Quite some clients that I see in my practice have the belief that they can think their way out of things. When we work together there’s always a point, however, that they experience that their bodies are super relevant for their personal growth. Not only to keep healthy on a physical level, but because our bodies are the instruments to experience feelings and emotions. They are also the only instrument we have to release the energy that comes with emotions.
A couple of days ago my client told me that he had understood the whole importance of “feeling emotions and stuff”, but he didn’t understand what his body had to do with his personal development. I asked him if he ever took a walk in the woods, he answered with a look of confusion. I went on to ask him if he ever took a walk from his desk to the coffee machine in the office to clear his head. He nodded in recognition. Apparently this was the closest example for him in which his body was functional for emptying his mind and getting out of his habitual ways of thinking and doing, just by walking and breathing.
The bridge was now more easily made to remembering that walking and breathing can help when emotions such as sadness, anger, joy and fear come up in every day situations. All in all to learn to really inhabit the body so it’s capacity and wisdom becomes available to us.
(Please note that I’m not properly honoring the deep work of body oriented psychotherapy here, but jotting it down like this serves its purpose I feel).
It occurred to me that it wasn’t important that my client didn’t do the walking in the woods, some of us just do not have the opportunity within reach to take hour long walks in the woods. As long as we had a close to home example that he could relate to, we were half way into becoming more conscious about having a body and learning about its functionality beyond just getting us from a to b.
It got me contemplating about the when the walk from the desk to the coffee machine wasn’t enough anymore. As a young family we started to feel that we needed a different environment than the wonderful hustle and bustle of creativeness of the city as a supportive environment to do our work and to live life as feels fulfilling. It took me more time to give into the fact, but eventually I did, that we both felt that surrounding ourselves with nature would contribute to our health, well being and that it would cater in the fact that we wanted our children to grow up amongst trees to see, to learn about and most of all: to climb. Also silence and contemplation has become such an import part of being a coach and process facilitator that this was the most logical thing to do. Furthermore I find so much inspiring metaphors in nature for the processes of development that I may facilitate – being that of a person or a company – that nature actually overrules reading books for me ; )
So we made the decision to leave my beloved city of Amsterdam and to live in a beautiful and rich forestry area in the middle of The Netherlands. Now, visiting the city at my own convenience, which I of course lovingly do many a times. We now live at the edge of one of the greenest areas in The Netherlands, the forest is literally around the corner. Each time I venture into the woods, as is becoming a beautiful new habit for me to do every morning, it stirs something in me. It touches me and I feel so much gratitude for us making the brave choice of leaving the known to follow our impuls into the unknown. And my body, in all it’s functionality, jumps of joy, immediately downloading this bit of reflection as a happy wave from the woods to you today!
NB To focus and train my mind in remembering (after all I am a mother of young children and therefore suffer from the ’mommy brain’ phenomenon) I hardly ever take my phone on my walk. This photo resembles what I saw though and was respectfully borrowed from Luke Stackpoole from Unsplash. Thanks Luke.