As I was finishing up my last training weekend for the Level Two Psychosynthesis Life Coaching program, I found myself reflecting on transition. When something comes to an end, it also means we are stepping into something new. Both endings and taking next steps can be provocative and generate fear; Fear of letting go, fear of loss, fear of the unknown of the future, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough.
When there is SO much stirred up, how can we stay present for this transition? With our thoughts going wild, how do we ground? How can we fully experience the end, savor it for its sweetness and sadness, while we hold the anticipation of the future, with its fear and potential?
This is a PRACTICE. A practice of sensing.
It is my living, breathing, sensing, connecting meditation.
Embodied presence allows us to stay connected to this moment, the one right now. It is a returning center, resting-in space, that we can connect with when we find ourselves seduced by time traveling to the future or the past with our thoughts, distracted by our self doubts or judging and comparing ourselves to others.
Embodied presence is how we access our wisest center- a deep intuitive knowing and sensing. A synthesized, embodied experience of both love and will, allowing us the space to make choices aligned with our self and truth.
The practice of embodied presence begins with AWARENESS:
AWARENESS OF YOUR INTERNAL LANDSCAPE: RECEIVING SENSATION
It is sensing the tension in your belly, the pulsing of your wrist, your heart beat, feeling rise and fall of your chest with each breath.
AWARENESS OF THE CONNECTION TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT
It is the roughness of the carpet in between your toes, the weight of your thighs resting into the chair, receiving the vibrational sounds of the birds out in the yard, noticing the softness of the pillow against your skin.
EMBODIED PRESENCE is the ability to return to center, over and over again, noticing this internal felt-sense landscape AND your connection to the environment.
Sound easy? This takes PRACTICE!
We spend a lot of time hanging out with our thoughts. We think and then we stress about our thoughts as if they are the absolute truth. Then we think some more, and stress more, and back and forth, until we are overwhelmed and super anxious...it is a vicious cycle.
I like to think about it as spiraling into the negative vortex of DOOM! Have you ever been there? I certainly have spent most my life living in that vortex!
The first step to changing anything that is habituated is building AWARENESS:
I invite you to just begin to notice when you get hijacked by your thoughts. We can't stop the thoughts, but we do have a choice (if we are AWARE!) to not spiral down the negative vortex of anxiety and stress by following them.
The second step is coming back to the PRESENT MOMENT:
When you make the choice not to spiral with your thoughts, bring yourself back to the experience of the NOW. What are you doing this very moment?
As you sit reading this, I invite you to notice your connection to the chair or couch that you are on. Bring your awareness to sense and receive the weight of your thighs against the surface. Can you sense your breath? Not trying to change anything, quietly observe the natural inhale and exhale.
What are you noticing? Is your breath shallow or deep? Can you sense your feet on the ground or not really? Is there something different you are noticing?
There is no wrong way to start building AWARENESS of your present moment truth.
Washing dishes? Notice the warmth of the water on your hands, the texture of the bubbles on the sponge, feel the weight of the plate you are holding. Can you sense your feet making connection with the ground underneath you? Do you notice something different?
Playing outside with your children? Take a moment to listen to the sounds around you, feel the texture of the grass on the soles of your feet, notice the rise and fall of your chest from your breath, look at your child's smile as he gets curious about the ant hill.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE
The problem is that we get seduced so easily by the chatter in between our ears, we forget that there is a choice to come back to a connected content-less center.
A space to be without the opinions and voices from my thoughts, where I can connect and truly sense my inner truth? Sign me up!
THIS IS A PRACTICE AND IT TAKES PRACTICE
This is what I work on with my somatic life coaching clients. We look at how to disidentify from our anxiety, stresses, or chronic pain, and live present and embodied. Connected not only to our self, but also the environment and other people around us.
How can we take this practice of embodied presence into our every day?
It is unrealistic to be connected and centered all of the time! The practice starts slowly, by cultivating this AWARENESS, in order to start to shift our habituated ways of being in the world.
To help me remember to come back to my embodied self, I use different CUE WORDS.This encourages me to reconnect and sense my center, many times during a day.
Right now, I have sticky notes all over my office that say REST IN.
That is my reminder to check in with my body. Am I connected right now? Present? If I am sitting I sense my feet and notice where I connect to the support from underneath and/or behind me. If I am standing, I will bring awareness to the soles of my feet connecting to the ground.
I notice my internal landscape and the breath. I don’t try to change anything, but just observe the natural rise and fall of my chest. I check in with my belly, solar plexus and shoulders.
I let myself sink into this connection of sensation and connection to the environment.
This cue word of coming back works for me. There will be another cue that resonates for you.
In my Somatic Coaching practice I help clients deepen their connection to their self and their body, by helping them cultivate awareness of their internal landscape and connection with their environment. We explore together how to return to center when your brain and thinking completely hijack your experience!
(Anxious much? I also teach how to understand and master your stress physiology, by learning about your nervous system.)
Embodied Presence helps me practice living with EASE.
Curious to learn more? Reach out and let’s have a conversation!
*****Special Note: For some people tuning into the body can create anxiety or discomfort. If that is the case, please do not force this focus. This is not an unusual response and may be worth further exploration with a qualified professional. Please send me an email and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. *******
Sara Vatore M.Ed., SEP, BCC, is a Somatic Experiencing ® Practitioner, Board Certified Life Coach, Peak Performance Coach and Nia Instructor. She is an adjunct faculty member of Synthesis San Francisco, a Professional Synthesis Coach Training Program and is trained in Psychosynthesis, a holistic psychological model. Through her understanding of the nervous system and the body, Sara helps her clients build capacity and resiliency in their systems, to more dynamically and easily negotiate life’s challenges, overcome fears and blocks and set and manifest goals. She works with Mind/Body Professionals and Life Coaches to help them master their stress physiology, so they run their businesses confidently and avoid burn out. Sara lives in Belchertown Massachusetts with her husband and two boys, ages 11 and 3.