“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott
Nobody likes being lied to but when we lie to ourselves it creates a lot of confusion and discontent. We get the feeling that something is wrong, but we can’t pin point exactly what it is. Before we can improve the quality of our lives, we have to identify what the problem is. This starts with telling ourselves the truth.
The problem is, our brains tell us all sorts of crazy things that may or may not be true. It can offer contradicting thoughts that drive us crazy like, “I have to quit my job.” “I can’t quit my job.” or “My daughter could benefit from extra support services.” “My daughter is going to be fine.” How do you know which thought is the truth and which one isn’t?
One of my teachers, Martha Beck, developed a tool called The Body Compass that helps us tune in to our truth. We life coaches call it, “the gateway drug to your essential self.” My SuperMom clients find it helpful because when you are good at what you do, it’s easy to confuse external validation and success, with internal joy and purpose. When you are optimistic, hard working, and people depend on you to take care of them, it creates a smokescreen to our truth. You feel drained of energy, have trouble sleeping, gain weight, develop chronic pain or illness, you know something isn’t right, but you can’t figure out exactly what it is. The Body Compass is a tool you can use everyday to help you figure out which activities are energizing and life-giving, and which are weighing you down.
Click here and listen in as I teach a client how to use this body compass tool. She has an optimistic personality and is quick to say “Everything is fine” but her body tells her otherwise and the more she denies it, the louder and more painfully it speaks. Notice how she resists the negative readings she gets from her morning run, driving her daughter to practice, and the girl scout meeting. We think of our intuition as our best friend, and it is, but when we ignore it and deny it, it becomes the cause of our greatest suffering.
Listen to this 30 minute recording, then do your own body compass reading and see if you can tune in to what is true for you.
Write a number line across the page like this:
-10 ——————5——————- 0 ——————5—————–+10
Spend a few minutes thinking of the worst thing that ever happened to you. Really hold it in your mind with full sensory detail: sights, sounds, smells, etc. Notice how your body reacts to the memory of this event. Describe the physical sensations in your body without analyzing or interpreting it and write it down. Look for tension, heaviness, nausea, emptiness, crumpled and small. Describe your sensation in a few words: “Whole body cramp” “Pain cashew” “Cement body cast”. This is your -10, write it down.
Then shake off the feeling and the memory and bring to mind your best experience ever. Whatever comes to mind when you think of the greatest thing that ever happened to you, fill your mind with the memory and notice how your body reacts. Scan your body from toe to head and describe how your body reacts to this memory “floating upward” “falling onto clouds” “solid and calm”. Write it under the +10.
Now you know how your body says “YES” this is right for you, and “NO” this is wrong for you. Write a list of 5 things you have to do today and assign them a number on the number line. See if you can notice any differences between what your head thinks, and how your body reacts. Try writing down the names of 5 people, 5 foods, 5 chores, just learning to practice this tool is SO valuable to learning to listen to your gut, your intuition, your truth. Don’t judge or interpret your readings, just notice. You may get a different reading tomorrow and that’s okay. Your body holds the key to what is right for you, learning to listen to it will benefit you the rest of your life.