By: Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT
How do you typically live your life?
Is it well regimented? Are your plans made well in advance? And do you stick to them at all costs, even when your inner wisdom is telling otherwise? Maybe you’re a social butterfly who always has something to do or you prefer to make occasional plans or plans only when necessary.
In either case, it’s important to account for what is actually needed or happening now. Otherwise, you may end up adhering to many well-intentioned and conceived plans that no longer work in the present. We might feel like our lives are not our own…ignoring our inner wisdom—the voice that speaks to us, our feelings, physical needs, and the signs—letting well-laid plans and ideas take precedent and priority. This may come at a cost to us or others in our lives.
Think of a time you set forth on a mission with a plan. It could have been a work-related deadline or an elaborate plan to do something outside work. You put a lot of time and effort into planning, but events unfolded, pieces of the plan unraveled, or the weather changed. Perhaps responsible parties couldn’t be present to really participate effectively. We’ve all been there, set forth plans we can’t meet running towards deadlines that are too close to call, but we continue and push ahead anyway.
How do you know when it’s time to listen to your inner wisdom? Sometimes we need to stop, recalibrate, and let go of attachment we feel toward an engagement, even if it’s already set in motion. It can sometimes be too easy for us to ignore signals our body, mind, and heart give off, failing to utilize new information coming in from inner and outer circumstances.
Taking time to tap into my Inner Wisdom—even when it’s hard
This happened to me recently with a new client. Unusually for me, I wasn’t feeling well the day of the appointment. However, I was determined to keep the appointment no matter what, as a committed, responsible professional. I had a litany of beliefs and reasons running through my head why I should stick to the plan. My body’s growing discomfort spoke louder and louder, eventually overcoming me. As the day progressed, I realized I wouldn’t be able to provide the client the best possible version of myself; by keeping the meeting, I was also putting my personal health aside —both important factors for me. My inner wisdom made it clear: I had to reschedule, even if it meant the client might not want to work with me again over the sudden cancelation. But that wasn’t the case; everything worked out. I was able to take care of my health that afternoon, and I was my best self the following week when I met with the client.
Align Your Mind & Body with a Body Check-in
My personal experience reminds me how I can listen to my body, intuition, and feelings at all times, not just when I’m faced with a sudden change of plans due. We can practice the body scan to improve our listening skills and help us notice what is actually happening during a particular moment This helps us understand when we must adjust our plans to live more authentically in the moment.
- Take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Follow the breath to the end of the inhale then seamlessly to the end of the relaxed exhale that naturally follows.
- Open your awareness to include your whole body. Notice what is actually happening in your body right now.
- Scan the body from head to toe, paying special attention to the area of the heart and gut, as well as to feelings, intuitions, wise thoughts, and insights that may arise.
- Give yourself permission to change plans as needed. Use new information to align your body, mind, and heart to the most congruent plan or option available in the moment.
We can adjust our choices and plans to live more authentically in the moment by accepting the reality of what is happening now. Visit eM Life and our Mindful Daily team to practice our body-listening skills. This will help us use our inner wisdom to evaluate plans that may no longer serve us and change them as needed.
About the author
Andrea serves as an eMindful teacher and is the Bestselling Author of ‘Well Nourished,’ Mindful Eating and Mindfulness Expert, Master Coach, Speaker, Mindfulness-Based Dietitian, Teacher Trainer, and Retreat Leader.
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Also published on Medium.