All Heart

 

Someone recently said to me, “If it’s in your heart, you have to do it.” This represents a radical departure from how many of us live. Many of us would say instead, “If it’s in your mind, you have to do it.” Or believe it. Or be governed by it.

While our culture loves to worship the mind as the ultimate powerhouse, the heart has 60 times the electrical charge of the brain. Along with that, more nerve pathways travel from the heart to the brain than the other way around. In other words, in some very essential places, it is the heart leading the way. Once again, our biological intelligence is pointing to something we all too often do not recognize. In this case, that being, that it is the heart that is the true powerhouse. The one carrying the big charge. The call we want to sit up and take notice of. The one we do not want to deny.

This is not easy to do given the loud and insistent ways that the mind can drown out the more subtle and graceful messages of the heart. Not easy to do in a culture that has made many of us wary, shy and even downright suspicious of what the heart has to say. Some of us have even been so deeply and painfully wounded that it feels like nothing short of terrifying to imagine letting our hearts come out of hiding. And while likely we have all heard some version of “follow your heart,” it can seem like more of a romantic notion than a reality-based, viable approach to life.

For one, we don’t have a lot of good role models for this. And if we do, they are often saints, or people like the Dali Lama who can be too removed from daily life for us to feel as though we too, have access to what they do. For another, in a culture that uses fear as a sales tactic, as a way to keep us in line and that offers up entertainment based on the horrific and the outrageous, we can be left believing that to rely on the heart and its ways is childish, weak, ineffective, soft or overly sentimental. Maybe even downright dangerous to our safety and well-being.

It is anything but that. Believe it or not, the heart has its origins in courage. As in, the word courage derives from the French root “cour,” meaning heart. So beautifully portrayed in what the lion was looking for in The Wizard of Oz. But that is a child’s fantasy you might think. Maybe. Or maybe it is an expression of what we all most deeply long for. Something we all intuitively know to be a resource far greater than the insecurities, fears, shames, grievances, controls, anticipations and worries of the mind.

Check it out for yourself. Lying in bed first thing in the morning, before the mind has kicked into gear, pause. Don’t let the schedule and the demands of the day move in before you have placed one hand over your heart, and taken a few deep breaths right into the very center of your courage and wisdom. Ask your heart what it wants. And then, listen.

“Harmful”

 

We all have things we do not like. People, situations, institutions and more that we believe to be threatening, damaging or overwhelming. Maybe it is the politics of the day. What our neighbors are doing. The traffic. The systems we engage with. A relative. A co-worker. The object of the distress is not so much the point here as the way we feel in the presence of that which we find injurious. This is not easy to see. For it can be difficult to impossible to see whatever is offending us as anything other than harmful.

Unless we open to a new perspective.

For instance, while we may feel justified in our feelings, when we look closely enough, separate from the “offending party” on the other side of us and what they do or do not do, the truth is, we are the ones left hurting on our side of the equation. Beyond that, because we hold to the belief that keeping the offender in the position of well, being the offender, we further ingrain the split leaving us to occupy the position of the offended one. Of the one who has damage being done to them. As in there is the offender and the offended. A kind of one side against the other scenario.

Whenever I find myself feeling as though there is no way out or around this kind of thing, I go to the body to see how it handles such situations. The body, as in that part of us that is not caught up in the past, conditioned behaviors or old beliefs. But instead, the deep animal aspect of us that has an inherent biological wisdom and truth built right in. A kind of intelligence that is beyond the wounds, beliefs and score keeping of the mind.

When it comes to the split around the “offender” and the “offended,” I think of the gut. I think of the communities of bacteria and other organisms, both beneficial and harmful, that inhabit the digestive tract. Many of us know that the presence of the friendly microbes is a big predictor of gut health. They also contribute to immune and mental vitality, make vitamins, digest food and more yet to even be discovered.

A big focus in this area is the role that the friendly bacteria play in keeping the gut colonized so that the harmful bacteria cannot take over. Cannot tip the scales as it were towards imbalance; creating discomfort and disease. In a nutshell, with enough of the “friendlies” around, the “unfriendlies,” those things that would bring us harm, are squeezed out.

But not completely.

For though we might want to imagine a gut (or a life) with nothing harmful being present, not only is it not possible, it is actually not even desirable. As far as the body is concerned, it’s not even an aim. At all.

Huh?

