If there is one activity that immediately brings me home and fully "back into" myself, it's dance.
Whether i've been sitting working on my Macbook or a PC for several hours straight and need to get my body literally moving. or whenever i've been overthinking things, and or am feeling emotionally numb or stuck, dance and especially any movements of the of the energy channels along my arms, movements that open my chest, more-so than with my other favourites, like yoga, or swimming or a run on the beach, get me straight back into deeper connection with my heart.
While i've never been formally dance trained and i never learned ballet (but my Mother did), that's the place where i find much of my graceful, feminine flow. If i find some part of my body to be stiff or stuck, that's the point where the part of me that knows energy medicine puts my hands on it or near it and i gently work it out of disconnection and back into connection.
Being the (as so many people who know me put it) "raw, passionate, heart being" that i am, that more often than not means i've got to stop holding onto whatever recent experience i've been (for functionality purposes) holding in suspended animation in that place until it was a 'better' time to feel my way through and let go of that tension.
Through literally moving and bringing my presence to that part of me, i get the tears, or the frustration or fear, or whatever else it might, be felt and literally danced out. It's my way of getting the energy flowing again and then channelling it, or rather allowing the love, lightness and joy to flow on through again instead, a bit like turning on an old tap and clearing the energetic pipes.
If part of our way of coping with the day, or coping with intense events at times is to disconnect from and turn the sensory volume down on the parts of us that are associated with processing such experiences (and it's certainly a coping mechanism i'd had to lean on heavily earlier in traumatic parts of life), then dance becomes one of my ways of coming back into fully inhabiting and being fully present within my body again.
I'm not going to lie to you, if i had a romantic partner again, dance might well get bumped down the agenda in favour of physical intimacy at times. Depending on what stage of dating and relating you're at, one where nerves still freak us out, or the ones where we're fully ready to share ourselves with another and check IN, if we all get honest for a moment, as if this ISN'T one of the most common and relatable ways many people might find that they reconnect regularly with their bodies.
For some of you, who've yet to see my work side that relates to women getting back into their bodies and healing their shit about doing so, that might well still be just a bit T.M.I. at this point. BUT, the point was, physical intimacy, whether with someone else, is yet another activity that (most of the time, not all the time) can put us back in deeper connection with our bodies.
Spending time in nature, or with your plants in doors, at times, is another means of quickly grounding our way back in.
Before you speak, that might be the walk you take around the space that channels your nervous energy into moving and DOING, maybe talking to people and helping, instead of sitting and overthinking.
What is/are your activities that bring you back into yourself that you do at home?
And what are the ones that you could potentially draw upon to bring you back into your body, in work moments, like meetings or presentations or webinars, where you might need to be more fully present?
Why should you be interested in having an arsenal of such practices that help you be more present, as it relates to personal communication, leadership and speakership and life?
On the weekend, i filmed this walk-through of a model on the 4 stages many of the predominantly women i've worked with have found themselves going through on the way to finding their voices on a personal and then a professional level. (If you're short on time, you can just skip towards the end to check out the whole thing drawn out and then come back if/when you have time.)
Fully inhabiting ourselves and standing in front of others fully present in ourselves and fully taking ownership of our essence, who we are and our truth, is the challenge of the second stage on that video. In the second stage of "trepidation", after stage 1, in which we often just avoid speaking up or speaking all together in the pursuit of either perceived likeability and keeping the peace OR in priority to being of being of service, in stage 2, we START doing so.
BUT, depending on how the outcome appears to be going, we can be very quick to adjust course, or almost "inhale back in" whatever it was that we said, if it doesn't appear to be landing so well with the other person and we go into fear about the consequences. In the positive, pausing long enough to feel the moments when our intuition might actually be whispering "wait, you might benefit from feeling this one out a little bit more first", is also the gift of this phase.
