How many times has this happened to you? You have a decision that you know you have to make, but for some reason you just … can’t … do it. You feel paralysed by “what ifs” and “maybes” to the point that you may not even end up making a decision at all.
But what if I told you that actually, you have an incredibly powerful inbuilt compass that you’re probably not even using — your body!
Your body is your best compass
I believe that our bodies, these uniquely human instruments, are compasses to help us find our True North, that ultimate destiny or highest path. But because so many of us are so disconnected from our bodies and intuition, it can be hard to recognise it when it’s talking to us and guiding us.
Often, our body speaks to us in the form of hunches and little fleeting insights. You know, that feeling of “Yes, go for it!” or that little nudge of “Better not…” And by listening to your body and using it as your compass, you can get a really clear indication of whether you’re walking your highest path or not. This is not to say that it will always feel super secure or even seem like you’re on the right path — but it always makes sense in retrospect.
Ignore it at your peril
But if you continue to ignore your body and what it’s saying, it doesn’t get quieter. In fact, it’s just the opposite: it will start talking to you louder and louder until eventually you start to listen! Take me for example. A few years ago I was doing loads of speaker training events, and I was starting to have this sneaking feeling that I needed to have a break from it. But I ignored that and pushed through … until out of nowhere I started getting heart palpitations. The craziest part was, as soon as I decided to stop doing the speaker training events, the palpitations stopped, and they haven’t shown up since.
Sometimes the fastest way forward is back
Now, one thing you’ll often notice when you start listening to your body compass is that sometimes it will be telling you to do things that seem totally crazy. Sticking with the compass metaphor, it’s like you’re trying to go North but your body compass is saying to go South-East. But what I’ve found over and over again is that a lot of times these apparent “diversions” are actually exactly what you need so you can go forward with the best resources, energy, or timing. So don’t discount your body compass just because something seems a little strange; it might be just what you need.
OK, so let’s get into this a little more practically. How do you actually listen to your body clock? The first step is to simply slow down. We’re all so disconnected, running around in headless chicken mode, that we often don’t take the time to listen to our bodies. So the first thing you need to do is to slow down and become aware of your natural yearly, monthly, and daily energy cycles.
Once you’ve done that, you can start looking for blips in the system. These are times when you normally are really high energy, but for some reason you’re just not feeling it. A lot of times this is a sign that there’s something off about what you’re doing, or something that needs to change for you to be OK.
Thirdly, listen to your emotions. They are one of the most critical ways that your body communicates with you about your relationship to your mission, your True North. Look for the message behind each emotion. For instance, anger is usually a sign that someone has crossed a boundary. Hurt is a sign that you’ve lost something, and it often means that you should look to your expectations. Fear is a great emotion for preparation — it’s that reptilian part of the brain that says, “Are you prepared? Is everything ready?” And so on…
Finally, pay attention to your health. Ill health could be a manifestation of unlistened-to messages over a long period of time, and it’s a good reminder to think about anyone you need to forgive, something you need to let go of, or simply that you need to slow down.
Over the next two weeks, I want you to get into living in your body. Just spend five minutes, every day, feeling into your body. Feel the aches and pains, the energy level, your emotions, your health, and just take note of it. Start to look for cycles, and from there, for blips.
Why not try it right now? Take five seconds to think about how you’re feeling, and tell me below in the comments!
You might also like to read...
- What to do if you’re lonely - May 19, 2022
- What coaching survivors can teach us about burnout - May 12, 2022
- Two secrets to building a support network - May 4, 2022