I think I’ve spent a lot of my life disembodied; without my body.
Not that I haven’t had a body of course, just that I think for many years my body was merely the machinery which was used to carry my mind around. The only real time that I noticed my body was to pick fault in it, when it hurt or when it brought me pleasure. The rest of the time I think I was in my head.
I remember when I was doing my first counseling course that the tutor fed back, at the end of the year, how they’d seen me get more in touch with my emotions. He said something like ‘you’re bright but you weren’t really in touch with how you felt’, and he was probably right.
So I’ve spent many more years developing my emotional intelligence through training, therapy, awareness and getting it wrong. I remember the phase where I was becoming aware that I did, after all, sometimes feel anger (having never felt anger before).
So I finally got the point where I felt that my emotional intelligence, and social intelligence balanced my intellectual intelligence. Job done!?
Last Easter I saw a Facebook Ad (so they must work) for one to one yoga classes locally and so I went to meet Ceri and have had one hour with her a month since then. That hour has been enough to teach me asanas (positions) which I have then practiced every day since Easter. I wrote about the changes that yoga seemed to be bringing on my Psychologies blog and they continue to be true.
I think yoga, coupled with the searing heat of the sweatlodge and the Indian Head massage course I’m currently on (yes it will qualify me to practice!) has made me aware that I have another area of intelligence to develop; that of my body.
I’m finally tuning into my body and realizing that it isn’t just a vessel for carrying around my brain and my feelings, but it has it’s own wisdom if I would just stop and listen to it.
My body talks
When I listen to my body I find it doesn’t like wine as much as my head does. Wine makes my body feel slow and fuzzy. Nor does it like chocolate as much as my emotions do, chocolate makes it feel clogged up. My body loves water and fruit, nuts, seeds. It loves to eat slowly rather than on the run, in the car or at my desk and actually feels more uncomfortable than I had previously noticed when I do those things.
Over the summer I’ve noticed that my body doesn’t like sitting still for extended period of time and it hates long drives. it doesn’t like sitting on chairs with my legs below my my pelvis but it is very happy sitting cross legged in the floor. My body loves sun, sea, not being bundled up in clothes. My feet love to be bare and skin likes to feel warm.
Doing too much (again!)
And then we’ve hit autumn and the new school term, which I have always seen as my New Year so I’ve launched into the New Year with the sharing circles, the menopause courses (another one is due), learning Indian Head massage, the sweatlodge, a conference, not to mention lesson observations, open evenings, parents evenings, open days, school trips etc at all of the schools I’m involved in; my kids’ and my own. Oh, and I’ve been feeling frustrated that I haven’t had time to write as much as I would like, but yes I am still doing yoga daily.
Then this week I crashed. I was tearful and tired, stressed, snappy and ill.
Anyone who knows me well will be rolling their eyes and thinking ‘when will she ever learn?’ because I think I do this about this time of year every year. I launch with excitement into my New Year with new projects and plans and then hit the floor.
It was only when I read this blog by Allison Marlowe of Global Winning Women that the penny dropped. Like Allison, I think I skip winter metaphorically. One term ends and we go into the summer holidays when I have loads of energy and time and space so I create all these new things which I want to dive into in Autumn without realising that winter is coming and that my body is affected by the change of light and the change in season.
I have known since my 20s that in the winter my energy is lower, my mood is quieter, I want to go out less and see fewer people. But because I haven’t been tuned into my body I have never really paid attention to the fact that my body needs more rest, that it wants to hibernate, sleep, slow down, curl up and stay at home, I have over-ridden it with my brain and pushed on through, dragging it like a sleepy child forced to get up early and go to school.
Whilst my brain is squealing with excitement ‘look at all this stuff we can do together body, let’s get out there and do it’, this year my body has a louder voice and is putting it’s foot down; ‘you’ve got to be joking right? There’s no way we’re going to do all that now, we need to rest, so stop running around and just sit, just snooze, stay at home and be quiet’.
My body as guide
I have never seen so clearly before that I need to let my body guide me as the seasons change. I have so much energy in the summer, I’m like Tigger with plans and ideas and the energy to carry then out and I have previously asked my body to continue to at that pace all year round.
So it was when I read Allison’s blog that I saw that I do what she describes: ‘I tried to go straight from Autumn to Spring, not allowing things to die off and be empty. In my life it’s like I’ve tried to “engineer the season” by avoiding the winter. It’s as almost as though I’m like those leaves but I’m trying to cling to the tree. To keep everything going. Now, as we come into Autumn once more, I am seeing that the stage which I’ve missed is the most important one: of winter, rest and stillness.’
So this year, for the first time ever, I’m going to let my body talk. I’m going to rest, retreat, stay still and allow a fallow period. I’m going to let what I do and how I feel be affected by my body and the seasons. I’m going to let my body talk.
- What does your body need at this time of year?
- How are you affected by the seasons?
- How can you adjust your life to allow your body what it needs?
If you live in the Oswestry area you might like to join the sharing circle on Tuesday 11th October at 730-1030 pm. Sharing circles are spaces where you can speak your truth and tune into your inner wisdom safe in the knowledge that you will be heard without interruption or comment. If you’d like to come let me know by replying to this email and I’ll send you the details. I have some people interested in joining a live, on-line circle to again reply to this email if you’d like to know more about that if you live further away.
Ps Free Ebooks for anyone who needs them (just click on the links)
- How to be LessStressed: From Survive and Strive to Revive and Thrive
- Getting over the End of a Relationship: Relationship Recovery
- Domestic Abuse: how to get support for people living with it
Ps..here are other places you can read my stuff
- Psychologies Magazine LifeLabs
- For teachers and schools: SecEd, Innovate Your School, SchoolWell and Staffrm