But, what i found when i was first journeying this phase, was that, when we speak up from this place, we also tend to do so with all of our energy only in our heads and our throats, but often, due to the fear, not in deep connection with the whole of our bodies, while we're not completing owning and inhabiting that aspect of our truth. And what tends to happen, when you're not fully owning and inhabiting it, perhaps not so surprisingly, is that people don't necessarily respond back in the way you want them to, in terms of respecting what you have to say.
Though, how can they, actually, realistically, if we're not fully owning, standing there openly revealing and being clear and direct about what it is we feel, believe, want or need? The downside is that, when we communicate from this place, the ultimate consequence is that, not only are we not giving the other party something to connect to, relate with and potentially love about us, but we're less likely to receive what we need/be met or achieve whatever goal or vision we might be hoping to, while we're hiding and not fully owning and showing any of it.
It's very tempting in this phase to turn it outwards on the other person in blame for not caring or respecting who we are and what we have to say, thinking THAT is the problem. BUT the real underlying challenge here, is that, if you want what you say to be impactful, fully received and met with action and respect, you need to be able to stand there, full-body owning your truth and verbally and non verbally communicate and relate from that place. Whether your intention is to give something or be of service, or your request is made in pursuit of something that you desire or need.
The other tendency (in stage 3) can be to try and go OVER the top in intensity or aggression trying to have impact and MAKE people listen or comply. (Which again, often ultimately stems from a place of some version of beliefs that have us fearing and not trusting in the goodness of the the other person and or that we can be met.) The flipside or positive to this stage, being the times in life where we may NEED to be able to, like a parent, or how they teach you to be in self defence or warrior trainings, be able to meet and match and diffuse the energy of a challenge.)
But the ultimate upshot of stage 4, is the realisation that, when you stand in front of someone, or a room, fully connected to your heart, your essence and your soulful truth, with loving intent, THIS is actually powerful in and of itself without you even having to TRY to be. In the same way that a strong breeze is not TRYING to prove anything when it blows your umbrella; laws of nature being as they are, it just IS powerful. As are we, when we stand there, fully heart connected, fully inhabiting ourselves with our energy and our truth and being willing to relate with the world from that place.
Every Leader will at some point progress to realising this. But one of the personal practice pathways to help you get there and stay there in leadership and everyday life, is making sure you're making time to do activities that connect you back to your body fully and building your awareness of what it feels like both when you're in and NOT fully in there throughout the day.
After that, then comes the fun/at times insanely scary part of actually standing in front of people and speaking, while attempting to STAY that connected to yourself. Reminding ourselves that it is our purpose to be of service, to bring our wisdom and experience to these moments, that we are needed and therefore that we BELONG there, is a sure-fire way too to help with that too.
Once i'm past my upcoming surgery and or the present restrictions on live events have worked themselves out, i am absolutely gunning to create more live workshop spaces again in which (especially Women) can:
-play with and practice being in and staying in that state in front of a group
-do some physical activities that get us there in both fun and professional skill building ways and
-have some heart centred discussions around what our personal version/vision of showing up fully empowered and owning our voices looks like and about what is getting in the way of us showing up as our most authentic selves in business, relationship and life
In order to help us show up more fully, be able to connect more authentically, have a greater positive impact and create more mutually beneficial outcomes in each of those areas.
But first, speaking of fully inhabiting ALL of ourselves in ways that better serve us, a surgery and a bit more work for the poor parts of my uterus that have still seemingly lost a bit too much blood flow for me to be succeeding in holistically and energetically getting THEM fully back online so far by myself. As i looked at (and we listened to them) on the ultrasound images yesterday, i was acutely aware of how much grief I was "containing" in the middle of the part that's essentially been walled off because it's now died. This afternoon i took an hour or two of downtime to let that move....and reconnect with what energy i intend to have re-inhabit in it's place. Within an hour, i was straight back to my Macbook 'just opening itself' to a PDF i still had open on finding your client's WHY from my last event and i found myself in the creative flow of writing something hopefully useful for someone about the importance of fully inhabiting ourselves. OH the freaking joys of LIVING and embodying what you're meant to teach!
Until next time....
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.