You see, the body needs the mix.The body is built to be in the presence of harm, and to know exactly how to proceed. From this biological perspective, it is not about eradicating harm as much as it is about keeping the balance. As much as it is about recognizing that the presence of “harmful ones” gives the rest of the organism an opportunity to strengthen itself. A chance to clarify its role and position in the mix of all that is happening to and around the life of a body. A kind of necessary workout to the system on behalf of health.

We could think of our lives in the exact same way. For though it is easy to believe that our lives would be better off without that which produces harm, that would not actually be true. For when we meet up with that which is capable of inflicting injury, it gives us an opportunity to learn and to grow. It offers the exquisite experience of us mutating towards more resilience, more strength, and more built-in know-how through the exercise of defining what and who we are, against that which we are not.

With that said, this approach calls for a high degree of personal responsibility for it is so much easier to paint the world in black and white. So much easier to categorize our existence in terms of the black hats and the white hats. So much easier to label “harm” as the enemy to either be fought against or vanquished by. But in so doing, we miss out on one of the most essential teachings around being alive in a robust way; the ability to evolve by transmuting “the harm” we come in contact with in the service of evolution to a higher order.

A lofty idea that is made real by trying something basic. The next time you are up against “harm,” ask yourself the question; “If I were to suspend being the one who is harmed, what would be possible here?” What might I see? Learn? What balance might be brought to my life through exposure to that which I find offensive?

 

Relational Freedom

 

Last weekend I was away in New York City for a Movement Workshop. Every day we went through a blend of movement experiences that sometimes we did on our own, and sometimes in partnership with others. During one of the last exercises, I was partnered with someone whom I knew instantly, I did not want to touch, nor be touched by. Instinctively, and without thought, my body gave a clear and resounding message of revulsion. This did not happen on the thinking level, as in “that guy is gross or creepy,” but at the body level, where waves of unease and disgust washed over me. Over and over again.

There was absolutely no denying how I felt. Until, that is, a lifetime of conditioning rose up obliterating that most basic and fundamental body knowing. The primal information that said, “Do not partner with him.”  Instead, I felt myself giving over to all kinds of things. Like how this would look. Or how he would feel, or what he might do. Things like imagining I would be seen as socially unacceptable, hysterical, overly sensitive, bothersome, or problematic.

Add to that all of the subconscious programs that were running. The ones that say I do not have a right to say no. The ones that say there must be something wrong with me that I can’t just suck it up and deal with it. The ones that say I am making a big deal out of nothing. The ones that say that somehow this is my bad.

I do not blame him. Nor do I blame myself. What I am left with is the inherent messiness around being in relationship. I am left with the recognition of the burden that we all struggle under where our social and familial conditioning all too often squelches necessary and vital instincts. The very same ones that may at times run contrary to what is polite, expected or socially acceptable. I am left with the struggle of what it means to be a human being with an animal body, and how it is that I can both navigate and make use of important built-in instincts, while also being part of a social fabric that sometimes requires me to squelch base instincts for the good of the whole.

Upon returning home I happened upon a description about being in relationship where it was proposed that any interaction with another is not a 50/50 split. Instead, it is about being 100% responsible on your end for you, while the other person is 100% responsible on their end for them. Otherwise, it is an entanglement; a kind of imbalanced, unsatisfying and potentially harmful interaction.

I see this in the experience I had with this man. For if I could have acted in the moment, based on what was happening for me, it would have been a purely natural and situational response, as opposed to something traumatizing and personal. Like an animal encountering something in the wild that it was repulsed by, and just naturally moved away from. No judgment. No drama. No need to bypass anything. Just a kind of “This doesn’t work for me right now so I am going to go in another direction.” No explanation. No apology. No big story about what this means for me or for you.

But to do this requires lots and lots of permission. Permission to be in our bodies and to act on what we are feeling. Permission to get stuck and to make mistakes. Permission to step beyond social parameters. And most importantly of all, permission to decide for ourselves what and who we will move towards or away from. No matter what it looks like.

Moving towards what works for you and away from what does not is true relational freedom. This approach requires a lot of practice, and a lot of discernment, for it is not always as obvious as it seems on the surface. Truly, it is the work of a lifetime. And why not? Why not pour ourselves into understanding how we are in relationship? For is this not one of our greatest sources of both joy and pain? One of our greatest sources of both dissatisfaction and pleasure? Misunderstanding and recognition? Contentment and dis-ease?

This takes us to an undeniable Truth: It all begins with you. No matter the “who” or “what” of any given encounter. If this makes sense to you, it then requires a kind of willingness on your part to commit to being in your body, while learning to receive the signals it is sending you; every minute of every day.This skill not only makes for an authentic and satisfying life, but it goes on to become the basis for all that you do and all that you are; both on your own and in relationship.

