Map Your Path to Nirvana

This post is by Sarah Wagner Yost of sarahwagneryost.com.

The body is the clearest way there. It processes information much more quickly than the brain does. Because the body never lies, it is the most reliable divining rod we have. By listening to the yes/no signals bodies regularly dispense, you can get simple and trustworthy messages about how to manage your time, easily tell if your spouse is lying, and even know what and when to eat.

You don’t have to do yoga to get the message

In touch

Image by Randy Son of Robert, licensed under Creative Commons

Even if you feel more like a floating head than an integrated body whisperer, you can easily tune into what your body has to say. This exercise will demonstrate how clearly the body communicates.

Imagine doing something you really don’t like doing. Let that grow large in your imagination. Now, notice what you feel in your body. What do you feel in your chest? How about your stomach? Do you feel contracted or expanded? Can you tell if your energy feels fluid, heavy or spiky?

This is the way your body communicates to you that something doesn’t work for you. Martha Beck calls this state “Shackles on.”

Now, imagine someone for whom it’s very easy for you to love. Let that thought grow large in your imagination. Now, notice what you feel in your body. What do you feel in your chest? How about your stomach? Do you feel contracted or expanded? Can you tell if your energy feels fluid, heavy or spiky?

This is the way your body communicates to you that something does work for you. Martha Beck calls this state “Shackles off.”

Your to-do list

Consider several things you have to do over the next couple of days. Think about each item and notice if it feels contracted or expanded. If it feels contracted, don’t do it. Either scratch it off the list, change your thinking about it or ask someone else to do it.

Lie detector

Have you ever just known someone wasn’t telling you the truth but couldn’t prove it? Maybe there was no reason to believe they would lie because either the lie didn’t matter or they were generally trustworthy. Yet, you knew something wasn’t right. That’s because your body was processing subtle, quick signals from them that they weren’t being honest. Your brain didn’t believe it, but the body never lies. So, when your body contracted in the presence of their lie, it was signaling to you that you weren’t hearing the truth.

Diet

Try the body test with the food you eat. Next time you want to eat ice cream, notice if your body feels contracted or expanded at the idea of it. Do the same thing with traditionally “good” foods like fruits or vegetables. Notice how your body responds.

Have you ever listened to your body before? What has it directed you to do? Share your experience in the comments. I’d love to read them.

Sarah Wagner Yost is a mind-body life coach. She runs the Shiny Object School. If bright, shiny objects get in the way of getting your things finished, she can help. You can find her at www.sarahwagneryost.com. Working with her is better than Valium. Get her weekly action item to feel better fast here, friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Paula says:

    Hi Sarah, I appreciate your insight and ideas but found myself stuck on one thing, the contract and expand idea.

    You said, “Consider several things you have to do over the next couple of days. Think about each item and notice if it feels contracted or expanded. If it feels contracted, don’t do it. Either scratch it off the list, change your thinking about it or ask someone else to do it.”

    My reality sits in the land where I don’t have someone else to do something that makes me contract. For example, I dispise washing dishes, but as a stay-at-home mom with younger kids, they help sometimes, but sometimes I just have to grin and bear it. I feel expanded when I see the kitchen clean without dishes.

    Have you never faced a moment where you need to do something but you just don’t want to do it?

    • Sarah Yost says:

      OMG Paula, yes. If you don’t want to get rid of an activity and don’t want to or don’t have someone else to do it, you need to make it better.

      Let’s talk dishes specifically. What can you do to make that chore better?

      Listen to something great–a book on tape, good music, a podcast while you do them.
      Bribe yourself after doing them.
      While doing them, talk on the phone to someone you tell yourself you don’t have time to talk to.
      Whatever else you love that you can do to ratchet down the suck factor. :)

      So even if you don’t love the activity itself, you can be peaceful and even have fun doing it anyway. Does that make sense?

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