A couple of weeks ago my writing coach gave me a writing exercise, to help me explore the senses of sight, sound, and touch. It had come up because she had asked me to use more descriptive writing in my book.
I really love doing this exercise, not only because it helps me as a writer - it grounds me in my body. It connects my brain, which makes meaning of everything, to my body which takes in information through all of our sensory processes. This exercise focuses on gathering information.
As someone who spends a lot of time reading up on fitness and embodied movement, I see a lot of social media posts and articles that say, “The body does not lie.” And I agree. But our brains and our bodies frequently have communication breakdowns. Neither is lying, but there is a whole lot of misunderstanding. When the lines of communication breakdown between our body and brain, our perpetually meaning-making brains often come to ill-begotten conclusions.
Somatic Experiencing, writing, and lifting weights - all of which slow me down so I really experience my body in the moment - are all avenues I can use to work on understanding my body and the information it is giving my brain. In turn, my meaning-making brain does a better job understanding and making meaning of both my inner and outer worlds. Now I find myself able to reduce the potency of triggers, recognize my boundaries, and keep myself feeling safe without being hypervigilant.
Do you do anything slowly - slow enough to just note without judgement what you are feeling, seeing, smelling, tasting, or hearing? Do you practice an instrument or paint? Are you a foodie? What do you love to do? If you don’t do anything slowly, I invite you to try slowing down next time. If it is something more physically explosive - like olympic weightlifting, golfing, archery - slow down to set up and really get those conditions in place to execute it as best you can. What information are you taking in when you slow down? Take some time to reflect - writing about it in a journal or in an email to a friend is a great way to make space to reflect. What did you notice?
Originally Published February 8, 2019