How Body-Listening is the Key to Getting Unstuck and How to Begin Today
We spend a great majority of our existence out of sync.
We entangle and block our energy wrestling with disappointments over hopes and dreams gone adrift or promising relationships that eventually soured. Feelings of abandonment bob up and down in our psyche, disrupting well-laid plans. And of course, the continual disconnection to others is a never-ending sticking point in our story.
So we grapple with uncomfortable emotions, eventually turning the full force of our hostility upon ourselves, laying waste to a perfectly good life or at the very least, what could have been a productive day. And yet, with all the knowledge and wisdom available extolling how to heal ourselves, we still fall victim to the experience of being stuck.
What is this experience of 'being stuck'?
The energy of 'stuck' arrives and manifests differently depending on who you are. Endless turmoil in relationships is one marker for some. It stresses the mind, spirit, and body. Others are cemented in place by an inability to feel joy or purpose around work, career or finances. The inability to affect change in those areas has fastened many to a low-grade (sometimes high) feeling of dread and hopelessness.
Whatever area your 'feeling' of stuck resides, it tends to take centre stage in your life.
Until they are handled they'll make it difficult to feel any sense of ease or connectivity to your life. Think about the things you hope to achieve or experience, how much of your energy (mojo) is drained away ruminating about them? I'd guess quite a lot even if you're not consciously aware of doing so each moment of the day. A sense of foreboding is stored in your body magnetizing and attracting similar experiences in your inner and outer world.
A past mentoring client wrestled with an inability to choose their purpose. No matter what was suggested it was promptly dismissed by them stating it either didn't pay enough or they weren't excited enough by the idea to make it work. If she did manage to try something it somehow eventually faded away through boredom or self-sabotage. Not until we worked on the applied treatment and consistent use of inner-listening did her feeling of being stuck eventually dissolve finally allowing her to build and shift into purpose and passion without triggering a crisis to enact change.
Crisis is not the terrible matter we sometimes make it out to be. Author, Shakti Gawain, states that a 'healing crisis' occurs when we have outgrown an old pattern or way of being, but are still unconsciously holding onto that old way because it feels safe, secure and familiar.
You might have had your own version of a healing crisis and didn't respond to its call to change. Perhaps the thought of adapting to a new way of life or a new job, relationship or changing your address was too much to contemplate so you sidestepped the moment. Although the moment (crisis) may have passed, your circumstances remained unchanged setting you up for the next crisis to arrive.
I refer to these as 'knocks' from your soul. It welcomes forward movement, the shift to a new level of experience and is ready, and able to guide anyone willing enough to answer its call.
These moments of crisis are uncomfortable and can often be terrifying. It took a severe knock to my health for me to wake up to the call. You can read more about it here. It might entail your life falling apart, divorce, job loss and so on. Until you can see this for what it is, the internalized doom and gloom will continue. Standing in victimhood, blaming yourself and feeling like you've done something wrong won't help either.
So what can you do?
The body is the unconscious mind ~ Candace Pert
Being stuck is often reflected in the body as a feeling of congestion or contraction, such as holding yourself rigid. Noticing how you express yourself through your body language is a form of listening. For the most part, we are detached from our bodies, which leads to being detached from knowledge of ourselves. You see this clearly in others; their jaw is tight when they speak, shoulders are hunched close to their ears and they fidget. In contrast, you see those that have a sense of open friendliness, and ease of motion and symmetry along with a pleasing tone and quality to their voice.
Our body is like a vast weather barometer. It changes then responds and reacts to internal and external conditions. You have an incredible opportunity to use the subtle and not-so-subtle changes in your body to ask yourself questions like, 'what's this about? Whenever I feel like my body is experiencing fear, dread or discomfort of any kind, I immediately shift to self-inquiry. Through the practice of co-working with my soul-energy, I am able to work and smooth out discordant feelings so they don't hijack my mind and subsequently, my day and work.
Peter Levine, in his book Waking the Tiger, suggests that holding places in the body comes from a response to fear or trauma in which an arousal pattern is evoked but not completed. For example, someone hurts you, and to shout back or run would be too risky so you hold back. The fight or flight responses were never completed (adrenaline rush, cortisol spike, muscle tensing etc.) and didn't have the opportunity to complete the cycle therefore they melted back into the body unresolved.
"Swallowing" our emotions places a terrible toll on our being. It leads to exhaustion, anxiety or depression. Becoming unstuck is about moving from constricting and frustration to flow, vitality, ease and an increase in your mojo-power. It's about an internal ability and stability that allows you to experience calm amid life's storm, accept the 'what is' so you're not continually battling and demeaning yourself. It's about having the courage and confidence to make major changes without losing the ability to soothe yourself and lose sight of the little things that bring you joy.
Body Listening Exercises
Breathe and calm yourself. Once relaxed, close your eyes and take a journey through your body. Move through each part like you're moving through a tunnel with a flashlight. Notice any tension or congestion or even pain. Whenever you come to a tense or blocked area, stay there and breathe with it, focus on it, and if brave enough, lean in and listen to its story. It has one.
Now notice any physical experiences you might have (fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, loneliness, lack of assertiveness or happiness, joy, feeling cared about). Do any of them reflect places in your body you feel stuck?
Your body knows. It knows the story of how it got stuck and holds the key to unblock itself. Learn to listen.
I invite you to check out the Mastering Next-Level Courage, Confidence + Charisma online self-study program where the topic of self-inquiry is discussed in greater depth.