I have recently been suffering from significant pain in my shoulder and neck.
At first it wasn’t too bad, so I didn’t change much of my routine.
But then, if I moved a certain way, shooting pain went up my neck and entered my brain. I felt like I was going to pass out.
I knew I could not ignore the pain any longer.
So I began the practical regimen of Advil and ice packs.
And the Spiritual regimen of getting quiet and listening to what my body was trying to tell me.
Listening to Your Body
After I got quiet, I thought about my shoulders. What came up for me is the idea that I was shouldering things that aren’t mine to shoulder. I wondered what I could offload from my shoulders.
When I thought about my neck, I thought, “pain in the neck”. I considered what might be a pain in my neck right now. As I began to dissect that idea, I realized that I had been believing I should be further along in the launch of my reimagined coaching business. I felt bad about myself.
Thinking like this felt like a real pain in the neck.
Your Body as a Metaphor
Do you have any pain in your body right now?
Are your feet hurting you? Is there a place where you need more grounding or a stronger foundation?
Are your knees or your hips in pain? Do you need more stability in your life?
What about your back? Are you missing support?
Perhaps it’s your hands? Are you grasping too hard to something? Is it time to let go?
Or your stomach. Are you ingesting toxic ideas, food or TV shows that no longer serve you?
Maybe you’re experiencing lots of headaches. Are you overanalyzing or overthinking? Believing thoughts that don’t make you feel good?
As I focused on the pains in my neck and the things I might be shouldering, I realized that when I moved a certain way the pain was excruciating yet when I slowed down, took a breath and relaxed the pain would dissipate.
When I turned towards the pain it actually lessened!
Follow the Clues from Your Body to Guide the Next Steps in Your Career
Step 1: Grab a piece of paper and pen and get to a quiet place.
Step 2: Take several deep breaths until you are feeling calmer and more centered.
Step 3: Now go to that place in your body where you have pain or angst or discontent. Ask this place, “What message are you trying to deliver to me about my career?”
Step 4: Listen to what comes up and write that down. The first response is often a practical response. For example, when I asked about the pain in my shoulders, my first response was. “You’ve been overdoing it on your resistance training.” Worth considering, but it had nothing to do about my career.
Step 5: Ask the question again. ”Pain in my shoulder, what message are you trying to deliver to me about my career?” Write down that answer. That may also be a practical one that has nothing to do with your career…yet. In my case the response was, “You need to think about how you’re sleeping at night. You must be crunching your neck.”
Both of those responses were certainly something for me to look at, but my mom could have given me this advice. I needed to go deeper. I needed to ask again.
The next time I asked, I received this response: “You’ve said yes to a number of things and, though they were right then, now you’re overworking and overwhelmed. It is time to set some boundaries. Let go of some activities. Say no!”
This is the wisdom you are looking for in this exercise. Getting beyond the obvious and practical to the deeper wisdom.
You will know you are on the right track because it will resonate in your body like truth.
Keep repeating Step 5 until you know your body has delivered all the wisdom it has for your problem.
Then ask your body for more guidance.
Step 6: Once you feel complete with Step 5 go back to the pain in your body and ask if it has any suggestions for how to begin to make changes based on the wisdom it shared. Example: “So, I need to set boundaries? Agreed! Wise body, I’d love some ideas on where to start?”.
You may be surprised at the answer. For me, it was suggested that I make a list of all of the things I am doing and see which ones bring me joy, which ones serve a purpose and which ones have run their course. From there I can begin to plan my next moves.
There is no need to look outside of yourself. Your body really does hold great wisdom. It is the receiver, and container, of all things. Asking your body for its wisdom and advice is a spiritual tool that can change your perspective, your mood and your future.
All you need to do is ask and listen for its quiet response.
Ready to reconnect to your body and move forward in your career? Sign up for a Career Strategy Session today. I’m in!