“You’re No Good”

A voice inside is saying, ” You’re no good.” Pause and take that in. You might notice how you feel when you hear this.

You might feel that it’s true, that you’re no good. If this is what comes, now is a good time to sense your feet grounded on whatever they are touching, to feel your body supported by whatever you are sitting on, and to take a breath as you pause.

You might invite yourself to be curious, like a scientist or an explorer. You might even say to yourself, “This is so interesting. I am curious about it.”  Now, bring your attention to this something that says, “You are no good.”

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Sense how it is it right now inside your body, especially in that whole middle area of the body.  Inside you might feel tense, tight, narrow or some other way. Notice how that is.

You may notice this sense of constriction in some specific part of your body, perhaps in the throat, chest, or belly. Notice where it is. You might say to yourself, ‘I’m sensing something in my <part of body> that’s feeling <tight, constricted, or some or way> and it is saying, “You’re no good” <or whatever criticizing thing is saying>.”

Now, just as you might say hello to someone you pass on the street, you might say ‘hello’ to that something in you that is saying that you’re no good. You might say something like, “Oh, Hello, I see you are there.”

You might be thinking now, “Say hello? Don’t be ridiculous. This is just me, my mind. It’s is always saying things like this!  I just try to ignore it.”

But, rather than ignore it or push it away, you might just give this a try. Say ‘hello’. Now pause and feel how that is when you say hello. Maybe something relaxes or melts away or perhaps you sense it is wanting more of your attention. If that’s the case, bringing your awareness to it in a pleasant and nonjudgmental way is a good way to start to get to know it.

Letting it know that you know it is there is a first step to coming into a relationship with it, just as you might say hello to someone as a first step to beginning a conversation.

When you stop and pay attention you may notice that it’s not coming from inside your inner body. It may seem to come from just over there, outside your skin envelope, maybe a little to one side or the other or behind you. That’s OK. The body goes beyond the skin. It radiates out into its environment.

This something that is criticizing you, is just trying to protect you. It’s really afraid that something bad is going to happen to you. Remember when you were little and your mother would warn you that if you didn’t wear your coat when you went outside that you were going to get sick? This voice you hear is like your mother’s. It’s worried something is going to happen to you, so it says something bad to keep something bad from actually happening.  It is trying its best to protect you.

But guess what! Even though it is doing its best, it actually can’t protect you from anything. And, if you keep it company and listen to it like you would a friend, it will know that you can take care of yourself and it will relax, let go, and after awhile melt away.

Its releasing may not happen quickly. You may need to spend some time with it. If this feels like a big job, you can say to yourself. “There’s plenty of time. I am the space big enough for whatever needs my attention now.” And, if you need to bring your attention to other things in your life, you can let it know that you are willing to come back to it if it needs your attention. That way it knows that you’re not just trying to get rid of it. It can trust you.

Try this out the next time a voice inside is criticizing you and let me me know how it goes for you. I welcome your comments and questions.

On Autopilot?

Mostly, we go about our day on autopilot. It makes sense that we do not consciously have to decide moment-by-moment, what next. We just do what we do. Every day, we get up, get dressed, brush our teeth, wash our faces, get our kids off to school, go to work, eat, drive, and so on without thinking about what we are doing.

This is not a bad thing. Imagine the effort we would expend to consciously and repeatedly make the same decisions and navigate the same minutia of the same activities day after day. Perhaps exhausting.

On the other hand, when on autopilot we cannot savor what is right here, right now for us; we are not fully present and alive. We might be missing feeling the joy of even the simplest activity. Or, we might be missing something that some part of us might be trying to tell or show us.

What? you might be asking. Who cares!  And, you might also be sensing some budding curiosity in discovering what might come forward by spending a little time with something that doesn’t seem to need any attention at all.

How about bringing your full attention to some routine activity: Brushing your teeth, drinking a coffee or eating a doughnut or bowl of cereal, getting dressed, or driving to work?

Exploring bringing your awareness to something simple that we all do, like brushing our teeth, is a good place to start. Let’s do it.

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Notice how you pick up the brush, apply the toothpaste, and turn on the water. Really pay attention as you hold the brush. Be aware of which hand and kind of grip you use.  Sense how it feels to hold the brush. Now, squeeze the toothpaste onto the brush. What do you see? How would you describe the toothpaste going onto to the brush? And, the water? What do you notice?

