Archive for August, 2015
Bring it home, baby. Bring it into the body.
What does it mean to walk our talk? I had a beautiful experience of this with Sheila Peters. We were exploring a grounding and integration movement practice that unites the upper body with the lower body and while we were doing it, I had this tremendous visceral sensation of how above and below connect in that phrase, “Walk Your Talk”. This was a beautiful “aha” moment of taking something that up until then had been conceptual for me and bringing it into my body as a felt truth. Strengthening the awareness of the relationship between my lower body; my legs, my walkers… my lower chakras – what I do, what I want, what I have the power to do, the actions I take… with my upper body holding my talkers, my arms, voice, mind… what I say, my beliefs and my communication with the world definitely gives me the ability to sense if the two match up. The meeting place of the lower and upper chakras is the heart. When I walk my talk, I feel the integrity in my heart. I feel joy and I feel love, even if what is happening is not so good. I like being in the truth. And the way to know is so simple… is what I am doing what I say I am doing. Looking at it with the lens of my heart, I can take responsibility and breathe in the truth of what I do.
Alignment of the upper and lower body urges can help me sense integrity. Yet the word alignment can also be more ideal than real. In Nia, we are practicing being aware of and playing with alignment of the body via the feet, pelvis, chest, head, spine. Aligning, centering, balance and off balance creates awareness of that moves from the conceptual into the real.
It is possible that I do not even realize sometimes that I am not walking my talk, that I am not in alignment. I can certainly address this through my body awareness practices, but then I also need to unite it with my mind and my heart. This is where self-inquiry excels. Here is a great set of questions from the Charmm’d Foundation website whose mission is to Strengthen tax-exempt community leaders through the practice of emotional intelligence and ethical reflection. Although this applies specifically to leaders in the community, it also applies to the personal choices that we make every day that keep us healthy and aligned. As you ask yourself these questions, sense your body (breath and skin is a good place to start) and open up to the possibility that you might learn something about yourself you do not know.
• Understand the phrase “walk the talk” by breaking it down to what it means to YOU.
• What is your “talk?” (What are the values or purpose that you speak about?)
• What is your “walk?” (Your regular actions that support what you’re saying.)
• Is your walk and talk aligned?
• Is it creating the environment you want?
• If so, is this environment helping to facilitate your goals?
• If not, what can you do to change that?
My personal belief is that the world is a better place if what I am doing and what I say I am doing matches up. Ever since I had this realization working with Sheila, I realize that this creates a sensation of trust and safety in my body. This allows me to bring confidence and compassion into all my interactions since I am coming from a place of knowing myself to be in the process of being in the flow. When something feel off, this simple way of noticing helps me take responsibility for what is happening. Would I want to follow myself in this situation? Are my feet following in the path of my beliefs and my heart? What is manifesting in my life as a result? If I do not like where I am, is there a misalignment between what I say am doing and what I am actually doing? Can I sense it in my body? If I realign in my body, will I automatically make a new choice by creating space for a new belief? What needs to be brought in line, the walk or the talk?
Ever since I had this realization working with Sheila, I am more aware in my Nia classes of how I share this practice with others. We are constantly exploring grounding by staying connected to our base and steps and stance and by honing the mind body connection; can I bring my body to the places my mind wants it to go to. When I invite people to sense something, am I actually sensing it too? Am I walking my talk by crafting with sensation? And on the flip side, can I allow my body to go to the places my imagination invites it to? New neuropathways in my brain will bring me to new places. We create these most efficiently by uniting the mind with the body. If compassion and confidence are byproducts of this practice, can I bring that spirit to share with my students too? And thereby be a loving leader for them, someone they are following that is leading them to themselves?
Have you ever had a situation appear in your life that defied logical means of addressing it? I mean irrational stuff. The kinds of internal spaces that make you want to turn off all the lights inside and outside. Or moments that keep repeating even though you made pact after pact that you would never be there again. Or reactions that keep you feeling stuck in a loop that is just no good?
In the same way that the mind affects the body, the body affects the mind. I can be stressed out and make myself physically ill (think hives), or I can have a certain physical pain patterns that bums out my mind (think neck pain that does not allow me to turn my head). Sometimes the stuckness is physical, sometimes it is mental, sometimes it is emotional – however, it is always energetic. And by that I mean that everything, and this means every thing, has a vibration to it and one way I define vital health is that the vibrations within an organism are in harmony such that the organism thrives.
Working energetically does not require that we know how something got stuck or where the stuckness originated. Since the practices affect us on a cellular and dare I say, atomic, level, the whys and doubts of the mind have no place in their release. With practice, changes that happen in this way are real and lasting.
A few years ago, a good friend and local chiropractor, Pam Jarboe told me about Donna Eden, a Master teacher of Energy Medicine. There was talk about us starting a group to explore her work and I bought her book, Energy Medicine for Women. I began looking at it, but the group never materialized.
A few months ago, another good friend and my Spiritual Pilates teacher, Meghan Brennan, insisted that I contact Sheila Peters. I instantly took to Sheila and went to have a session with her, not really knowing what to expect… and lo and behold, among the treasure chest of energy medicine that she shares, many of the practices are based on the work of Donna Eden. I fell in love with Sheila and with the work.
Back to the questions I posed at the top. Situations that defy rational problem solving, loops that seem to have no exit, stuckness… I am working my way through one of these right now. It looks like this: No matter what I intended, I did not make time for what I know I want to do. One of the reason this was happening is that “others'” agendas barrelled over mine. I let them, without knowing how or why, leaving me frustrated and mad and overwhelmed. Sheila saw this in my energy field and showed me two exercises during our first session. One of them involves a spoon and is a grounding exercise. The other is a movement mantra meant to connect me to my core and my personal power. These two have literally changed my life. Evidence being that I am here writing this blog.
Being on the other side of it, I see how she gave me the tools to shift the energetics and my awareness. In some cases, connecting through the exercises gives me the ability to say no, or to know that I can choose, or to shift my schedule around so that I can be in a flow that allows me to thrive.
Back to Sheila, who is also a beautiful dancer and poetry in motion. She and I, we are intentional movers. Body language as primary communication and body mantras to shift the energy make perfect sense to me. Along with the practices, Sheila also does a unique type of body work that feels like she dancing my energy fields. And believe me when I say I am a very practical being who does not know exactly how this works to bring me into sweet harmony within myself, only that it does.
On Saturday, September 12th, I have invited Sheila to come to Yoga & Nia For Life and share this work. You will learn some of these practices and learn to open up your body so that everything flows more smoothly bringing more health to your physical, emotional and mental body. Please come and bring anyone in your life who is ready to create more moments when they are thriving than stressing.