Welcome friends to Episode #99 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the teaching that happens in my group coaching sessions. When you are a 1:1 client, you get access to attend these sessions where I teach on topics that will help you reach your goals more effectively and sustainably. Today’s podcast is a snippet from one of our sessions on mind-body practices and how you can see the variety of ways that you can learn how to trust yourself and your decisions, develop a greater sense of inner peace and lead yourself and others – all while enjoying the ride.
So today, we are diving back into mind and body practices. So last week was really around this whole mind-body connection. I think if you weren’t here last week, definitely go back and, and listen to it because we start to talk through even that idea of how we experience the mind-body connection for ourselves. A lot of intuition and self-leadership comes from knowing ourselves or comes from having a sense of knowing what it is we believe.
It comes from knowing what we think makes sense, feeling very clear about what we want to do next and what feels like the right next best thing in terms of relationships, in terms of our work, and in terms of ourselves and our bodies. And we use our bodies, which is why we talk about mind, body connection, as a way for us to understand ourselves. But many of us have overridden our bodies, whether it is just through this sense of disconnection – not noticing, not really having a connection to it, not necessarily good or bad, but just, we haven’t really stopped. So we actually did an exercise where we sat really still and connected into ourselves a little bit more and started noticing sensations in our body.
When we start thinking about mind, body connection, it’s not just one or the other. It’s not just, it’s only the mind, right? Like there’s no body and we just can manifest everything through our minds. As if our bodies have nothing to do with it. There are biological things at play and we need to be aware of that and take that into account as well. But it’s not just the body either, right? It’s not just the body is its own thing and it does what it wants and we have no connection to it.
So this is where we start to bridge the gap to say, it’s not just one, it’s not just the other, but there is this really beautiful cycle that we can live in. That’s really about us being really human in this lifetime and us having a human experience.
And with that, there are actually practices that you can do that help you get more grounded, help you make space so that you can allow intuition to flow and to cultivate a sense of trust and that knowing and that feeling of -even if I don’t always know, or I feel like I’m indecisive right now – what can I do to help me move through this right now?
When we start to talk about a connection to our body and allowing intuition to flow, I think many of you are probably familiar with meditation. That is a really common practice. How many of you meditate on a regular basis? Okay -how long B, have you been doing it regularly?
B: Probably like a year.
May: Okay. Do you feel a difference as a result?
B: Yeah. Yeah. I feel a lot more space between things happening and the reaction. Like, I definitely feel that suspension more. I feel more able to come back to center when things do get a little crazy and much more able to ground with my breath. Say I’m facilitating a meeting, I have gotten really good at like secret breathing on zoom. Taking a deep breath, but not having it be super obvious, but using my breath to come back and be open to what’s happening. So yeah, I see a lot of different changes and just a more even mood, I think, which you know, we’ve worked on other things too, but I think the meditation has helped with that.
May: Yeah. We’re going to talk a lot today about mindfulness and we can go a lot further into it and I’ll share more in the coming months. More things that will be coming your way around that space. But this really is everything in the sense of the ability to feel good. We talked last week about how you can’t buy inner peace. And that sense of just, I still feel okay, right. Like I still feel okay despite X, Y, and Z happening, but you can cultivate it and you can build it. And that’s the beautiful thing as well. This is something that you can actually practice with nothing, but you, and all it takes is some intentionality and a little bit of time and learning.
We’ll go through this today to dive into it a bit more, but I talk about this a lot and in many different ways, because it is so fundamental and I think that to really grasp it takes a lot of work and practice. So I don’t think I could ever probably say it enough because I do think that this is an area where there’s another layer for us to peel and say, “Ooh, okay. Like, let me work on that edge. That’s coming up.” With that being said, we will spend some time talking about mindfulness and some other practices as well. Let me know if there’s any interest in some of the other ones. And then, we can spend more time in other sessions going through some of the other ones.