Now bring your attention to brushing your teeth. Notice your stroke. Maybe you go up-and-down, side-to-side, round-and-round or some other combination of moves. Sense what it feels like as the brush contacts the the teeth and gums. Notice the texture of the toothpaste mixing with your saliva and how it tastes. What’s your tongue doing?  Do you swallow? Tune into how it feels inside, in your body.  Be aware of looking in the mirror and how that is. Notice when you decide to stop brushing and how that feels.

Be aware of how you finish up.  Perhaps you rinse your mouth, or not. Notice each step you take to clean and put away the brush. Notice your hands and how they feel as you do this.

Perhaps take a moment now and reflect. How was this different from brushing on autopilot? You might be surprised. Welcome whatever comes to you.

Perhaps your senses of taste, sight, touch, hearing, and smell have woken up. How was that? Maybe you noticed something you enjoyed or something that felt unpleasant. Take a few moments to describe what has come for you.

If something pleasurable is there, take your time and let it be there as fully as it wants to be. Now sense how that feels inside, in your body, having done that.

Perhaps it has brought forward something that is wanting your attention, something that doesn’t feel quite right, stuck, painful, or out-of-place.  It might have come as a feeling, a memory, an image, or a story. Check that out and see if something like that is there for you. If it is, you might say hello to it and let it know that you are willing to come back to it and spend time with it. Now notice how doing that feels inside.

This is it. Even the simplest, most routine and mundane activity is alive for us when we pay attention. And, by paying attention what springs forward may be pleasant and flowing and/or open us to something in us that given our compassionate attention and active listening moves us forward in our lives with just rightness.

Why Don’t You Eat A Cookie

I was deep in a Focusing session the other day, spending time with something in my lower belly that felt so young, alone and scared. I sensed that it was vulnerable and that I should go slowly and be very gentle. This something didn’t say anything but it showed me a small, wrinkly, brown nut-like thing. I could see that there was a lot of barren earth around it. I sensed what kind of contact it would like from me and it let me know that it was OK to just be there with it.

With this invitation to stay with it, I sensed how cold and alone it was and also that it would be Ok to observe it more closely. My gentle presence was with it more closely, almost as though I was looking at it through a magnifying glass. I noticed how furrowed one wrinkle was and how it appeared cracked and parched.

Just then as I was doing this something else popped up to the right side of my abdomen and outside my skin envelope. I sensed that even though it seemed to be outside my body, it was really in my body. It was in my energy body that extends just beyond the physical skin barrier.

I sensed it was very anxious and it said quickly, “Why don’t you eat a cookie.” I replied, “Oh, hello, I see you are there.”

It followed up, ” Just eat it.”

I mirrored back to it, “I’m sensing you’re saying, ‘Just eat it.’

“Come on. Just eat it. You’ll feel so much better.” I could really sense how anxious it was and how everything felt like it was speeding up. I noticed a churning in my belly like with a thick, harsh wooden paddle.

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Everything felt like it was both closing in and churning. The space felt tight and anxious and swallowed up. There was no getting out. Then it came to me that perhaps it might not even know that I, my larger, spacious self, was there. Perhaps my larger self had merged with it, so to speak, leaving no separation between it and me. So I sensed if that felt right. I invited it to let me know if it knew that I was there. No response, just the tight, anxious, tight churning. This was a wonderful discovery!

In Focusing it is important to be with, acknowledge and build a relationship with whatever is there needing our attention. When we merge with some part of us it is not possible to do this because there is no space between the something and us; there is no separation; we feel that we are the something.

So, I slowly felt my feet on the ground. I felt the backs of my legs, my buttocks, and my back in contact with the chair I was sitting on. I brought my awareness to these points of contact and noticed how the chair held my body. I kept my attention there for a time so I could really feel the support and allow my body to settle into it. I then brought my awareness to my breathing just as it was, noticing the in-breaths and out-breaths and the pauses in between. Then I brought my awareness inside my body and into that whole middle space that includes the chest, stomach, and belly. I took my time like I was arriving to some new place and looked around. And, as I did this I gently said inwardly, “I am the space big enough for whatever needs my attention now.” Then I brought my awareness to the space again. I could sense the space and how calm it was.  Then I sensed freshly in my body inviting what wanted to be known about “Eating a cookie”  and waited sensing if it was there or not, or if perhaps something different was there.