And if you would like to try it but are unsure about how to start, begin by noticing something, anything, in your body when you are having an encounter with another person. Don’t judge it, try and fix it, or make it go away. Just be with it, seeing if you can sense what a “No” feels like, and what a “Yes” feels like, in your body. For any of us to be 100% accountable to our end of any relationship or encounter, we must always start with ourselves and our own experience. Then, and only then, do we factor in the other.

 

 

Seeing

 

A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience where a bug flew into my eye. This was unlike any other experience I have ever had of this nature. Without being dramatic, it felt like the equivalent of having acid thrown into my eye; leaving it red, painful, and swollen. Not only did the surface of my eye feel burned, it also felt as though I had been struck by a blunt instrument. For a couple of days, pus oozed out of it, and so, like an old school grandmother, I had to tuck a tissue into my waistband to have at the ready to soak up what was coming out of my eye.

Literally, for days there was not a single moment that the discomfort and the strain did not stand between me and whatever it was that I was doing. It was not until it had cleared, and an enormous sense of ease washed over me that I realized how hard I had been working; every single moment of every single waking hour. Until it was gone, I had no idea how much energy I had been expending. And while there was most certainly an uncomfortable physical reality, the real effort, and consequent exhaustion, emanated from the thoughts in my mind. All of the ways that I wanted it to be other than it was. All of the ways that I kept replaying what had happened over and over and over again. But most important and essential of all, all of the ways that I was focusing on the physical discomfort in an attempt to avoid the meaning underlying the experience.

Which brings me to the yogic practice of using the body as a doorway into a greater sense of who we are. A portal into deeper levels of our truest nature and our connection with All That Is. From this perspective, everything that happens in and to our bodies is an opportunity to travel a little deeper. Get to know ourselves a little better. Understand our connection to Spirit and our own souls a little more.This as opposed to getting hung up in limited ideas about what it means to be in a body. Getting caught up in the illnesses, ailments and accidents as if they were only something to be avoided, medicated against, done to us and gotten over.

To illustrate, I could just leave it at “a bug flew into my eye and it was an inconvenient, uncomfortable and sometimes socially awkward experience.” Or, I could tell you that at the exact moment that the bug hit my eye, I had gone from a very connected, open, grateful state of consciousness to a small, petty and resentful mind state. I could tell you that the experience was nothing more than some random thing that happened to me. Or, I could tell you that at the exact moment of contact, I knew that I had made a choice I did not want to get behind. I could tell you that The Universe played no part in this. Or, I could tell you that this was a Divinely guided moment to help me choose whether to look through the eyes of resentment, or through the eyes of love.

And while this may seem nutty or even downright untrue to some, the veracity of this is not the point. Nor is it up for grabs. The point is, and always will be, how we choose to see our embodied existence is always up to us. A choice we make each and every day. For the Truth is, where you wind up is most definitely based on how you choose to see.

 

Effort

 

Hips are my Achilles heel. The place where imbalances, misuse and conditioning all come together to form a perfect storm of discomfort, stiffness and pain. Recently, while noticing how clenched one of my hips was, I caught myself saying to myself; “I don’t need that level of effort to hold myself up.” The thought stopped me. And while I was talking to and about my musculature, it also served to reference a way of how I am in the world. As in all of the ways where I do more than my share, and then clench against the effort. The ways where I tighten up against what another is doing. Or not doing.

We all do it. “It” being the way we clamp down, tighten, stiffen, and over-effort. All of the ways that our bodies express and hold the tightness that our minds cannot seem to let go of. And while it is so very easy to be annoyed and frustrated by what the body is dishing up, it literally holds a truth the mind is just not capable of. But to know this takes practice and patience. It takes more than anything else perhaps, a willingness to want to know. To move beyond the inconvenience and the conditioning. To move even beyond the places where you feel like you do not know enough, or aren’t capable of this level of communication with your very own body.

So, next time some part of your body is sending out a strong signal of pain or imbalance, could you carve out some time, as soon as is possible, to be with your body for a few brief moments? Maybe it is in the bathroom at work, or right before you fall asleep, or sitting in traffic. Slow your breathing. Feel what your body is supported by. Then say, “If this part of me could speak, it would say…” And then really, really listen.

Do you hear anything being spoken by your body that in any way describes how you are doing? Or what you are up against? Some larger theme in your life? Where you are stuck? A place where you just can’t let go or move on? An effort that needs to be put down? A fight that cannot be won?

