Mind and Body

Mind and Body
Ocean Beach, CA - photo by Anne Roche

"Where do you feel this in your body? "

When I first started out as a coach, I was terrified of this kind of question.

Asking this kind of question felt too squishy, too “woo-woo” for me. I’d have to be a life coach living in California to ask this kind of question. Well, of course, I became a life coach in California. But before that happened, I embraced this question. And here’s why.

I had a client - a lawyer in a huge and serious tech company. I was asking him questions about what his challenge was and he couldn’t quite come up with an answer. I kept trying to ask him what he was discovering or how he was learning about himself as he worked through the issue at hand.

Finally, he blurted out, “I don’t know what I think but I do know that I feel all the tension in my chest. My throat is tight and my upper chest feels heavy.”

I was stunned. I couldn’t believe he was articulating where the issue lived in his body. As we continued working through what he was experiencing, I heard his voice change as he discovered different possibilities.

I pointed out that I heard a shift in his voice and asked him, “What’s happening in your body now?”

This time, he was surprised. “I’m sitting straighter,” he laughed. “My throat is relaxed and I feel lightness in my chest.”

“Now you have a physical reminder of what stress feels like for you,” I said, “And you know what releasing it feels like in your body. So when your head is noisy and you can’t hear where you’re stuck, listen to your body. It’ll let you know where you are.”

He and I both have that tool in our toolboxes now.

My head felt a little noisy this week. Here are a couple of other small things I published this week as I was listening.

You vs. You
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What They Said
A few quotes I saw while visiting the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana last December have stayed with me: “Compromise comes from a fear of being pure.” Eero Saarinen “Nothing is new, but personal interpretation can often be so.” Alexander Girard