Perhaps you have had this experience. You feel you are the something that’s going on inside. You are the emotion. You are the reaction. Noticing this is a gift; it is a signal to step back and bring your awareness to your body in the space around you, to what is supporting your body, to your breathing. And then you respectfully bring your awareness inside your body, sensing that whole middle area and gently reminding yourself that you are the space big enough for whatever needs your attention right now. This is how you bring yourself into presence. When you are in presence you sense and say “hello,” be with, and build a relationship with whatever comes, no matter how it shows up. And, if and when you need to you replenish your presence of self, you take some time to do it gently and respectfully.

An Important Discovery – The Felt Sense

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At one time or another you may have experienced something like this in your body: A vague physical feeling that comes in response to some situation or aspect of your life. Perhaps it has come as “something in my chest that feels really tight like a drum,” or as “a hard knot in my stomach,” or “as a big lump in my throat.” Perhaps it has come in some other way. The ways that it can show itself are endless.

Perhaps you are saying, “Yes, I’ve felt something like that.” Perhaps you are curious now and are wondering what it is all about. Or perhaps you say, “So what!”

If you’ve felt something like this before then you are on the brink of discovery. And, if you haven’t you are also right there, too. You just need to turn your attention inside and sense how your life is going right now and wait for something to show you in your body. Your attention might be drawn to some situation or activity.

For example:

You might sense how it is going with friends. Perhaps a friend has canceled an outing you were looking forward to or something else is going on right now.

Or you might sense how it is going with your children. Maybe your child has just shouted, “Leave me alone! I hate you.”

At work, perhaps another colleague, and not you, has received acknowledgement for a project you worked very hard on.

Or perhaps there is something that you are wanting to do and for some reason you don’t do it.

These are some examples of how your life may be going right now. You may feel bad in some way or that something is not just right about a situation. And that vague, unclear feeling that feels “like a metal ball in my belly” is part of you that is wanting your attention about all that.

So bring your attention inside your body to that rich middle area that includes the throat, the chest, stomach, and belly.  Sense inside your body for that vague, physical feeling. When you sense it, say hello to it. Let it know that you know it is there. And then, once again sense how it feels in your body. You might notice a little shift or you might notice that it is wanting some company. If it is wanting some company stay with it listening deeply. It may share more with you.

What you have discovered is the felt sense. It is something to welcome. It is something that we all have! It is like a lamp at the entrance of a dark alley. It is something that draws our attention and guides our awareness. Getting to know our felt senses is how we can tap into what is important for us in our lives. Stay tuned for more.

Stuck?

What? You Suggest I Do What?

Invite in that stuck feeling.

You are suggesting I invite in this stuck feeling. Really?

Yes, invite it in. You’re wanting something in your life. You’re wanting to do something. It’s meaningful to you. And, yet, you don’t do it. Something is awry. Something feels stuck. Something is not wanting to do what you are wanting. Go ahead, invite it in and sense it freshly in your body right now.

Stuck

That’s right. Don’t shy away from it or push it away. That stuck feeling is here for some good reason. You can sense something there in your body. Maybe in your throat, or chest, or stomach/belly. Something is there in that middle space of your inner body. It is feeling stuck and needs to share with you. Go ahead. It’s there now. Say hello. Keep it company like you would a good friend.

All it is needing is a good listener, like you when you are in presence. It’s needing the company of your open, flowing, spacious and compassionate self.  That state of being that welcomes whatever comes.

You mean welcomes even that in me that feels horrible, stuck and painful? Do you really mean even that?

Yes, even that.  Your Self-in-Presence welcomes all that comes, says hello, and sits down with each one, listening deeply and acknowledging with deep empathy.

Ah, you say you’ve been listening.

That’s good.

And now what? What do I do now?

You might sense how it is feeling from its point of view. What it is not wanting for you. What’s it’s not wanting to happen to you and not wanting to you to feel.

OK, it’s letting me know how it is for it. It’s letting me know what it is not wanting for me.

Great. That’s right you’re listening deeply to it.

And, now what?

If it feels right, let it know that you can really sense how it is for it. You really get what it’s not wanting for you.

Ah, it’s changing now. It’s relaxing and there’s a breath. It is opening and flowing.

You might let that feeling of opening and flowing be there as fully as it wants.

Yes, it wants to be here. I’m enjoying it, actually.

That’s good. Steep in that feeling.