The body is a messenger, and as the old saying goes “Don’t shoot the messenger.” How about if we took this one step further? How about if we wholeheartedly embraced the messenger? Especially when we found the message to be impossible to bear.

I Am Here

 

“Am I here?”

I find this question, along with, “Where am I?” and  “How am I?” to be about the most important things I can ask of myself in any given moment. It sounds so simple. So obvious. So ridiculous even. Of course I am here. But am I? And if I am here, do I actually know how I am doing?

Too often our bodies are in one place, and our minds are in another. That means that we cannot actually be in relationship to who we are, where we are, what we are doing, and who we are with. Really think about that. If we are not in relationship to any of these things, how could we possibly know who we are and what it is that we need? And if we do not know who we are and what we need, how could we possibly know what choices to make; whether we are on the “right track” or not? Whether we are helping or hurting? Whether we are making it all up or not? Whether we are living our one true life, or playing out some well-rehearsed, habituated fantasy?

We are living as animated objects passing through some artificial background when the body is in one place and the mind another. This leaves us as little more than robots. Zombies. Automatons. It is as if we are actors walking across a stage, separate from the scenery that surrounds us, and the roles that we play. And it leaves us hungry. Yearning. Dissatisfied.

And it is from exactly this place, that it is so very easy to reach outside of ourselves to feel something. Anything. Just to feel. Just to know that we are here.

To be here is to feel. It is to notice. It is to bump up against. It is to take it all in as often as we can. It is to be in a body. As is. And to inhabit that body fully as the surest route to reminding us of who we are, and why we are here. To dive deeply and courageously into flesh and bone is to find out what it is that we truly need, and most important of all, to know that we are here.

Every morning and every evening as you lie in bed, put your hands on your body and say “I am here.” Just like you did when you were a kid and would scribble or graffiti  those words on some tree, or desk or sidewalk, with your name attached. A way of announcing to yourself and to the world the most important thing you could ever know, even without knowing, that you are here.

House Guests

 

It is always amazing to me how much can be learned just by paying attention to the ways that the most obvious occurrences in our lives relate to larger themes around how we are with ourselves, and with one another.

Recently, we had a house guest come to stay with us while he was in the area working on the new home he is building. As it was a night that I teach yoga, I came in on the later end of my husband and our guest finishing up with dinner. As I was sitting down, our guest asked if I would like some wine from the bottle he had brought with him as a thank you to us. I actually did not want any, but in an attempt to make him feel comfortable and show appreciation for his thoughtfulness, I said yes. To which my husband responded that he also would take a little, even though he had earlier declined.

The next morning I woke up feeling a little off. What’s going on? Am I getting sick? No, I realized, it was the wine. Despite the paltry amount that I had imbibed, what was leaving me “off” was the taking in of something that I did not want. It was the agreeing to something that did not suit me in order to stay in the good graces of another. It was the story that I had told myself about who I would be if I said no to his gracious offer.

Later that day, my husband mentioned that he had woken up that morning with a bit of a sinus headache. He attributed this to the wine. To the handful of sips that he too, had taken when he actually did not want any; getting into it only because I had taken some, and he didn’t want to seem ungrateful in light of my saying yes. He then went on to tell me that when he had seen our guest that morning he had asked him how he had slept. “Not good,” he was told, “I think it was the wine.”

Round and round and round we go with one another. Doing things we really do not want to do in order to please another. We do not want others to think we are rude, selfish, ungrateful, anti-social, or some other characterization that we have whipped up in our minds that we do not want them to label us as. It’s all so ironic. And sad. For in denying who and how we really are, we deny what we most yearn for; authentic and satisfying connection with others. And because we have not given ourselves permission to be as we are in any given moment, we cannot give permission for others to be as they are. Which leaves us coming together based on something that none of us are.

What if we leaned into, banked on, had faith in, that when we speak our truth in the company of another, no matter how difficult, awkward, inconvenient, or socially inappropriate, that it will always be for the best of all concerned? Despite any difficulties or hesitations that we might encounter.

In our home that night a domino effect was created. One that parallels what we do with one another on a regular basis. Our house guest brought something to us possibly because he felt like that was the thing you do when you stay at someone’s home; that we would  think him a thoughtful person for bringing us something. Or maybe un-thoughtful if he didn’t. My husband and I took something we did not want because we felt obliged, wanting him to feel at home with us and included; believing the false gesture of taking something we did not want would pave the way for him to feel welcome.

