“Move toward that which makes you feel most alive. In Japan, they call it waku waku. You can actually feel it in your body. It’s your most reliable GPS for discovering your already-installed creative capital.”
Pam Grout, Thank & Grow Rich
“I just don’t know what to do,” Marcy said as she slumped forward exhaustedly, putting her head in her hands. “My family doesn’t believe in divorce and my friends don’t understand how I can even consider leaving this life I’ve built – they all just keep telling me that marriage is hard work and I need to stick it out.”
I looked up from the notes I was taking and asked her, “Well, what do youwant to do?” Marcy responded in exasperation, “That’s just it – I don’t know what I want to do. On paper, my life looks great … but I’m just so unhappy in my marriage. How am I supposed to know what to do, and what if I make the wrong choice?”
It is sessions and questions like these that take me back to my own indecision around whether to stay or go. Like Marcy, I’d weighed the pros and cons and thought through every possible outcome ad nauseam. I was inundated with information and opinions from others, and my mind just spun and spun in the same familiar loops.
Meanwhile, I remained stuck as my inability to make a decision incapacitated me. I knew there had to be something I was missing, some source of vital input that I could turn to in this time of need.
As it turned out, that input ultimately came in the form of a meaningful quote combined with some powerful body talk. The quote, paraphrased from the Buddha and shared in a book by Martha Beck, went something like this: When you encounter a body of water, you will know it is the ocean because it tastes of salt. In much the same way, you will know enlightenment and truth because it tastes of freedom … not safety, not comfort, but freedom.
At the time, I had beaucoup de safety in my life. And comfort, well, my life was beyond comfortable. But freedom? Not so much.
A quick aside: Freedom doesn’t have anything to do with whether you are single, married, or anywhere in between. You could be partnered up for 50 years and feel that internal sense of freedom, or you could be single but shackled up to high heaven in other areas of your life. Bottom line, this is about whether your life allows for and supports the growth of your innermost, authentic self. And I had not chosen a freeing life supportive of my authentic self.
Now, perhaps you’re wondering how in the world you’re supposed to recognize freedom and follow it. Spoiler alert: Your body holds all the answers! Where our mind is a spin doctor of sorts, our body is the incorruptible truth teller.
The people, places, and things that are not so aligned with your right life and truth will usually trigger sensations of contraction and heaviness somewhere in the body (think: clenchy chest and throat, or knots in your stomach, or an overall sense of weightiness).
Conversely, the people, place, and things that align with your truth and feel freeing will trigger sensations of lightness, relaxation, and expansion in the body. That, my friend, is freedom. And that authentic, inner being of yours thrives on freedom. Heck, our country was founded on it: Life, Liberty(read: freedom), and the Pursuit of Happiness.
You can follow that feeling of freedom like a compass pointing due north toward your right life. And that’s exactly what Marcy did.
During our session, I asked her to put her own fears and doubts, as well as the outside opinions she’d been carrying, into a metaphoric box and place it high on a shelf – she could have all of it back at the end of the hour. I invited her to close her eyes and take a deep breath, envision being with her husband, and describe the physical sensations in her body.
Immediately, she experienced a clenching and stabbing sensation in her gut. It most definitely did not feel like freedom; instead, her gut felt tight and constricted. While Marcy did not have to do anything with this information at the moment, I suggested she begin to notice how often in her marriage she experienced a tight, painful gut. Her body was clearly talking to her, and it was up to her to listen and interpret what it might be trying to tell her about her relationship.
After several months of working together, Marcy ultimately felt her body was signaling it was time for her to go. For other clients, the body’s messages indicate that staying and working on the relationship further is the right course of action. Either way, only you are the final word on interpreting your own body talk.
Although following the freedom looks different for everyone, doing so can be empowering and energizing. Like it did for me, it may give you the courage to make a decision you’ve been unable to before, knowing now you are living in accordance with the wisdom and guidance of your highest self – the one that often speaks through the body, not the mind.
Need a little help hearing your body talk or following the freedom? Then let’s chat. Hop on over to my scheduler HERE and get some clarity with a complimentary consult.
Photo by Junior Moran on Unsplash