If I asked you what you feel in your body right now, at this very moment, you would probably tell me what hurts. “My neck and back are a little sore,” or, “There is some pain in my right thigh,” or quite possibly, “My left foot is achy, but, you know, that’s always there so it doesn’t matter.” But, what if you weren’t in pain at all? What would you answer?
Typically, when I ask clients what they feel, I get the laundry list of complaints (a totally valid response), or I get a very nondescript answer like, “I feel pretty good. Nothing hurts, so, yeah, I guess I feel fine.”
Hmm. This is a problem, and I mean a problem in a BIG way.
Pain, although it’s really annoying and frustrating, serves a very important purpose. It brings us back into our bodies. Most of us are just drifting along, amputated from all sensation from the neck down. If we don’t feel pain, we don’t feel anything. We just assume our heart is still beating, our lungs are still taking in air, the blood is flowing through our veins and we probably still have all our limbs.
After all, you’re still alive, right? Everything’s probably fiiiiine. No need to check in.
But I really disagree. I think that a huge part of the depression, dissatisfaction, fear and frustration that most people experience comes from disconnection from the self. We’re looking outside ourselves for satisfaction and diving deep into the black hole of consumption. “If I just had a bigger TV…a faster car….a shiner living room…then I could be happy! For realz!”
We’re in search of the magic bullet to fill the void that lives inside of us. We’ve been taught that any sensation at all is evil and should be squashed, but that just makes us numb out into sort of a void of nothingness, a living death.
I truly, truly, deeply and with all my heart and soul believe that each and every one of us is seeking an experience of aliveness. We want to feel as though we are truly here, but it’s so easy to become a walking shell, mindlessly and heartlessly going through the motions everyday, showing up at work and doing what needs to be done without any joy, satisfaction or presence.
But you’re not gonna get it from buying more stuff. In fact, you’re not going to find it in weight loss, it’s not hiding behind a pile of money and those bigger and shinier gadgets just serve to mask the gaping void lurking behind them.
Aliveness – that juicy feeling of total satisfaction with your self and your life – can only come from being incredibly present in the here and now, totally connected to your body. Anxiety, fear and depression come from living too far in the past or the future, from fretting about the what-ifs and might-happens.
I know this intimately. For much of my life, I suffered from paralyzing panic attacks. I used to think there was something wrong with me – I even let doctors try to medicate me for a while (it really didn’t work…just created more problems). Finally, I discovered that managing panic and depression was as simple as eating a clean, healthy diet, getting plenty of movement everyday (read: exercise) and staying super present.
When you find yourself freaking out and flying out of yourself, here’s how you bring yourself back into the present moment in a flash:
Start by taking a few deep breaths. Breathe into your lungs, high in your rib cage. Let your shoulders drop down as you breathe in.
Tell yourself that, in this moment, everything is okay. You still have two arms and two legs. There is plenty of food. You are safe, warm and dry. There are people who love you. There is enough money in the bank – this one can be a trip. If you think there isn’t enough, check in on that. You probably have just what you need for today, for this moment. Don’t worry about tomorrow, or even tonight. Those will take care of themselves. Right now, you have enough.
And that brings me to YOU ARE ENOUGH. This is such a hard one to get because we live in a culture of not enough – we’re never rich enough, thin enough, pretty enough, tall enough, cute enough, successful enough…the list goes on and on and on and on. But right now, in this moment, you are enough. Give this moment everything you’ve got and you’ll be shocked at how powerful you really are.
Okay, your turn! What do you do to bring yourself back to the present moment? Leave me a comment below and let me know. Oh, and if you like this post, use the many buttons to share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.