Leaping into Purpose and the Unknown
I am standing at the top of a 30-foot wooden pole, strapped into a harness, after having just climbed a dozen metal staples and hoisted myself onto the 10 inch wooden disc to balance at the top.
Ten minutes earlier the prospect of this climb seemed impossible; and now that I've completed it, returning to the ground is the last thing on my mind.
Have you ever been so scared that your body kicks into auto pilot, somehow putting one foot in front of the other to march you forward?
When our minds fail us - reeling with fear and balking at imagined terrors - it is our bodies we can turn to for their wisdom, strength and guidance to move us.
When I reflect on the last three years, the view is breathtaking.
Propelled by my new found power as part of this leadership program, I acknowledge the climb that’s brought me to where I stand today. It has been the product of a trajectory of growth and change; one that still seems inconceivable, even standing on top of a wooden pole.
The path has been one of shedding old stories and patterns, of courageously - as Joseph Campbell put it about the hero's journey - charging into the forest alone.
It has been one of putting the chips on the table when I was not sure of the bet: A move from NY to CA; taking a job at a major contemporary art museum; wading into the world of co-active coaching, and steadfastly starting my own thriving coaching business. It has been a journey of persistently putting one foot in front of the other, remembering each day that I am on this path to pave the way for myself and for others.
It is a path that has delighted and terrified, at times lonely but also deeply rewarding.
What have I learned that I want to share with you?
I now know in my bones that I can trust my body to navigate challenges my head cannot grasp. Our bodies are great centers of wisdom, yet they are often the last place we go for guidance and information. Up to this point, I had related to my body as a reliable servant to my master mind, but I now I realize that letting my body lead could take me to new heights (literally) and unlock untold fonts of wisdom and joy.
When you struggle with your next life decision - quitting a job, starting a relationship, changing careers - go ahead and ask yourself: What does your body know?
Using the "body compass" works like this: Drop the mind chatter and tune into your present physical experience. Find a place of neutrality at your heart center and scan your body with attention and awareness. Bring the question to mind and carefully watch your body's reaction: Does it feel warm, delicious, relaxed, alive when contemplating this step? Does this step make your body feel contracted, toxic, repulsed, tense? The feelings may be subtle at first, but the body it always knows. It requires that you get really curious about the information contained within, and eventually it will lead you directly towards the answers you seek and your best life. The body never lies.
Standing at the top of my recent pole, I know my body has led me to this point and will be my guide for charting the path forward. Since that climb, life has become sweeter and bolder: I take more pleasure in all the five sense experiences available to me, the movement to music, the taste of an avocado, a walk in the sun - and I do not work so hard to solve problems with my mind.
I trust that my body always knows, and has given me the inner compass to lead in any situation.
And the climbs ahead are endless. Will they ever cease? I suspect (and hope) not, in service of my inner journey towards freedom. When I speak conspiratorially with other life long learners, we confess to each other our hunger for the next program, and the program after that - eyes glittering, still unsure if we dare to lean into our longing for more.
What are you longing for? What does your body know it wants today, right now, and how might following it lead you exactly where you need to go?
Sending wisdom, courage and light for the leap into the purposeful path ahead.