Where we start is always going to be in the present moment. I remember when I started doing a lot of spiritual work and diving back into more contemplative practices, there was a lot of talk around the present moment. Like “I just really want to be present.” People would tell me that “I just really want to be present.” I remember in the beginning being like, “what do people mean by being present?” It felt like a buzzword. “I just want to be here.” In my mind I was like, “Well, where else would someone be? Of course you’re in the present moment.”
But I really started to understand it more when I realized that what we really want to do is what B was saying, create a space when things feel like they’re going very fast, almost like the matrix where like, yeah, he is like dodging things and moving really slowly, but things are happening really quickly.
And that’s that ability for us to control what we can control, which is our experience of how something is happening. So even if it feels like time is moving fast, we realize that time is a construct of our own feelings. And we relax into it a bit more and we intentionally realize, okay, “what if there was more time than I thought? What if I can pause and think through this? And I will have a clear answer.”
This happens though, only when you can take a step back. And it happens when we stop moving on autopilot.
That is why it’s important for us to say, “what is the present moment?”
The present moment is what is happening right now in our direct experience. Instead of all the thoughts about the future and thinking, “I don’t know, and it’s going to be terrible” we say, “well, what is it now?”
Do I even have to do anything about this? No. Or when I need to, I can make that decision. And if you’re used to a really busy life, it’s really hard to put down all the to-dos. It’s really hard to do that.
So even if you can’t do that yet, this practice helps you start observing when you are doing it or, and then you start to think, “okay, am I doing that because I’m nervous and I don’t know what else to do.”
I can be sitting with it and noticing what’s happening and asking myself, “well, why do I feel the need to do X, Y, and Z? Do I feel there’s a gap somewhere that I’m trying to fill with doing?”
Why is that? It takes practice and time. So we’ll talk through how this works and we’ll practice it ourselves. So this is what we talk about reacting instead of acting, when we react, it is that kind of autopilot behavior that is not necessarily very intentional, but when we act there’s a different sense of that word, right? We’re taking action and we’re being proactive. All the things that we feel are, you know, “the ideal way for us to show up in the world really comes from us, just taking a pause and saying what makes sense based on what’s happening right now, and let’s move forward.”
Sometimes intuition feels like this magic or this, you know, voodoo thing, like “how does all that work?” There is a sense of how do you know things that you can’t that I haven’t told you or that you can’t see, but that’s when we have to start realizing that our thoughts, we can’t see them, but wouldn’t you say that they’re also real and they’re happening, right?
There are still things that are out there that are almost as tangible as the things that we can actually sense and are really tangible for us right now.
The way we can bridge that gap is to say, how does that feel in my body? And then we can be like, “oh, that’s coming from a thought. It’s not just, I just feel this way.” There’s something happening here.
This is why we go into mind and body practices, ones where we connect with our body. Mindfulness is one of these mind, body practices where you are noticing and observing what’s happening, whether you’re eating, whether you’re moving, whether you are just sitting in stillness or whether you’re talking to someone and you have a sense of not just noticing, but awareness and a non-judgmental attitude around it.
Breath work is another way. We always go to the breath because the breath is the one thing that we have right here right now.
You’re always breathing. That’s a really key way to drop into the present moment. So breath-work is this very intentional way of thinking, “I’m going to put patterns and rhythm into my breathing. I’m going to breathe deep. I’m going to breathe slowly. I’m going to breathe in out of certain patterns, right? Kundalini uses a lot of breath-work as well.
That also helps us to focus. It helps us to channel our inner energy. We think of our breath as one of the ways that we can kind of channel energy.
Let’s talk about tapping. So how many of you have heard of emotional freedom technique or EFT? Some of you may have experienced tapping with me in one-on-one sessions. Tapping is really powerful for moving energy or when you’re feeling really triggered. You tap on different pressure points in your body, as you say, certain things. I would lead you through it. I will also do it myself.
