I invite you to close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths in and out. While you are doing that, bring to mind something that you are really passionate about. It can be anything!
Cultivating your embodied awareness is not only a very important way to get in touch with your passions – it is also a very valuable way of helping you live those passions in a sustained way.
Tuning in with yourself whenever you can will help you stay on track. You’ll know more quickly when your energy or enthusiasm is flagging, and you’ll also be more conscious of the aspects of your life that are working well for you, and how they add richness and meaning to your life.
What Is Happening Beneath Your Skin?
Through our research into passion, we have come to realise that a large proportion of people go through life almost completely disconnected from their bodies, and these are very often the same people who are out of touch with where they want to go in life. They have not learned to tune in to their inner wisdom.
Despite the in-depth process we have developed to guide them to a heightened state of awareness, some still find it very difficult to identify the movement or form of energy within.
Even some of the fit ones! Being athletic does not necessarily predispose you to an enhanced ability to tune in to what’s happening beneath your skin.
Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit
True passion is all about balance. In Taoist teachings the movements of the four seasons and the interplay of the four elements – earth, air, water and fire – are intrinsic to the balance and harmony of life.
In the same way, the different energies that make up our being – those of the body; the mind, our emotions and our spirit – need to be honoured and balanced to allow the free flow of passion in the direction we desire. That passion, when lived, can then contribute to that sense of balance and harmony. The first step is awareness.
To be aware of your emotions means knowing when you feel anxiety or calm, fear or security, sadness or joy, hate or love.
To be aware of your spirit means connecting with your sense of meaning in the world, a sense of wanting to contribute, a depth of integrity.
The interplay of the Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit energies have direct consequences on mood, stress, health and well-being. Harmonising and transforming these energies is an ancient art that yogis and spiritual teachers have practised for thousands of years.
Now, it seems, the stress of fast living is sending more and more people in search of an inner harmony they cannot create from outside. Very rarely are all four of these energies of the self honoured in a balanced way. Most religious systems tend to place more emphasis on the spirit, while many psychological systems lean towards the mind and on the emotions, and physical healing systems tend to focus on the mind and the body.
Embodied Awareness = Wisdom
With the wisdom that emerges from embodied awareness, you are able to choose which passions to nourish and which to let go of. Nourishing your true and natural passions brings stability. You are channeling your passion in harmony with your inner landscape, your truth.
Nourishing small-minded ‘untrue’ passions is like pumping water out and up into small tributaries which do not serve your sense of flow. This takes wastes energy, and brings interference, inner conflict, and distraction.
As a coach, your own embodied awareness will resonate with the embodied awareness bringing about a deeper stronger coaching relationship.
A Body Awareness Exercise
Sit comfortably in a chair. Take a few moments to notice what you are aware of right now – sights, sounds, bodily feelings, etc. Now, bring to mind an activity that you don’t like doing. As you think about it, notice in detail your body’s sensory responses (tension in the belly, tightness in the neck, for example). Try to scan your whole body, being aware of even the most subtle of changes. Let yourself experience this for a minute or two, then write down the responses.
Bring to mind another activity you don’t like doing. Again, notice your body’s responses.
These responses are just some of the ways your body says ‘no’ or ‘I don’t like this’. Try to become more aware of such responses in your daily life. You may notice other ones. Keep track of your ‘no’ responses over the next few days and take note of what sort of situations elicit them.
Now bring to mind an activity you love doing. Something that makes you feel alive, energised or fulfilled. As you think about it, scan your body and notice in detail the sensory responses to that pleasant thought. Let yourself experience them for a minute or two, then write them down.
Bring to mind another activity you love doing and again notice your body’s responses.
What you are doing is beginning to tune into the ways your body says ‘yes’ or ‘I like this’. Try to become more aware of these sorts of responses in your daily life. Keep track of such responses over the next few days, noticing which situations elicit them.