Ah, there is something more. It’s a sense of rightness.  A sense of the next right step to take. Yes, it is here, the next right step for me.

Wonderful. You might gather up that next right step and take it with you into your life.  And, perhaps also thank your body for sharing.

Your awareness expanding now to the world around you. And, off you go. Stuck no more.

The Body Moves Into Nature

Imagine how it would be for us if the most important part of our day would be the time we are in nature. To take off our shoes and feel the earth beneath our feet. To feel the sunlight and wind on our skin. To breath deeply taking in the scent of trees, plants, flowers. To hear birds singing and the swoosh of flight. To taste the salt of the sea, the dryness of the desert, the dense moistness of the forest.

We human beings are intimately connected to the earth. Our Mother Earth comprises not just the soil, rock, and water beneath our feet but also the deep mantle and deeper core. So, too, it is the air we breathe and the atmosphere that keeps us upright and moving.  We intuitively understand this intimate and essential connection–this oneness. And yet, so often we ignore it.

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Our lives are busy, our schedules are over-the-top full, and the demands we and others place on ourselves have us living in a state of forgetfulness. The thought of our connection, our natural affinity, and our essential need to be in nature slips from our consciousness.

Let us remember why we need this essential connection with the earth. Humans evolved not in cities, not in urban sprawl, or on highways, but in forests, on the grasslands of the plains, in the mountains, and on the waters. Let us consider that our bodies are interaction with the environment and that this interaction allows us to know before knowing.

Let us consider this.

  • Our connection is vital. The earth’s magnetic resonances vibrate at the same frequency as human heart rhythms and brainwaves. Our energies are one with the earth.
  • We feel better in a green environment. Being in nature for as little as five minutes a day reduces stress. Even looking at photos and pictures of nature can reduce stress.
  • The absorption of sunlight stimulates the production of Vitamin D which protects us from cancer, depression, and osteoporosis. Sunlight balances our mood, helping to keep us on an even keel.
  • Using our bodies in space by walking or running on an uneven terrain, uses a broader range of movement as well as fine-motor movement and more fully engages our balance. The more surely we move in our environment, the more secure we feel.
  • When we are in a natural environment, we can exercise the eyes by frequently roaming between far and near and thus creating more variation. Training the eye muscles in this way helps to keep our physical vision strong. And, by being in and attuning to nature, we also exercise and strengthen our subtle sense of sight–that ability to see beyond what’s there on the surface.
  • Living with close proximity to and interacting with green and water helps to protect us from lung and thyroid diseases, depression, anxiety, and diabetes among other ailments. Being in balance with our outer natural environment also balances our inner environment all the way down to out cells.

Let us re-define health, to mean not only the absence of disease, but also the balance of the bodymind with our natural environment. In this way, we see that removing ourselves from nature is detrimental to our health and well-being.

Let us choose. Select one activity routinely done inside on a regular basis and move it outside to nature. Instead of the treadmill walk, jog, or run outside. Instead of the stairmaster, climb a hill or even find some outdoor stairs. Instead of indoor rowing, go kayaking or canoeing, or find a row boat in a pond. Instead of driving, walk or ride a bike.  Instead of texting, watching TV, or surfing the Internet walk around the block or walk to a local coffee shop and meet a new friend. Instead of eating in the car or on the run, stop at a park and eat on a bench. Instead of meditating or doing yoga on the cushion or mat, move outside to the natural world.

Choose to live as we are meant to live in our most essential natural world.

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation).

Danger! Threat! Fear!

Did you know that fear keeps us alive? It is essential to our survival. In the face of danger, we become afraid and parts of the brain activate the fight flight reaction.

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Both western science and ancient Chinese Five Element theory recognize fear as that emotion that helps keep us alive. In Five Element theory fear is associated with kidney energy or qi. Kidney qi is of a special type. It supports the body in reproducing, growing, and developing–the bodily life cycle. So, it is not surprising that fear works with kidney qi to keep us alive.

From a western scientific perspective, fear arises from a perceived threat and we experience the physiological response called fight flight or the stress response. Fear is an important element of fight flight because when we feel fear that’s a signal to us that we need to pay attention, not just react but really pay attention.  Here’s why. So important to our survival is fight flight that when a threat stimulus reaches the thalamus, its first processing point in the brain, the same stimulus takes two different processing paths. The short route is rough and fast. The long route brings in higher processing and is much more precise but is also slower.

