At the weekend I sat at my laptop for quite some time, trying to write a blog post for Monday. When no obvious topics came to mind, I worked my way through my list of drafts, with the aim of finding one that I could polish into a suitable post. Success wasn’t really on my side if I am honest, and all that I managed to do was to increase the number of drafts I have!
As I sat wondering whether a Monday blog post was even going to happen, it occurred to me check in on my body. What is going on for you in your body right now? How is your posture? What sensations do you notice?
What I noticed was that the area across the back of my shoulders was very tight, and my shoulders were hunched forward. There was also an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, coupled with a sensation in my torso which was following the middle of my rib cage up towards my throat. These are both feelings that I have come to associate with anxiety and self-judgement. However, there was also more. My back was straight and tight; I didn’t feel relaxed into my body at all. My legs were out in front of me, ankles crossed, with neither foot firmly grounded on the floor.
As I sat reflecting on my body, two things occurred to me:
- I could write a post about how noticing what is going on in our body can be incredibly powerful for helping us to shift our way of being; and
- I was not sitting in a body that was conducive to creativity, so it was probably understandable that creating a blog just wasn’t happening at that point in time.
Great. What is a body of creativity?
I started to visualise how my body is normally when I am blogging productively. What I noticed was that when I am blogging with ease, I feel creative, and the two moods that seem to really help me are peace and wonder. My experience of these moods tends to be an open torso, shoulders up and back and a feeling of being relaxed in my body. I sit back in my chair, and I am very comfortable. My breathing is normally fairly calm and even. My most creative blogging posture is one that would normally break all rules of ergonomic correctness; when I am at my most creative, it is almost as though I put the rules of posture aside, symbolically removing life’s structure, and allowing myself to play by my own rules.
So what does this mean?
Once I had assessed that my body wasn’t serving me, I gave myself permission to sit and reflect on how to shift my body to something that was more serving of creativity. I allowed myself to become open to the possibility of expanding my torso, shifting my legs, slowing my breathing, loosening my shoulders and lower back, and removing the uncomfortable feelings in my stomach and torso. Slowly, I felt myself becoming curious about where the blog post might go and, as I started to type, words actually started to land on the page; I was no longer pausing and staring at a blank screen. My mood also started to shift and, as momentum increased, I felt as though the words were once again coming out with ease.
Even after multiple years of receiving coaching, I never cease to be amazed by the power of even the slightest shift in the body. My assessment is that the body is incredible in the way in which it can open and close possibility for us. In some ways, I guess it makes sense: our stories and moods have to sit somewhere, and so they sit in our body. We embody who we think we are and how we are feeling and, without even realising, this can limit the actions that we have access to. It isn’t until we really start to pay attention to what is occurring in our body that we start to notice where it may be limiting us.
The body was one of the first areas that I learnt to shift when I first started receiving coaching. I have to be honest, when my coach first suggested lifting my shoulders and putting them back, I thought that this whole approach was just a little more new age than I would normally partake in. However, I found the results to be almost instantaneous. I find now that I am often checking in with my body, particularly if I am in meetings where I may not be feeling at my most resourceful. If I can’t figure out what might be the most useful way to shift my body, I start by simply moving my position in the chair. Often, this is enough for me to work out what to shift next.
And so I invite you to think about your body next time you are in a situation that may not be going as you would like. What sensations are you experiencing? How is your posture? How is your breathing? How might shifting these help you?
As a leadership and life coach, these points are all points that I am able to help people to explore. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.