Today there will be two exercises that will help you to start the day with more joy, to survive dry spells and to connect with the now in your body and let go of what wants to be solved.
This exercise is especially valuable if we do it in the morning. We all go through strenuous phases easier and are more likely to accept hurdles when we are working towards a goal and promising something beautiful. The reward center definitely has its influence on our actions in good and always destructive ways.
But this is about a very simple imagination exercise. It’s morning, you wake up and you’re still in bed. Stop for a moment and think about what you can look forward to today. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Look for three things you will encounter today that you look forward to. The classics are: a delicious meal, meeting friends, after work or a vitalizing activity such as music or exercise or a massage.
Imagine these three things and feel them in your body. Let the anticipation fill your whole mind with light and joy and then take that joy into the day. Be as detailed as possible and try hard to allow the joy that is associated with it.
When we are supposed to feel our body, it often feels like the area that begins at the hairline and ends at the chin: our head. We are so super smart, so involved with our minds and the “geeks” (“head artists, geniuses”) are nowadays often understood as the new sexy.
The body is therefore restricted to a very small area when it comes to feeling it. I also noticed this when teaching yoga or other activities that people often first have to get back into contact with the body. Perceiving breathing, skin, air, palpitations: the whole body, feel.
A simple way to connect the upper with the lower part and get into an observing position is to describe what is arising at the moment.
Sit down with or without a pen. Feel your breath and observe what you feel and write it down in your mind or on paper. Go on a journey of discovery, inventory, slip into the detective’s shoes for a moment. You are now allowed to take note of every little physical perception in you, completely free of expectation, curiously and playfully.
At exactly this moment I feel a slight itch in my left eye, the hard stool is pressing something on my thighs. I feel how the air I breathe creates evaporative coolness in my free nose. I feel a slight shiver running down my spine. There is some tension in the lower back area. There is a slight tightness in the chest. The wind caresses my back, cooling it. A grateful smile lights up my face. I feel the joy spreading. I feel my heart start beating clearly.
My master, that’s what I call the wise man at KIT who led me to the royal path, Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Seng, shared a beautiful picture of the body with us during our training:
“The body is a collection of many small beings. Beings who want to be looked at. Beings who want to be loved.”
Very often I have observed for myself that when I have observed a part of the body, an emotion, a feeling or a thought that “problems” and tensions have resolved themselves as if by themselves.
Get started easily. You can only do it right and be ready to do it completely wrong (which is absolutely impossible, but here it is mentioned for your relief). Take your time. The signals are sometimes very delicate and quiet and sometimes unmistakable. Stay open to both and approach the story in a relaxed manner and with a childlike adventure. Remember the time when you were relaxed, open and full of enthusiasm for the smallest things. Connect with this happy side of you and allow yourself to have fun exploring your current state.
Just by simply observing, pent-up feelings and pain are released and we perceive ourselves in a new way. It may be that feelings show up that have waited longer for your attention. Often times, a tear can flow there or a stream of salt water droplets slide down your cheeks. That’s okay and that’s strong that you can let that happen. Being authentic, sometimes being allowed to be weak is a strength that brings you more than fighting through and keeping the facade upright.
We all want and need energy, attention and love. I hope that with these two exercises you will invite more of it into your life and that the many little creatures in you will sound and sing alive as a joyful association.
Stay healthy, lively and noticeable.
All the best