What's covered: How to quickly get clear when you feel confused or pulled in different directions & how to access your body's wisdom to make better, smarter, wiser life decisions
*Kate sat across from me, her hands restless in her lap and her eyes wide with distress.
"I just don't know what to do," she said, her voice empty with exhaustion.
I calmly looked at Kate: "I want you to verbalize three options you have available to you that could help shift this situation. But first, I want you to take a couple of deep breaths."
As Kate started to speak, I intently watched what her body had to say.
Option 1: "I could just run away, and avoid the situation as much as possible."
Kate's chest and neck pulled back. There was distance in her voice, no real conviction. Kate screwed up her mouth and nose as though she'd just heard or said something that felt jarringly untrue.
Remember the children's hide-and-seek game called "Hot and Cold"? One person hides a mystery object and it's the other person's job to find it. When they move closer to discovering the object, everyone yells out "warmer" and when they move further away, everyone yells out "colder."
Well, Kate's body reaction to the first option was COLD with a capital C!
Option 2: "I could let him know how I'm feeling, and maybe I should suggest meeting up, so we could have a talk."
Kate nodded slightly as she mentally considered this potential scenario. She leaned her head to the left, checking in with her inner feelings. Her body moved slightly forward in the chair, but unlike her voice - which had become calmer - Kate's feet were restless, moving up and down on the spot.
Okay, we're getting warmer.
Option 3: "Or (and she took a deep breath)... I could just stand back and let things unfold in their own time and take action when the opportunity presents itself."
As soon as the last words left Kate's mouth, she dissolved into tears. She then leaned forward, and her shoulders started shaking with laughter. Kate looked up - her face flushed, her nose running and her eyes clear - and said: "Yeah, that's it."
Bingo - HOT!
The Truth SWEET Spot
Throughout the entire conversation - apart from prompting Kate to say aloud the next option and remaining completely present - I didn't say or do anything.
In other words, I gave Kate the space to access her own awareness and come to her own realizations. Because option three is not always going to be the most appropriate path, but for this person, at that particular time, it clearly was.
Candid Body Talk & Clearer Decision Making
Keep in mind that bodies communicate truth in different ways. Unlike Kate, it's not always that obvious; it can be really subtle too. For example, it can feel like a constriction or an expansion in the chest or solar plexus area.
Sometimes, it's an instinctive pull-back or a lean forward of the upper or lower body. Other times, it's the sense that the words you're saying are not your own (i.e. your regurgitating other people's points of view rather than accessing your own truthful insights).
BODYMIND HOT HINT! The unexpected release of tears is a STRONG indicator that you've moved beyond the mental talk and struck the truth chord.
Be warned though, you're not always going to like what your body has to say. In Kate's case, her main action was going to be inaction. (Cue: potential frustration and impatience.) Choosing this path was going to present a real challenge for Kate, because it would mean standing back, trusting and surrendering her ego's desire to push for an immediate answer and achieve a certain outcome.
Quickie Recap For Making The Right Decision For You
TOP Tips on how to access your body's wisdom when you don't know what to do, can't decide what direction to take or what choice to make:
Tune-in to your body and notice how your body language, voice tone or word choice changes as you talk about different options or run through possible scenarios
Sense your body's inner response to different choices: heaviness / constriction / pull-back (No thanks, something about this stinks!) OR lightness / expansion / lean forward (Go for it!) N.B. You can feel a sense of expansion even if the choice triggers some fear in you
Ask yourself: What was my immediate gut instinct or body reaction when presented with this choice (BEFORE my mind started justifying why I should or shouldn't do this)?
To make good decisions and conscious choices every time, also remember:
Choose a trusted confidant: Skip verbalizing your innermost thoughts and frustrations with a highly opinionated person who can't hold their tongue; consider seeing a professional holistic practitioner instead
Welcome the tears even if it means you have to load-up on the tissues (oftentimes TRUTH = TEARS or other strong emotional releases, including laughter)
Watch out for the sneaky "should" word, which can be loosely translated as: "I'd really prefer not to, but I'm feeling obliged or pressured to say I will"
These decision-making tools and bodymind awareness tips can be used when confronted with hard choices in any area of your life: career changes, family situations or personal relationship issues. (For more detailed info about body wisdom and the mind-body connection, you can click here.)
Ready to delve even deeper into better, more conscious decision making?
Next time I'll be looking at what we really mean when we say "I don't know..." as well as introducing my Ball 'N' Wall analogy - you're going to love it! So keep your eye out for Part 2. of What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do.
Now it's time to pass on the Wisdom Baton: Have you had a major moment in your life when you listened to what your body was telling you - instead of your mind or other people - and it paid off BIG time? I'd love to hear about it! Drop me a line at email@example.com
Next step: Do you have family or friends who have choice confusion or decision overwhelm? Click on one of the social media icons below to share this "get-clear" article.
Keep listening to your body and trusting your wise self,
(*Name changed for privacy reasons and dialogue edited for clarity.)