The short and long processing works like this. Suppose we’re hiking through the woods and just up ahead, we see something. It looks like a long narrow shape coiled up on the path. The short route says, “Must be a snake!” “Snake,” says the amygdala, “I’ll tell the hypothalamus to turn on the stress response!” At the same time, the long route sends the information to the cortex for higher processing, “Wait a minute. It kind of looks like a snake but is it really?  No, it isn’t. It’s twisted woody vine.” But, let’s check in with explicit memory.” The explicit memory is consulted through the hippocampus. “This is twisted woody vine. I’ve seen this before.” Word is sent to the amygdala. “No snake! Just twisty woody vine.”  The message is received and more messages tell the nervous system to reset.

The fight flight response causes physiological changes in our body via the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. These include elevations in perspiration and heart and respiratory rates. It makes sense. If we’re going fight or flee, we need muscle power and that means we’d better have oxygen and blood flow going to the muscles so we can punch harder or run faster. “Snake! Run!”

At the same time that the sympathetic nervous system is ramping up glucose production, it is also making other less noticeable but just as important physiological changes in the body. The pupils dilate, blood is drawn away from the skin to the muscles alas the saying, “white as a sheet,” when someone is really afraid. Parasympathetic modulated responses such as digestion and large intestine and bladder functions cease. The body is so focused on fight or flight that the bowel and bladder may even empty spontaneously.

When  a threat presents itself, fear arises and the stress response system turns on. When the danger passes, our fear evaporates and the nervous system shakes off the stress response by re-balancing its sympathetic and para-sympathetic branches. Animals in the wild literally shake all over once danger has passed.

But what happens when our nervous system isn’t able to shake it off? This happens when one perceived threat is followed by another one before the nervous system has had time to reset. This is the dilemma of our modern life. The dangers and threats we face are not tigers looking for their next meal and usually, not even snakes in our path. We face a plethora of perceived dangers often driven by our own thoughts. We are afraid of not having enough of what it takes to meet the challenge that lies ahead. Perhaps we are afraid we can’t complete or achieve that which we aspire to or that we are inadequately prepared for what we might be asked to do. “Will I get laid off?” “Is this relationship going to fall apart?” ” What’s going to happen at work today? Will my project get approved?” “Do I have enough money to pay the mortgage this month?”  These are all survival fears! And, one after another they arise without ever giving our bodies time to reset. The result? We live in a state of fear and physiological stress. It takes its toll on our health and well-being. Our kidney qi gets zapped.

If we don’t do something non-stop fight flight or stress response can turn from something that saves us into something that kills us. What can we do?

We can pause. Remember that when  a threat appears, we feel fear and the brain processes it both on a short,  fast track and on a long, slow tract. The fast track processing gives a quick and rough appraisal to the amygdala, “Ah, it looks like a threat. Better to act now than be sorry.”  But, if we pause, we allow the long tract enough time to process. The higher processing of the cortex and explicit memory via the hippocampus can weigh in. Is this really a threat? No, it isn’t. The body can relax.

Our fear is a signal. It is a signal to pause and bring our awareness inside to the whole thing about the perceived threat.  We can make contact with it by saying, I’m sensing something in me that’s really afraid … .” We can acknowledge it by saying, “Hello, I see you’re there.” We can keep it company with interested curiosity and when it is ready to tell us something, we can listen mindfully, with our full attention, non-judgementally and with compassion.  We can ask, “What is this wanting to happen?” or “What is this not wanting to happen?” This practice of pausing with awareness can save our lives. It can keep the fight flight, stress response at an appropriate level. Turned on when necessary; turned off when not. It can keep our body mind in balance, healthy and well.

Worried Sick?

Worry, like anger, joy/sadness, grief, and fear is a natural emotion. For thousands of years, we have recognized the energy of worry as that energy which triggers thinking. The feelings of worry–uneasiness and concern– move us to think how to satisfy the worry.

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In its natural form, worry is healthy. And like all healthy emotions worry moves.  Worry moves us to think. Thinking moves us to a solution. Then worry releases leaving as naturally as it arrived in us. This movement from worry to thinking to solution is something we do every day.

Suppose that we live by a river. In the spring, we notice that the rains swell the river.  Sometimes the river becomes so full, it overflows its banks. Our house is right there and we notice that when the river overflows, the water approaches our house. We notice that it comes close, just to the border of our garden.

