Yesterday was the 4th class of my Listening and Shiva Nata series. It has been even more fun than I’d anticipated. The combination of listening, working with the senses, and Shiva Nata is like a freaking wonder drug!
Anyway, yesterday we were playing with the concept of Body Radar – that innate ability of our bodies to take us exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there.
Or, as per Coyote’s Guide, Body Radar “encourages us to let go of our plans and agendas and listen to the unconscious knowledge and guidance of our body.”
To begin tuning into this particular sense, we practiced the Art of Wandering.
We tuned into our senses (our Owl Eyes, Deer Ears, etc) and then, with eyes open or closed, we slowly turned in a circle until we felt pulled in a particular direction.
And then, we wandered. If we came to an intersection, we would again pause, center deeply into our senses and yet again, allow our bodies to choose where we went.
What’s the point? Why would we want to develop an ability to wander?
Oh, I can think of a reason or two.
For instance, perhaps simply so we don’t have to think so much?
If our bodies are truly wise (which I believe is true) and do know what is best for us (which I also believe), we can cut a lot of the anxiety and worry out of our lives simply by letting our bodies lead.
Also, there’s something really powerful about being centered enough in our bodies so that we can allow them to lead.
Our bodies are always in the present moment. When we can tune into our senses and through our senses, into our Body Radar, we enter the present moment as well.
In the present moment, we have options.
If wandering, for example, we can go left. We can go right. We can turn in circles. We can fall to the ground and take a nap. We can examine and smell the flowers in front of us. We can walk backwards.
When we are truly connected in, there are no wrong choices. Wherever our bodies are, that is exactly where we want to be. And, exactly where we need to be.
What does it take to wander?
In class, we discovered that it takes 3 main things:
- A relaxed state of being – aided by any centering exercise available. We used Owl Eyes and Shiva Nata to get there.
- Tuning into our senses (listening!) to bring us more fully into our bodies. And,
Trust is the big one.
Trust that our bodies do know where they are going.
Trust that when we were blindfolded (yes, we wandered blindfolded for a bit as well) our bodies knew how to avoid the trees.
Trust that we didn’t need to see the obstacles before us in order to be safe.
And, without fail, our bodies did exactly that.
As the instructor, it was amazing to watch a student walk directly for a tree and then, just before running into it, either
- turn to walk a different direction or
- put their hands out, feel the tree and then spend some time getting to know that particular tree.
It very clearly showed just how connected our bodies are to our surroundings – whether we can see them or not.
And, to all of us in the class, it clearly showed just how remarkable of a tool Body Radar really is.
When might wandering be useful?
There’s a lot of directions (hee) I could take this question.
For instance, we could talk about how using Body Radar and Wandering can help us find lost objects.
Or, we could talk about all the synchronicity and coincidences that begin popping up regularly when our bodies lead.
Or, how we magically end up in the most beautiful place in the park or are at just the right place at just the right time to magically make the perfect connection for some upcoming project.
Really, the possibilities are endless.
What I want to highlight today is how useful our bodies can be in helping us make decisions.
In our journaling session at the end of class yesterday, I asked this question:
How might tuning into my body be useful when making decisions?
Here is the answer that sprang from my pen. 🙂
My decisions would be more grounded. They would be grounded in my body.
There would be no second guessing or doubt. No doubt about where I was going, what I needed to do and also no doubt that it would be absolutely fine if the decision changed or if I ended up somewhere completely different from where I began.
The ‘decision’ would just be a starting point. A jumping off point, not the ‘answer.’
Basically, there would be so much more space for exploration, for play, for freedom.
To end, I’d like to encourage you to play with this whole Art of Wandering thing.
Tune into your senses, turn in a circle (eyes open or closed) and allow your body to be pulled wherever it may want to go.
Or, grab a blindfold and a partner (the partner to tap you on the shoulder just in case your Body Radar isn’t yet as finely tuned as it may someday be), tune into your senses and start wandering.
You may end up in unexpected places, having unexpected experiences.
And, you just might find yourself delighted by how this simple exercise can open up new possibilities in other areas of your life.
Today, I’d love to hear your experiences with Wandering.
Or, perhaps tales of times when you have magically been in exactly the right place at the right time.
Another option: exercises you use to get you to that calm, centered place where you can hear your body loud enough to wander. Of course, just saying ‘hi’ is always appreciated. 🙂
Yesterday I was angry. It was so very hot out, and the heat was just getting me hot and bothered about all the little things. I kept thinking I had to do something about each one of them. Then I did a kind of long centering meditation, where I really came into my body. After ending that, I was in a much more grounded place. I was on a totally different planet than the one I’d started on, really. And I no longer felt I needed to do anything at all about all the different annoying things. If my body talked, I believe it would say, “Return to me.”
Yes! It always amazes me just how much the entire *world* changes when I come into my body. It really does change everything. And, I love ‘return to me.’ Such a great reminder.
Oh, reading this post fills me with such delight…
And touches on a hundred slowly-uncoiling understandings within me that seem to be percolating and coming together bring this knowledge into my body.
@Kylie ‘If my body talked, I believe it would say, “Return to me.”’ I love this.
Although this is slightly unrelated, it’s on the theme of body-knowledge, so I’ll throw it out there: this morning I woke up thinking about how epiphanies and insights only seem to stick when they have some physical element to them, i.e. are felt with the body.
Thank you for another post that has made my head deliciously swirly with ideas!
Yay! Yes, that’s my experience exactly (that insights, etc, have to be felt in the body in order to stick or for us to really be able to make changes). I love that you have a *hundred* understandings slowly uncoiling in your body. That’s awesome. 🙂
I didn’t know this had a name. It’s something I started doing about two years ago, seeing it as a part of letting my intuition lead.
I’ve mostly found it disconcerting, since it always challenges me to go outside of my comfort zone. Whether it’s walking backwards in front of strangers, spending more money than I believe I can afford, or going to a party where I don’t know anyone. The results have always been positive, but it always feels like an exercise in blind trust. Like falling backward into space.
I’ve always believed if I could just stay in this space of allowing my body-sense to lead, the effects on my life would be overwhelmingly positive. However I always hit some sort of stopping point (no! I will not buy cow milk! I only drink organic non-fat almond milk, thank you very much! and don’t even think about meat!) where my mind won’t compromise. Then I have to either turn it off or suffer the deep feeling of physical discomfort that comes when I go against my body-sense wishes.
Ultimately, the “compromise” I’ve come to is when I’m having trouble making a decision, I let my body take over and “walk me” in the direction of the right place for me to go. Perhaps in the future I’ll be ready to let go more, but for now it’s enough.
PS. It is interesting though, as soon as you described the exercise on Tuesday I felt an immediate visceral excitement, an eagerness to get started. I think my body loves it, even as my mind has qualms. I might start taking it out to the park and letting it “walk me” on a regular basis, to keep it happy.
Marc Parrish says