But the body really does know.
We have proof (because we feel it) that our emotions are expressed by and contained within our bodies. We get butterflies in our stomach when we’re nervous, we get raised heart rates when we’re around someone we are attracted to, we feel sick when someone has betrayed us.
And here are some pictures of the heat generated in our bodies when we feel emotions:
So, if the bodies express emotions naturally, what happens when our minds decide we don’t want to feel those feelings – they’re too painful, too hard or not convenient right now? Or maybe the feelings are too overwhelming and we’re too young to know how to deal with them?
The mind slowly works out how to disconnect from the body, because the body is what feels the emotions. We never do this fully, of course, but we will give it our best shot.
Here’s an activity to prove your body “remembers”, that is, it has stored up an emotion…..think about a time when you experienced something horrible. Maybe the death of someone close to you, or something horrific like a car accident or a physical fight, perhaps someone you love broke off the relationships. Think of a time when you experienced negative feelings. Imagine, just for a moment, that you’re back there.
When you imagine this, how does your body feel? I bet you can feel ALL the same physical things that you did first time around, except now, because you’re not really in that situation, your mind can push things away more effectively. Maybe.
My point is – your body remembers. It doesn’t take much for the physical reactions to start up. Your body knows how felt. It remembers.
So, what does this have to do with creating a life you love living?
The body is the starting place and the central place of all deep knowledge about who we are and what we are meant to be doing in life. That’s because it’s your body, not your thinking mind, that truly houses your true self – that part of you that is unique and desires life that feels full and deep and meaningful. Your body feels feelings through out, your body expresses desire in physical feelings and longing in physical feelings. The connection between your essential self and your body is tight. This is what Martha Beck refers to as the body compass – your true self using your body to express it’s true desires and longings.
So, while we let our minds be the things that decide what we do in life, we’ll never truly feel fulfilled and free and deeply purposeful. But follow the true self, through our bodies, and we’ll live rich, deep lives that literally feel great.
Now it’s your turn – what experiences have you had in which your body “knew” something that your mind didn’t comprehend? I would LOVE to hear your stories in the comments section below.