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Tag Archives: Genius Invigorating Work


Meet Donald, a Somatic Chef

Last week I attended an intimate meditation retreat with my somatic meditation community. Treated daily to three fresh, simple, delightfully nourishing meals made by Donald, we quickly fell in crush. He promised that the food would be good, and good food supports our meditation practice. Simple. Fresh. Clear. (Pith instructions for life!)

One afternoon while washing dishes, a friend asked Donald, “Do you taste your cooking as you are preparing it?”

Donald replied, “Oh no. I always ask someone else do my tasting. Their body immediately tells me if it is good or not.”

Startled by his value of body wisdom, I expressed my delight in his way of seeing. A true somatic chef!

He continued by saying he can gauge the quality of the dish by the movement of the taster’s body, their facial expressions, their eyes, the way they swallow, and after swallowing, a smile and a hand resting on the belly. I admired Donald’s perfection in body-wisdom, particularly with our daily intake of food, a form of nourishment—a form of currency.

Did you know that our bodies also offer signals when we delve into money matters? Yes, they do.

Most often our bodies are stiff and constricted when discussing money. Our attention centers in the head, trying to figure out an answer, or force a particular outcome, or determine a pressured next best step. The message our body gives in these moments is, I am scared, fatigued, working really hard to get this right.

Sometimes our bodies are more relaxed and at ease. In relaxed moments, clarity is front and center, confidence in our decisions is booming, and we are enjoying a space of freedom. That’s right, “financial freedom” is not just a cute elusive phrase. It is a direct visceral experience of feeling free. What does free feel like to you? At ease. Hopeful. Confident. Peaceful.

On more rare occasions, when facing a money decision, we intentionally access our body intelligence, along with knowledge from our brain. In these situations, we trust in our practical money knowledge, and that this information is available when we need it. In addition, we are curious about what we do not know, and how our body intelligence—in the form of sensations, movement and feelings—can support us in clearer approaches to money direction.

Donald is one of the rare ones who trusts his practical culinary skills and uses them daily to prepare meals. He is motivated to prepare good healthy food for the benefit of his guests. He adds his curiosity and trust in unique body wisdom to gather insights from another’s somatic response to his cooking, and receives these responses as a valuable gift to improve his results.

Let’s take a lesson from Donald and make a vow to include more body wisdom in our life pursuits. If going directly to money is a challenge, practice with food, or conversation, or another safer activity, to build a stronger muscle. Once practiced, including money will be just the next “thing” to integrate somatic awareness with your precious human life.

Smiling and holding my palm on my belly, I can taste Donald’s savory soups even from my memory.

Somatically savoring,

 

 

 

Five-Minute Try-It: Practicing Practice

PURPOSE: To recognize the difference between understanding an issue cognitively and engaging a practice to make better choices and build new muscles.

PREPARATION: Choose play and presence as a new practice to try out. Retrieve blow bubbles and wooden matches – or – improvise with your own play/presence props.

Minute one: Bring attention to your blow bubbles and the practice of play. Notice the interior of your body: thoughts, sensations (movement, pressure, temperature) and the entire felt sense of your body. How does your body respond to play?

Minute two: Open the plastic container of blow bubbles and begin to play with the bubbles. Notice each breath blowing, and the bubble created. Pay attention to the action of blowing bubbles.

Minute three: After blowing bubbles for a minute, pause with awareness in your body. What sensations (movement, pressure, temperature) do you notice. If these sensations feel good, choose more bubble blowing. If your sensations don’t feel so good, choose to strike a match.

Minute four: Retrieve a wooden match from the matchbox. Pay attention to the slim wooden stick with the colored strike tip. Holding the box with striking pad at an optimal angle, take a breath, and glide the match tip over the strike area. Be fully present to the spark and flame; blow out the fire when your body indicates (i.e. the flame gets too hot to hold!)

Minute five: Reflect on your experience with striking the match. Describe your level of joy, satisfaction, presence, and attention. Choose to strike another match or not. Repeat reflection on your experience.

Complete your practice recognizing the choice to practice, and the new capacities developing as you practice.

Five-Minute Try-It: Get Interested

Click photo for video.

PURPOSE: Activate your interest muscle and experience the vibrancy of authentic interest.

PREPARATION: Be alone without interruptions; comfortable clothing preferable.

Minute one: Stand upright with a straight spine, mimicking a tall pine tree – a line of energy moving down from the heart into the earth and from the heart through the top of your head to the sky.