It’s a way of talking through something while also touching physical points in our body. You’re talking through a topic and a situation as it’s happening.
It helps you move that level of charge you feel on this topic. Say you feel like a 10 (10 being the most activated) and you end up moving down to a two and then a one. It helps to move through things. So tapping is a really good tool that I’ve used a lot for clients and myself, when things get really challenging or difficult. It helps us connect to our body, talk through things and move energy through our body. What’s happening is that we’re trying to process things in the external world into healthy outcomes in the internal world.
You may never need to utilize any of these things, however if you weren’t taking the external world to heart. Does that make sense? If we weren’t so attached to a certain outcome and thinking “that didn’t happen and that means I’m a failure” or “the money’s tight now, and that means something” or “this person said this thing, which means I’m not so good at the thing that I thought I wanted to be good at, or “people are rejecting me”, or “I’m not making the money I want”.
These are all external world outcomes and ways that we validate our existence and why are we even here to begin with – that kind of conditioning. If you never even related to that, if you were just like, “well I’m all good.” You wouldn’t really need to do breath work or tapping or yoga. It would just be “I’ll do it, but why? I’m good.”
Sometimes we get so into our practices that we forget about the point of it to begin with. Maybe we miss a session and that drives us even more crazy than we would’ve, if we never even had this thing.
If you had an exercise routine to help with your mental health and you’re feeling good and the serotonin’s flowing, and then you miss it and you start to beat yourself up, it’s almost worse. So just a reminder that these practices are just tools that we use to help us achieve a sense of inner peace.
To help us not have so much tie into that external world. To feel better, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or mentally. Every time we do it, we start to have a new behavior that starts to come into play.
And so, as B was talking about, she’s noticed actual changes in the way that she is in terms of maybe in a meeting and you’re nervous or something’s happening. You’re trying to manage the situation. These are great tools for leadership scenarios. Really great for decision making. There’s been numerous studies on how mindfulness improves stress and pain, like chronic pain, especially how it actually improves focus, problem solving.
So you can start to see that if we stopped thinking about everything from this external lens, we can probably be a lot more clear, a lot more dropped in and a lot more sure about ourselves. That’s where intuition really starts to become really strong. When I started practicing meditation daily – and I had shared a story where I went to Buddha camp when I was eight years old- I didn’t know it was a weird thing to do then.
You’re eight and you do what your parents show you. I started meditating then, but then, things happen as you get into your twenties and you just start living your life like everyone else and you kind of want to fit in and do all the other things. It wasn’t until everything started breaking down – the world, it’s hard. Like it’s hard to be in this world sometimes. That’s when I started coming back a lot more to meditation.
I noticed, I remember I really noticed, the effects of it even in my dream. That’s where I realized, “wow, in a place where I almost felt like I had the least amount of control, I was able to have this conflict and say, “you know what? it’s okay, it’s fine.”
One of the things that I think is interesting to note and that I would ask you guys to think about is I’m sure you have dreams of persistent, stressful things that may be on your mind, things that bother you. Sometimes in your dream world, they come back up and it’s really difficult to manage. I would set the intention that you allow yourself to have mind body practices that are strong enough, that it even affects that dreaming environment too. Because that’s when you start to realize the work is really starting to seep in. Even when I’m in a place where I’m kind of in that subconscious, the north star is still there. So this is really about cultivating that north star for you.
So it’s less than less about the rituals and more about the feeling and your own experience of it and what you know to be true.
And all of you are going to have similar experiences, but also different ones and different things that have worked for you or moments where something clicks. So just a reminder that it’s not like every time you meditate, you’re going to have this like brilliant shift and you’re going to feel the tingling in your fingers and the fire’s going to flow through you and you’re going to be like, “I know exactly what I’m going to do next”.
