There's no place like home ...
Have you ever arrived home from a vacation and just felt every cell in your body drop and ground down? Like you were exactly where you were meant to be? You went, you did, you saw ... and now you are HOME!
What if I told you that home wasn't a place, but a feeling?
What if I told you that this feeling was available to you, regardless of your geographical location?
This feeling is called embodiment or mind-body connection. Our body is our most intimate form of home available to us. It is the home of our spirit and our essence. The more we can become comfortable with bodily sensations, emotions and gut feelings, the more at home we become in our body.
Here in North America we live very much in a society that encourages living from the neck up. We learn to analyze, judge and critique in order to make choices. Our mind is important. It keeps us connected to our community and helps us engage with the world in a way that makes sense. But here's the thing: Our mind is our very best servant and our worst master. If we live from a cognitive space only and pay no attention to our heart, our gut and our body, then we are negating an intelligence that encompasses so much more than our little skull can cradle.
Here is where embodiment comes in. Sensing our body can bring the frantic noise of the mind down a few notches. Engaging with our bodily sensations can give us clarity to where we need to go next. Showing our body appreciation, nurturance and love makes us feel safe and worthy to be here. Getting to know the fabrics, the materials that make up the walls and the roof of our "home" enables us to switch off the fight or flight response and come into a parasympathetic state of calm, restoration and peace.
When we connect with the parasympathetic response, we make choices that are more in alignment with who we really are and what we really want. We are kinder to our loved ones. We find more joy in the mundane. We become brighter, more present, more aware. We regain our vitality.
Doesn't that sound juicy, delightful, wonderful?
Here are a few ways to foster your mind-body connection:
Breathe: Stop what you are doing and simply notice your breath. Where does it fill? Where is to constricted? How does it feel? Can you make your inhales deeper, longer? Can you make your exhales smoother, longer? Try this breathing exercise:Inhale for the count of 4. Exhale for the count of 8. Do this for up to two minutes and notice its effect on the way you feel.
Move. Yoga, running, walking, biking, gym, swimming, dancing .... There are many ways in which you can find movement. But don't just follow the motions. Really feel into the way your body wants to move! If you are running, tune into your hips and your legs. Notice what your spine is doing. If you are dancing, don't think about what others are thinking - find your self expression! If you are practicing yoga, find more fluid, circular motions instead of keeping movements linear. Not only does moving your body bring your awareness there, it also helps shift stagnant energy and emotions. Such great medicine. Don't focus on the shape, focus on the feeling.
Meditate. This doesn't have to be sitting with your legs crossed on a hard floor. It's more simple than that. Meditation can even be simply laying in bed for 5 extra minutes with the intention of noticing. Noticing how you feel inside your body and noticing sounds and sensations in your environment. Noticing thoughts and emotions and letting them float through you, like clouds in the sky. Make a commitment to sit or lay in mindful meditation for 5-10 minutes per day and notice how it impacts yourself and others.
These strange times of social distancing and quarantine can take us out of our body and into our frantic mind. More than ever it is important to ground down and get to know ourself, our body and our home.
Namaste & much love,