Minute two: Allow your eyes to wander, taking in the sights around your space. When your eyes meet something that attracts you, stop with interest.

Minute three: Sense the object or space with gentle eyes, looking with interest at whatever you see.

Minute four: What thoughts, feelings and sensations arise in your body as you deepen your interest in this object?

Minute five: Keep your interest on this object vacillating between the object and every experience that arises in your body.

Complete your practice by noticing what happens to the object. Is it separate? Compare this experience of interest with your typical way of being interested.

Daily 5-Minute Practice: Practice Getting Interested daily. I suggest you set a timer for three different times (AM, afternoon and evening) as a way to give full attention to getting interested.

5-Minute Try It: Practicing Practice

PURPOSE: To recognize the difference between understanding an issue cognitively and engaging a practice to make better choices and build new muscles.

PREPARATION: Choose play and presence as a new practice to try out. Retrieve blow bubbles and wooden matches – or – improvise with your own play/presence props.

Minute one: Bring attention to your blow bubbles and the practice of play. Notice the interior of your body: thoughts, sensations (movement, pressure, temperature) and the entire felt sense of your body. How does your body respond to play?

Minute two: Open the plastic container of blow bubbles and begin to play with the bubbles. Notice each breath blowing, and the bubble created. Pay attention to the action of blowing bubbles.

Minute three: After blowing bubbles for a minute, pause with awareness in your body. What sensations (movement, pressure, temperature) do you notice. If these sensations feel good, choose more bubble blowing. If your sensations don’t feel so good, choose to strike a match.

Minute four: Retrieve a wooden match from the matchbox. Pay attention to the slim wooden stick with the colored strike tip. Holding the box with striking pad at an optimal angle, take a breath, and glide the match tip over the strike area. Be fully present to the spark and flame; blow out the fire when your body indicates (i.e. the flame gets too hot to hold!)

Minute five: Reflect on your experience with striking the match. Describe your level of joy, satisfaction, presence, and attention. Choose to strike another match or not. Repeat reflection on your experience.

Complete your practice by recognizing the choice to practice, and the new capacities developing as you practice.

5-Minute Try It: Last Breath

PURPOSE: To build your embodied sufficiency muscle – recognizing the sufficiency of each breath – and to practice experiencing a last breath.
Please note: engaging this Try It may catalyze deep emotion. If you feel really triggered, please breathe into your body and sense gravity holding you in mother earth’s arms.

PREPARATION: Please lie down on your back with knees bend touching and feet flat on ground hip distance apart. Rest your hands on your belly. Allow your body to relax and feel the “holding” of the earth. Any tension you notice, let it fall down through the earth. Once you feel connected to the ground, begin breathing.

Minute one: Place your item in front of you – relate energetically to this thing by giving it your full attention. Notice what experience you are having in your body. What area of your body is activated and how?

Minute two: Give attention to the place in your body that is activated. What is happening? Does your response feel open or closed? Is there movement or stillness? Is the temperature noticeable?

Minute three: Staying with this space and your noticing, ask this part of your body: is this desire, ignorance or rejection, or something else? How am I relating to this thing?

Minute four: Still staying in the body space – not figuring out – allow your body to give you some clues. Indifference, sleepiness, dullness could be tending toward ignorance. Stimulated, seeking, anxious could be desire. Confused, frustrated, agitated could be rejection at play.

Minute five: Whatever arose last, be with the experience staying in your heart and generous breath. Ask your open mind and heart, “What is the highest and best use of this item?”

Complete your practice by allowing the answer to your wonder question to reveal itself – now or sometime next. When the answer arrives, take action with this thing and notice what happens to your sense of sufficiency.

5-Minute Try It: 5 Stages of Learning

Minute one: Hear. Listen openly to the sounds, voices, words in your present space.

Minute two: Review. Review the sounds you heard. What were the sounds? How do you relate to them?

Minute three: Understand. Your cognition digests the sounds and gives sound meaning. Then, the meaning gets organized so you can relate to the information. Note: these first three stages are only cognitive.

Minute four: Practice. Stage four ignites practices for embodiment. Sound comes in through your sense organ and through vibration in your body. Be aware of the sensations of your body as you listen to sounds.

Minute five: Embody. Eventually, with practice, you will be able to listen with your whole body, including all sounds in your ear.

Complete your practice by recognizing the difference in cognitive listening and whole body listening. Whole body listening is a lifelong practice.