Growing up in a family where conflict was very threatening, I learned to numb my body, my emotions and my desires. It was safer to focus on Dad and make sure I made him happy.
As a result, I deadened my connection to my impulses, my heart, my gut instincts, and my intuition. It’s as if I chucked my GPS out the window and kept trying to drive my car.
This made a lot of people around me happy, which is what I erroneously thought was the point of my life – making other people happy.
Now, I’m going to give my younger self credit for being so clever. To survive in that house, she did what she needed to do. After I left my parents’ house, though, I kept doing the same thing, trying to please my professors, coaches, bosses, partners, family and friends. UGH!
I worked hard to make everything ‘perfect’: my body, my work, my relationship, my home. Yet I still felt empty. I was miserable, lost, and struggling with chronic back pain.
To make matters worse, I kept trying to solve the problem by looking for answers outside of me, always thinking someone else knew more than me.
Then I discovered, through mind-body work, that I was constantly outside of my body trying to drive my car (me) with my head and mind versus my heart and my gut.
How to Come Back Home?
Step One: Landing Back in The Body
I started doing daily grounding meditations several times a day, reminding myself to feel my feet and my seat. As I landed back in my body, meaning I began to feel my body more regularly and fully, I started crying—constantly. This lasted for about a month.
I had no idea why I was crying, until I recognized I was feeling the grief from being disconnected from myself for so long. The good news: grief and sadness is the first step out of apathy. I was making progress.
I found The Haven a transformative learning center in British Columbia, that supported me in feeling, honoring and expressing my emotions, which was a tremendous relief. I no longer felt like I was shoving a beach ball under water, trying not to feel. I could relax and express myself.
I loved finally having a connection to my body and emotions.
Step Two: Working Through Stinking-Thinking
My mind had convinced me of a bunch of lies: It wasn’t safe to be a girl; My emotions are bad; I’m too sensitive; I must work in corporate America.
First, The Haven provided the context that I always tell myself stories, which I erroneously assume to be true. I learned how to bring that story forward and check it out with the person in question in a non-threatening way to see if my story fit for them or not. As I did I had more space between me and my scary stories.
Second, I trained at Martha Beck Life Coach Training and went to Byron Katie’s 9 Day School for The Work, where I questioned many of my basic beliefs, and began to take responsibility for the reality I was creating.
I learned that while the mind makes a great implementation manager, it’s a horrible CEO! I was finally cultivating a sense of safety in my own being.
Step Three: Discerning Mind from Instinct
It’s especially hard to differentiate between what’s mind and what’s gut instinct when you’ve grown up disconnected from your body.
Ego mind, or what Martha Beck calls lizard mind, is often broadcasting as: doubt, drowsiness, worry, distraction, aversion or ill will, boredom, forgetfulness. It’s like a nasty roommate who is regularly trying to scramble your GPS.
In our latest Biocybernaut training (LINK), we learned the key is not to argue with ego mind. Instead, discipline it. When doubt, worry or distraction creeps in, rather than believe it, say “Nope!” or, “Stop It!,” and bring your attention down to your heart and gut, both of which are below the head.
Your Challenge: Turn on Your Instincts
How are you making decisions? Are you connected to your heart, your instincts or are you letting your mind drive the you?
1. For the next week, notice how you’re making your decisions such as what to eat for dinner, what dress to buy or what job to take, or whether to sign up for that workshop or coaching.
2. Now, when making a decision, bring your attention down to your heart and gut/abdomen area and, rather than think rationally about that decision, feel into it.
3. Track your results and notice how you feel about your decisions!
There may be some trial and error learning as you connect more to your own natural guidance system.
I would love to hear how you do with this challenge! Email me your results: firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. We opened up new dates for Find Your Mojo in Montana May 3-6th. We’ll be closing registration early. So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence, now’s the time to sign up for our spring session.
P.P.S. Do you want to learn more about how you can feel safer in conflict? Order your: Beauty of Conflict Harnessing Your Team’s Competitive Advantage today!
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke are Master certified life coaches, business consultants, speakers and authors of The Beauty of Conflict. They believe real relationships are the key to creating great business results. They’ll take your team from mediocre to great.
Interested in coaching? Check out CrisMarie’s executive coaching and personal coaching, or Susan’s personal coaching and equus coaching.
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