2020 began for me on a wonderful silent retreat on Clare Island off the west coast of Ireland. The retreat included a digital detox and disconnection from the outside world. It felt so liberating to turn off the distraction and remove temptation to pull towards my phone. So, while the disturbing story of the corona virus outbreak in Wuhan was emerging, I was blissfully oblivious to the threat that would infect the world.
By the end of the weeklong retreat, my body felt the benefits of the yoga, meditation, organic nutritious food, daily walks & clarity of thought. After decades of having a corporate sedentary job, sitting for endless hours in front of a computer, working long hours, putting work ahead of personal needs, feeling disconnected and disembodied, I vowed never to go back to those old ways.
I made my new year and new decade resolutions aimed at living a mindful and embodied lifestyle. I purposefully made movement a daily habit and to pay attention to what my body needed. I made my intentions to be present in all aspects of my life and this meant dealing with whatever life threw at me without trying to bypass, suppress, numb or distract myself.
As the world started to grapple with living through a pandemic, my own lifestyle was largely non impacted. I took the first lockdown in March in my stride, I was already working from home building my coaching business, studying to be a Mind Body Therapy Practitioner, and settling into my new community. My family was a couple of hours drive away & I was used to not seeing them regularly from my years of living abroad. We had already gotten used to staying connected through technology.
My biggest adjustment during the March lock down was the arrival of my rescue puppy with whom I was inexperienced to deal with and who initially created some havoc in my otherwise calm life. I tried to appease the puppy and ended up spoiling him causing him to believe that he was the master of the house.
I was fortunate to get some local expert training and invaluable advice that my own behaviour as owner required change. The first thing I had to become aware of was my body language and the signals I was giving. Tuning into my body language was new territory for me, another side effect from leading a largely disembodied life. Miraculously since I started to pay attention to my body language towards my puppy, our connection has blossomed.
I am fascinated by how our minds and bodies are interconnected. Through the Mind Body Therapy program I have understood how our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can affect our biological functioning. Just as what we eat, our posture, the way we move, even our relationships with other people and the environment can impact our mental state. Every aspect of our life is in connection with one another.
Simply put the mind body connection works like this, what the mind thinks, the body feels. When we think joyful thoughts our bodies tingle with delight, when we think worrying thoughts our bodies tense up. When we live in fear of what might happen, instead of what is happening, we put our bodies under unnecessary stress. This may have damaging consequences that result in disease.
Everyday life can cause us to lose contact with our sensations, emotions and with the way our body moves, feels and acts. We have been taught from an early age to keep movement to a minimum, to sit still and pay attention to our thoughts rather than our feelings. We have adapted to suppress and contain the body’s natural functions. We live in a complex social world of notifications, appointments, responsibilities and concerns. Once our attention gets caught up in thought, demands, expectations and stress we have no time to attend to ourselves. We risk losing our emotional equanimity, our physical health and our sense of wellbeing.
The intention of Mind Body Therapy is to support the processes of healing and transformation. The practices develop an embodied self-awareness where we can pay attention to our sensations, emotions and movements in the present moment without judgement. As a Mind Body Therapy practitioner, I work in an integrative capacity to enhance the mind’s interactions with bodily function, to induce relaxation and to enhance vitality and well-being.
In these times of a viral pandemic, it is easy to be swept up in fear & anxiety. Yet, it is vital for your health and wellbeing to be mindful of your thoughts, to choose to stay strong in mind and body. One of the most valuable life lessons is that we have no control what life brings us only how we respond to it. The more we try to resist what life brings and cling onto what we expect, the more stuck in life we become.
We can’t move forward when we feel stuck. So often our human instinct is to avoid, suppress, distract and deny ourselves the ability to move on. We feel unprepared for and fearful of the difficult emotional experience presenting itself. We dare not believe in our own capability to find resilience to overcome; the way forward is obscured; and the climb seems insurmountable. In difficult times in the past, my own way of dealing with being stuck has been to shut down, self-isolate, push the feelings away, stay busy and numb my heart.
As I started to practice the Mind Body techniques, I experienced a deep sense of connection to my own inner wisdom. I felt that it was time to deeply examine what was surfacing within the practices. I realised I had perspective to look at myself in a new light. I experienced being present with feelings evoked from painful periods of my life and no longer suffering. Instead, I could look at who I was at that time in my life with compassion and forgiveness. I could let go of holding onto emotions deeply embedded in my psyche and trapped in my body. I felt the weight of decades lift off my shoulders. I could not have imagined how light I could become in mind, body and soul.
I have learnt that the way to transformation is to be present with the tough emotions flooding my body. The practices have enabled me to recognise what is arising within, to allow it to surface without judgement and to open my heart to receive the wisdom it brings. I trust that putting my body in motion can overrule limiting thought patterns that otherwise would have left me immobilised. In response my body has become fitter, leaner, stronger and more responsive to my environment. My vitality is at an all-time high and my stress is at an all-time low.
As a certified Mind Body Therapy Practitioner I have started to integrate my learnings into my coaching practice. My clients are dealing with unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress as a result of the pandemic. They are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I use Mind Body techniques to teach my clients to be curious about what their body wants them to know and how to use this knowledge to energise their lives. I take my clients on a voyage of discovery to tune inwards and listen to the wisdom of their bodies. They learn how to use embodied techniques to track their vitality, to recognise what feeds their soul and what drains their batteries. They discover how to break through limiting beliefs, to become aware of the wisdom of their body, to process their emotions, to cultivate more ease & transform their lives.
Based on these results and my own success I am launching a new Transformation coaching program to revitalise the Mind, Body & Soul. This program will encompass Mind Body practices to cultivate connection to yourself, to gain clarity and inner wisdom, to increase your vitality and wellbeing and to transform all aspects of your life. More information is available here Contact me Claire@thelifeandsoulcoach.com to book a consultation on how this program can transform your life.