The clarity happens sometimes, but it can also just be you being calm in a situation. And that’s just as important because we are real people living real lives. And if we can be kind and compassionate to the people around us, if we can help make good decisions in our work and in our families, if we can be happier with things that are pretty terrible, then I would say that’s a lot of good work and outcomes that has come from these practices.
Any questions here, in terms of some of these practices, any thoughts around things that you have found worked well for you, maybe if it’s not any of these out here that I’ve listed. Is there anything else that you found has helped?
B: Exercise and, and walking in movement too. I think I’m starting to notice when I need one or the other more, right. Like one is, you know, to the charging, discharging conversation we had last week. Like just sort of trying to figure out. It’s not always the same sometimes. One is like a relaxing or a discharge, you know, or not. So yeah, movement and then journaling, I think that also functions as mindfulness for me sometimes.
May: Yeah. I love that. I’ll add that to this as well.
N: The book that you recommend, the artist’s way, in terms of the morning pages and also taking yourself out on the two hour date a week, I think that’s mindfulness too.
May: Yeah. Yeah. So this is where we start to truly understand what self care looks like. In the beginning you’re thinking, “oh, I need to go get a massage.” I’m not saying don’t go get a massage. That can do a lot of good for your body, but right now you’re expanding your vocabulary. You’re expanding your vocabulary for being able to identify emotions, identify what you need, try different things out. When you go on an artist’s date in the artist’s way, you start to realize that maybe there are a lot of other things that you could do with your time that also interest you and serve you as well. So you’re learning about yourself as a person.
I think that’s like a lost art in our lives because we defined ourselves when we were younger and then it was like, “that’s it.”
I always think about these people that are out in 80’s gear. Now 80’s stuff is coming back, but you see the people who seem to be stuck in time. They still per have like their hair permed and they still wear the same makeup. I started realizing a lot of people never change past the point in which they were taking in information.
For many of them that’s when they were younger and they don’t evolve with the trends because they were like, “well, that’s what I did at the age that I learned to put on makeup.” So I will do this for the rest of my life. I will have big hair and I will do the tease and I will do all this stuff. And some of that is coming back.
So, you know, maybe they knew something that I didn’t know. Or, they just had a look and they stuck with it. But what was more interesting for me was this idea of “where am I just repeating something that I learned way back then, but never questioned?”
I just never questioned that this is the way that life gets to work for me. I just never questioned that. I could show up a little bit differently.
If someone told you that you were really smart and an introvert, then you would think I’m just this smart introvert versus could you be different or could you not be known as that?
There’s just a lot of this labeling that happens as we were younger, that now as parents, we’re probably much more aware of in terms of trying to be mindful with our kids, but think about how you might have some of those things for you too.
I do think that as we start to do different things and activities, we start to break some of that a little bit here and there.
We start to push the envelope in terms of saying, well, I’m not just this one thing, so what am I? That opens up a beautiful question for then being able to say that maybe all of this is actually okay. All of this that I’m experiencing is the perfect thing for me to experience right now.
As we start to think through this and we think “This makes sense. I want to feel that inner peace. I want to start being a daily meditator and come back in a year from now and say – like B did – that the work works and she’s starting to see how it works.
So we’ll talk through how you start this practice?
That’s it for the podcast. The session went on much longer as we dove into the practices and had discussions around fear and what happens when we experience fear in our businesses, health, and life – and other topics around the mind-body connection.
If you want these sessions in your own life more consistently so you too can experience and learn more about practice to manage your mind, body and energy, schedule a free coaching consultation today at www.mayempson.com/contact.
No matter what success means to you, coaching will help you get there faster and more sustainably. We work towards results in every area of your life. Time management – spending more time on what’s most important. Creating a mix of work and personal life that is sustainable. Career and Business – deciding what you want next and how to achieve it – whether it is more flexibility, purpose or deciding to start your own business. Energy management – improving your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health so you build confidence in designing your own life. If you’ve got some changes you want support in thinking through, book your free consultation at www.mayempson.com/contact today.