This morning on my walk, as I was heading up the hill, I started to feel a little strained in my muscles and light-headed. I then naturally backed off and slowed down. Then a few moments later, I paused to reflect and appreciate what I had just chosen.
My incentive in the past when going on a walk consisted of the idea to get fit and often I’d have been driven to power and push through with this goal in mind. In doing this I was pushing through the limits of what my body was capable of and actually making myself exhausted and physically doing a bit of damage on some level. What’s intelligent about any of that?
This morning on my walk however, I was listening to the signals my body was giving me, which was that I absolutely needed movement and activity, but gentle movement and activity.
So as I continued on my walk, the appreciation was of the connection I have built over the years listening to my body and what it is saying. This to me is connecting to whole body intelligence – an understanding that the body knows what it needs, greater than any advice or research finding.
When I listen to my body and the messages, intelligence and wisdom it has to offer, I sense I am connecting to a grander picture of where that source of intelligence is coming from. Yes, it is me who is feeling it, but that intelligence is re-connecting to something which is universal.
I can see nature connects to this too. For example, I’ve always marveled at how a flock of migrating birds always has a certain formation with a lead bird at the front. When that bird needs to rest, another will replace it – and at the same time one falls back, another comes forward. How do they communicate that? – there’s no mobiles or two-way radios – but the message is communicated. It is this same source of intelligence humans have access to also.
Another way to demonstrate this is through my job, which is teaching. I completed the teaching component of my degree twenty-five years after studying the content of the subject. So when I first came to teaching, catching up on all the content felt overwhelming and I was almost overtaken with the anxiety of feeling not good enough or knowing enough.
But then I began to discover in many teaching moments that I would present some amazing info, which surprised me and I would think, where did that come from, how do I know that? It appeared I actually innately knew an awful lot about what I taught. The content of this delivery was not so much the recall of dates or names but would be of a deep and profound wisdom, always relating to the subject and content. I find students listen more intently when I speak from this perspective, and my whole voice and body feels like it is speaking from authority – whereas when I recall dates and people or read from a book, it is not as engaging for the students and my voice sounds different. I still need to learn and know the dates, figures, texts and grammar, but overall I naturally am able to convey the deep understandings which are required within all the teaching units – and within these teachings are some of the truest and most intelligent offerings my teaching has to deliver. So I began to learn to trust and surrender to the anxiety and teaching started to become far more enjoyable, as it became a natural expression.
How often do we give our power over to information and research; to institutions?
There is incredible intelligence in our bodies: no effort, professors, subscriptions or library cards needed – just a connection and a willingness to listen.
As I have deepened my connection with my body, and the relationship with my innate knowing and intelligence, I have experienced some profound effects in my life.
One of them is my inner confidence. I now know that if I feel something, it is valid and I listen. Trusting myself has had a profound impact on my self-confidence and the quality of how I feel towards myself has helped me to actually value, like and love me – and I now validate myself continuously by honoring what I feel. This has brought about a very precious and loving self-relationship that is sacred to me and delivers me a true inner confidence.
I feel equipped and have reduced anxiety as I trust my body will deliver me all I need as I walk through the many scenarios and situations in my life. Compared to the anxiousness and doubt with which I used to lead my life, this universal, whole body intelligence I am connecting to, feels amazing.
By Gina Dunlop