While there is nothing wrong with offering appreciation to another through a gift, there is most certainly something amiss when we allow ourselves to be locked into habit patterns with one another that keep us from allying with the truth of our experience. Whatever that truth may be. Whether or not that truth is convenient, inconvenient, easy to say or hear, hard to say or hear. It takes tremendous clarity, conviction, and courage to stand in the truth of your experience when in the company of another who has expectations of you. Or who you believe has expectations of you.

Can you imagine, though, what might happen if we all took responsibility for our own experience while in the presence of another, and acted on that as thoughtfully and straightforwardly as we could? Could you imagine letting go of the social “niceties” that keep us pinned to the wrong things? Can you imagine how good it would feel to not have to fake your way through an interaction?

And when we get hung up on how relating in this way is not possible for one reason or another, can we remember that, maybe, just maybe, we would all be doing one another a huge favor. That maybe over time, we would all let out a collective sigh of relief around the fact that we that we no longer had to act in ways that left us feeling “hungover” with one another.

Embodied Need

 

I teach yoga from the Kripalu Yoga Tradition. The core teachings hold that the body is central and seminal to who we are. It is what we come back to moment by moment; both on and off the mat. It is the entry point to Presence. It is the grounding place to further explore the mind and our relationship to Spirit. It is a starting locale for a healthy, happy life, and a deeper connection to All That Is.

Personally, this perspective and practice has saved me. It has provided me with a way not only back into right relationship with my body, but back into my life, and its connections to self, other, and Spirit. This is no small feat in the body-hating and alienating times and culture we live in. And in case you believe that the times we live in allow more freedom for how we express our bodies, personal and societal exploitation of the female form by both men and women does not, has not, and will never constitute a respect and reverence for the body; despite what many think, or have been taught to believe.

To come back to the body requires great skill in navigating your way through because many of us have come to see the body as a foreign, awkward, uncomfortable, de-personalized, and even dangerous place to inhabit. Which is why, as it turns out, so many of us just don’t. Which is why so many of us tap into whatever we can to avoid coming into contact with what is there through the seemingly infinite multitude of ways to numb out. We can do this so effectively and continuously as to dis-inhabit our bodies on a daily basis.

Take bodily need for instance. Pure, unadulterated, straight up, real live needs of the body.

An exploration of need would reveal that many of us have been told what it is that we need by an outside source. And that that telling has often been in contradiction to our direct experience of what it is that we actually need. And then, of course, there is all of the approval and the intrinsic reward of being someone who doesn’t “have needs.” Those of us who subjugate our needs for others. Those of us who never make a wave, issue a demand, or have any kind of a need that might even slightly inconvenience another, or rock the boat of the status quo.

How often have we been forced to accept what most assuredly does not truly feed us? Or make any sense at all to us. How often has the legitimate meeting of needs in our culture been relegated to the “needy” bin; disdained for its “inconvenient” and unsightly requests? How often have we been frozen and locked in terror around speaking a real need? How often have we been unaware that we actually have a choice around how our needs are expressed and met? How many years have we spent being conditioned into the inability to be able to properly identify what it is that we most need? Or bullied into believing that it is not safe to articulate such? And in how many ways have the avenues for healthy recognition and expression of our most basic human needs been closed off? Obliterated.

It takes great courage, commitment, and determination to know yourself at the level of raw human need. It is a scary and sometimes uncertain place. It is a place that might draw ridicule or censorship. Interestingly enough, the humiliation and censoring is just as likely to come from within as without. Through it all of course, is the conditioning that each of our minds creates, listing out all of the reasons why it would be best to not enter into the deep, dark, uncharted territory of pure human need. That it would be better to go without. Or accept what does not satisfy. Sadly enough, this level of neglect and denial will be supported by those around us who are trying just as hard as we are to deny and ignore real need.

Such a quandary. Where to begin in the midst of this? Why with the body, of course! And we begin with what is most basic. As basic as, do you know when you are hungry, and can you feed yourself in a way that nourishes? As basic as, do you know when you are tired, and can you allow yourself to rest? As basic as, do you know when it feels good or not to be in the company of another, and can you allow yourself to act accordingly?

The body cares not for clocks, outer imposed schedules, or social niceties. The body needs what it needs, when it needs it. Period. For your sake, and for the sake of the world, find a practice that puts you back in touch with the Timeless Truths of the body’s deepest and truest needs.

Participation

 

I am in a yoga class, and the teacher is encouraging us to be sincere about our willingness to pay attention to the signals that the body is giving us. Instead of forcing or imposing something on the body, she asks, “Could we consider participating with the movement of our breath, and the true rhythms of our bodies?”

