of its pressures. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be interrupted.
Step 2: Breathe
Take three deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. On the out breath loosen your jaw, and let go of all expression.
Step 3: Observe
Scan your body from head to toe. Take at least 30 seconds or more to take inventory of your body experience; body sensations, tensions, your posture etc.
Step 4: Report
Report what you have noticed in your body—either out loud so you may hear your own voice or silently to yourself.
Step 5: Adjust
Allow your body to return to a natural, relaxed state by moving in some way that shakes off or reduces tension. For instance, if your shoulders are high up near your ears, relax and lower them.
Step 6: Visualize
Now take a minute or two and notice if you feel more connected to yourself. Imagine a wave form in your mind’s eye and breathe slowly in and out.
Step 7: Reboot
Decide on the next purposeful action to take. Identify your top priority in the moment. Take one more conscious breath in and out. Stay focused on your intention and go do it!
Excerpted from Whole Body Intelligence: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body to Achieve Greater Wisdom, Confidence, and Success by Steve Sisgold. Copyright © 2015 by Steve Sisgold. Posted with permission.