Wisdom of the Body: Coaching to Ignite Transformation By Martha Lasley
The body is an opening, a way to union even though we may perceive it to be an enclosure, a little fortress with some awareness inside.
The body is an opening, a way to union even though we may perceive it to be an enclosure, a little fortress with some awareness inside. The body is a passageway, an entry into a cathedral. It is the door to spaciousness. When we become aware of the body in this way, we begin to experience life differently and might even feel the presence of invisible forces, wisdom bearers that can give strength, compassion and understanding to us in our everyday affairs. – Stephen Schwartz
We can use our body as a fortress or as a cathedral – protecting ourselves from the possibility of pain or danger, or opening ourselves to the beauty and wisdom in every cell. We’re taught to trivialize our bodily sensations because we’re afraid of suffering, eros, or narcissism. So we close ourselves to our deepest yearnings, our desire for love and freedom, our hunger for expressing from the deepest parts of ourselves.
As coaches, we can support people in honoring the intuitive wisdom emanating from the body. In every moment, our subconscious speaks to us through our bodies, using a language that is as rich and informative as the language of our native tongue. Our bodies communicate continuously, informing our intuition, which is also known as sixth sense or somatic intelligence.
When we respect the body’s intelligence, we raise our consciousness and can make meaning from our immediate experience, without the filters that accompany verbal expression. Language is more abstract - one-step removed from our actual experience - because we edit, label and summarize our somatic-emotional experience.
Instead of relying so heavily on conversation, we can facilitate growth by using the body as a rich resource to process emotions, instincts and intuition. Listening to the full wisdom of the body reveals emotional patterns, energy shifts and opportunities for transformation. Including the body helps people understand their needs at the cellular level and fully embody their conscious choices. Since learning happens in the body, a daily embodiment practice helps people shift an old habit to a new one.
Our desire for change starts in our body. To accept the sacred nature of our bodily experience, to attune to our body’s vibrations gives us a felt sense of our internal wisdom that nourishes us. If we don’t know how we’re feeling, we can scan our bodies for sensations and experience the waves of energy, which invariably have a message that helps us discover our emotions. We may notice trembling, tensing, aching, or tingling in different parts of our body.
The world of thought and evaluation is a tiny fraction of the knowledge that is available to us. Paying attention to the body gives us a deeper sense of our innate wisdom. Without evaluating or manipulating our experience, or pressuring ourselves to change, we can come to new discoveries just by witnessing and opening to what is. If we attend to the subtlest cues and stay very quiet, we come into contact with our energy. The spark within ignites transformation. Whether we’re experiencing pure bliss, mild restlessness or utter outrage, riding the waves of energy and honoring the emerging forces within is an act of self respect.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martha Lasley is a founder of Leadership that Works, home of the Coaching for Transformation program that offers an ICF accredited coaching certification programs geared toward supporting nonprofit leaders and social change activists.