She asked: How do I get from a place of understanding something intellectually to a place of knowing it in a Whole Self sort of way? That’s a good question! And one I’ve been mulling over for myself for the past several weeks. How do I get from that place of head-knowing to that place of heart-knowing?
We coaches often talk about the power of changing our perspective. But this is more than a perspective shift. How do I take that brain knowledge and deepen the learning so that it can reside at the heart level? I’ve decided to try out a theory: that it begins with embodiment.
What is embodiment?
Mark Walsh of Integration Training, in an excellent three minute video clip, describes embodiment as “the first person experience of being in our bodies.” In short, embodiment provides the context for our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts and our awareness of any given moment. This subjective awareness roots us in the present moment and with practice and attention it can help us learn more about ourselves and develop further self-awareness.
With all the emphasis our culture places on reasoning and analytical thinking, it is no surprise that many of us live primarily in our heads. We experience life from the neck up and do not know how to access the wealth of information residing in our bodies.
Our bodies are vast resources of information. As our minds work to make meaning, putting words and order around information, our bodies “know” things in a different context and hold onto and communicate this knowing in very different ways from our minds.
By observing what sensations are present in the body, how the body is holding itself and how it is moving through space, we develop our awareness of how we are embodying our experiences and emotions. This feedback can help us better understand who we are in that moment, what strengths and limitations we possess and how we can stretch ourselves toward growth.
It seems that I started this blog post at Point A and instead of arriving at Point B, we have gotten to Point 1A. I’m still wondering about the practice of embodiment and what shape it might take in our everyday lives to bring us to that place of heart-knowing.
There’s not enough space here to delve further into that question, but I hope you’ll stay curious and join me in this exploration. I don’t know exactly where we are headed, but perhaps the journey is, in fact, the learning that needs to happen.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
– Ernest Hemingway