Now, worry arises in us. We worry that the water could flood the house! So what happens? Our worry leads us to think how to protect our house. “What can we do to protect the house from being flooded by the river’s waters?” We ask ourselves. “Ah, we can bring sand bags to protect the house; or we can put the house on stilts; or we can work with others in the community to build a higher levee to protect our homes.”

Our thinking gives us options;  we have three here already. It also helps us to see which one fits best. Ah, sandbags seem best. We discover that the city stocks them every year for residents just like us. We make note of where the city stockpiles are and how to get there on several different routes. We note that the sandbags are within five minutes of our house. Deep breath. We have a solution and a plan to implement it. No more worry.

But suppose instead of leading us to this kind of constructive thinking, our worry leads us into a negative kind of thinking–a circular and repetitive thinking that feeds upon itself. If instead of problem-solving thinking, we careen off into this negative kind of rumination, we might think like this.

“There’s nothing I can do to stop the river from flooding. This is futile. What do I do if the water starts rising. What if I can’t get away from the water. What if the water ruins all my belongings. I have no place to go. I am alone. What do I do if the river floods? I can’t stop it. I’m alone. What do I do? I’ll lose everything.”

And, so on and on in a circle that traps the worry and gives rise to a sense of hopelessness and isolation. We become depressed; everything seems dark and flat and negative. No matter which way we turn we end up in the same place, in the same circular pattern.

From time to time, we all may find ourselves slipping into negative rumination. Then we catch it!  But, if we don’t it becomes oppressive. We feel trapped. Worry is now a concern because it leads not to problem solving but to negative, circular thinking that makes us sick.

The expression, “I’m worried sick,” comes from our collective human experience of worry gone awry. We become anxious, depressed, isolated. We stop caring about our lives; we refuse to see our friends. Stuck worry makes us sick and we suffer.

So what can we do? We can bring awareness to our worry and then turn to our body, sensing and accepting what comes. We can acknowledge it, keep it company and listen compassionately without judging.

“How does one do this?” We may be asking. Mindfulness meditation, BodyTalk, and Focusing  are three practices that help us to do this. In all three  we focus our attention, receive what comes compassionately, and acknowledge non-judgmentally.

More On The Body

Last week, we talked about people feeling in their body and offered a definition of body as interconnected process, interacting with the environment, sharing wisdom with us all the time. We talked about our bodily process of experiencing the world, the environment in which we live and how we describe that. We gave some common examples. The stomach tied in knots. The queasy feeling in the abdomen. The tightness in the chest. The clenching in the throat. Now, what happens when we don’t feel in our body? When there is no stomach tied in knots?  Does this mean that there is something wrong with us? Or that our definition of body as process isn’t holding up?

Not at all. Because the life process that is body is not necessarily felt by the individual in the physical body, we don’t have to feel physical destinations or associate a feeling with a physical thing such as “a knot in my stomach.”Kreuzknoten-slip_2

For some of us, we experience our bodies simply through an inner knowing. Our experiencing will lead us to say, “I have an inner knowing.” “I just know it.” “It feels right.” We have a sense of something and whether something fits because it feels right. What we don’t have is a subtle somatic experience. We are still sensing without bodily destinations and things we can describe.

In my personal experience when something is tenuous, not quite formed, or afraid of coming forward, I feel and know it is there but don’t have a place or name for it. Over time, as it develops it may feel like it is just there, in that space outside my head or beyond my shoulder, but not in any way associated with head or shoulder. Interestingly, it gives me information all along the way from the time when I just sense something to the time when I sense something over there. I don’t have to experience it as “a knot in the stomach” to listen to what it wants to tell me.

Another example of someone who doesn’t sense things in his body is someone very close to me who is a mathematician. He’ll say, “I don’t feel anything in my body,” but he’s a keen listener and will often say, I just know this; it feels right.” He’s very accustomed to thinking precisely, abstractly and intuitively; it’s in his training, so it makes sense that his bodily experiencing is abstract without place names like “stomach” and things like “knots.”

It isn’t how felt senses manifest themselves, it is whether we listen and how we listen. If we don’t listen with distance, connection, and respect or we don’t listen at all we won’t get a sense of how it is for us right now.

I invite you to sense how you, yourself, experience the body as interconnected process, interacting with the environment, and sharing wisdom. Listen and share how it is for you right now.