Taming the Inner Fascist
Over the weekend Mike and I had planned to spend Saturday cleaning up our house.
Saturday afternoon came around. We’d been to the gym. We’d eaten. We’d put on our cleaning clothes. It was time.
I asked Mike where we should start (he’s far better at structure and sequential thinking than I am). But there were zero ounces of me that felt like tidying up the house.
I was tired. All I wanted to do was lie down on the floor. He was tired. Neither of us felt like doing it.
He suggested we go to a movie. I said, “No! This is the day we planned to clean up! If we don’t do it today we’re not going to do it!” (Sometimes I do such a great job of embodying a little fascist.)
“Why don’t you take a nap?” Mike suggested.
“No! We need to clean up!” I responded emphatically.
We went back and forth like this. Every time Mike proposed something other than cleaning up that sounded like more fun, my body said “Yes!” but my mind gave a hard “No!”… until my inner Mussolini finally cracked.
Mike suggested we go out and look for furniture, another project that had been on the list for weeks. I caved and said sure.
Saving Time, Money, And Energy
We found everything we needed at one store. It took about an hour; we saved over $700 because the people at the store were awesome and gave us a “newlywed discount”; and it was an altogether incredible afternoon.
But the kicker was, as we were shopping, I got super excited to get home and clean up the house so that we could get rid of stuff and organize everything else in our new armoires and cabinets.
My body had known something earlier that my mind wasn’t aware of:
Cleaning up would have taken way longer and been way more frustrating without the furniture to put everything away.
My earlier fatigue was my intuition telling me that I had things in the wrong order.
As soon as we had the furniture, the surge of enthusiasm for cleaning up came rushing in.
Her communications will come in the form of an urge to lie down and take a nap every time you start working on a certain project or uncontrollable yawning when you have tea with a certain friend.
You’ll get a tight little knot in your solar plexus in a meeting or a wave of nausea right as you’re supposed to be signing on the dotted line.
Your body’s signals are not random.
Yet we live in a culture that teaches us to overcome our body.
No pain no gain.
What if we actually listened to the signals our body was giving us?
And what if we actually acted on them?
On Saturday Mike and I listened to and acted on our impulses. We did what we felt like doing instead of what we’d planned on doing.
We were rewarded by efficiency (furnishing two rooms in under an hour!), saving money, and heaps of pleasure that come from spending a beautiful afternoon together having fun.
When the furniture arrives we’ll get everything picked up and put away in record time with smiles on our faces and energy left over.
These choices are what life is made of. It may not seem like the choice to go look for furniture rather than cleaning up a house is particularly earth-shattering, but it is.
When we choose to listen to ourselves and follow our impulses toward what feels good our lives become easier.
We step into a flow where we meet the right people at the right time.
We have the energy to do the things that we need to do instead of feeling like we’re paddling upstream all the time.
Things take less time and cost less money.
And, most importantly, we can take all the energy we were previously using to push through and use it to make art, to add value, to be of service, and to love our family, friends, the Earth, and ourselves.
Listening to your body, acting on her impulses, and choosing to move toward feeling good is serious business.
What would happen if you did what you felt like doing instead of what you’d planned on doing?
Try this – it will take less than a minute:
- Set an alarm to go off every hour or so during your day today.
- When it goes off close your eyes and take a single deep breath in and out.
- As you breath in and out simply feel what’s going on in your body.
- Ask whatever sensation you may feel (pain in your left knee, a tightness in your stomach, a tingling in your shoulder…) what message it has for you.
- Listen for the answer.
- Ask yourself, “What do I really feel like doing right now?”
- Listen for the answer.
Extra credit: Do the thing that your body told you it feels like doing!
When you first start you may not be able to feel or hear anything. That’s totally fine and totally normal. Just keep coming back to your body and feeling and listening. Over time she’ll get the memo that you’re available for communication and the messages will begin to come in loud and clear.
And then, of course, it’s up to you to heed them.
When you heed the messages from your body you not only change your world, but also change the world.
Over to you:
What do you do to tune into the messages of your body? How does she speak to you? I’d love to hear about your tools and practices in the comments below.