I cannot get this question out of my mind.

What would it be like to participate with myself in this way? How would it feel? Where would it take me? To participate is to share in something. To take part of. To enter into. To join in. There is no part of this definition that proposes a “doing to.” Or worse yet, a “getting done to.”

Think about it. How often do you do something to your body that does not feel good to you? Maybe it is eating or drinking too much, or ingesting the wrong kinds of things for your constitution. Maybe it is not getting enough sleep, or satisfying movement each and every day. Maybe it is using sugar or caffeine to perk the body up, only to go through the inevitable crash later on. Why do we do this? How is it that we have created a kind of split within ourselves where we can be feeling and knowing one thing, and then choose something in violation of that?

And how is it that not only do we do these things to ourselves, but that we also “let them” get done to us? Maybe it means working in a job where the corporate culture does not make enough room to meet the basic needs of the body; ones like respect, hunger, elimination, a sane pace, and rest. Maybe it means being in relationship with people who are so unsupportive, difficult, or harmful to be around that the best our little bodies can do is to ingest emotional toxins and turn them into tension, fear, and armor in the body.

To participate with the body is to enter into a relationship that is already there. Already set up for us to join into. Already available to share with us the gems of what it means to be an embodied being. We have forgotten this because we have come to believe that we can live outside of ourselves. We have come to believe that we can override the instincts and the messages of the body. We have come to believe that not only can the body wait, but that it should be able to line up with our modern day machine ethics of going and working 24/7.

It demonstrates just how far we have gone astray as people that we even need to make this a thing that we remediate and work on. No baby needs to be taught this. Nor any toddler. It is only as we get more and more conditioned that we lose track of the truths of the body. That we start to ignore or abhor its functioning, its needs, and its wants.

Try this. The next time you feel at odds with what is happening in your body, pause. Take a breath. Then, gently ask your body; What do you need? And then, go get it. Or do it. Or stop doing it. Whatever it would take for you to honor the need and participate fully with your experience of being in this body, in this moment.

The truth is, the only way that we can participate in this life is through a body. There is no other way. No other option. Instead of seeing this level of participation as a chore, an inconvenience, or unnecessary, what if you made the decision to fully show up for what it was that was happening with your body? No questions asked. Only a willingness to learn to remember what you have forgotten, but that is coded deep within you. Just a curiosity and a commitment around how you could develop into becoming a better participant.

 

Embodiment

 

I am hung up in more traffic than I want to be in. It is hot. The glare of the day is wearing on me. I have to go to the bathroom. I am all done with the whole errand thing. Physically, and by association, emotionally, I am on overload. I just want to be home.

Because of how much I do not want to be where I am, I have found my way into an old thinking loop about someone else. None of what I am thinking about is pleasant, in my control, or any of my business. Suddenly I catch myself: Where are you, and why, of all places to be, are you here, in this particular place, in your mind?

Now, I could give you all kinds of reasons around why I am trapped in this ancient thought pattern from the past. And it would sound real, true, and legitimate. Yet, something in me knows better, and it has been revealed in the question I have been willing to ask myself.

What I see in this moment is that I have left myself. I have flown the coop of my own roost because it is just too uncomfortable to be here in this body right now. And as uncomfortable as the thought pattern about this other person is, it somehow feels preferable, less awful, than how I feel right now in my own body. Recognizing this, I jump into all of the sensations I have been avoiding.

I turn towards the heat which leads me to adjust the temperature in the car. I turn towards being done with errands, getting that message loud and clear; leading me to cross everything else off the list for the day. I turn towards needing to go to the bathroom, and decide that despite what my mind has said about waiting until I get home, I am going to use the porta potty at the farm; no matter what shape it’s in.

This all sounds so obvious. Ridiculously simplistic even. It almost feels embarrassing to point it out like it is some kind of revelation. And I could almost go there, except for the fact that I know better. And what I know is this. Despite how natural it should or could be to turn towards our most basic needs, we often do not. Despite how obvious it seems to make the adjustments we need to be comfortable across a day, we often do not. Despite the simple truth that as mammals this is built in, for far too many of us, we do not connect to this for it has been lost to us.

It is nothing short of revelatory to notice that when your mind is going nuts, there is a absolutely a physical origin or corollary. And that if you can crawl your way into the experience of being in a body, you will find the resolve you are seeking. Try it. The next time you are in a difficult mind state, ask yourself, Where Am I? Begin with the body.