You made up your mind.
You know you need to finally face the issue.
You have decided it’s time.
You are poised just before the hard conversation with your boss, determined. 

The conversation begins and ends and . . . and you didn’t do it, you didn’t go through with it!

You leave feeling disappointed and frustrated, asking the question, “Why? Why did I not say what I intended to say?”

If something similar has happened to you before, perhaps it was a conversation you intended to have with your life partner, child, team member, or client but didn’t. You are not alone.

So many times, we may feel as if we are being undermined by something. But what?

We have the resolve, and yet the opportunity is missed. 

What prevents us from following through as we had wished we would?

Throughout modernity, about the last 500 years, many of us, particularly those influenced by the West, have been immersed in a story that we are, first and foremost, rational beings. “I think therefore I am.” Remember the French philosopher Rene Descartes’ infamous line from 1637?

For many of us, that collective narrative has seeped into our bones. This means that we believe if our mind is made up, then it’s a done deal. Yet, in our daily experience, it does not necessarily hold up. This discrepancy between the thoughts in our head and our experience can create inner tension and conflict. 

So, there is a glitch in the “we are rational beings” story. And here is the big reveal – It’s only a partial truth. We are rational. However, we are also embodied beings.

What does that mean? It means we also have bodies. Bodies that have often been neglected from being intentionally integrated into our lives. Rather seek our body’s intelligence, we often use our bodies primarily as a way to transport our heads. 

For example, how do you prepare to have a challenging conversation? Most of us cycle through mentally what we want to say again and again. We are simply obsessive about the main thing we want to say. We then expect the words we have been mulling over in our minds to come out perfectly during a challenging conversation without recognizing that those words are directly connected to our bodies.

The Body’s Intelligence

How many of us prepare to have an uncomfortable and challenging conversation by tapping into our body’s intelligence?

The question itself sounds strange, odd, and perhaps even ridiculous.

However, our bodies can support us in many ways throughout life, in difficult dialogues and beyond.

What most of us don’t do is ask what body posture would support us in this dialogue. What breathing pattern will serve me? Most of us don’t discover the answers to those questions and then practice them before the conversation. 

Our speaking does not arise purely out of our rational mind. When we speak, we move our lips and tongues, and our faces change expression. For many of us, our hands move automatically, without conscious thought. Conversing this is a bodily experience. Therefore, how I inhabit my body impacts the quality of the dialogue.

Preparing ourselves for a tough conversation and neglecting to include the body is like expecting a dancer to perform a new choreography without physically practicing the steps! Just as one would prepare to run a marathon by regularly running or a dancer would prepare for their performance by dancing, we can prepare for a challenging conversation by practicing on a somatic (body) level. 

When we prepare to have a conversation, whether it be about what we long for, what we aspire to, our quarterly goals, a current challenge we are facing, or having a tough conversation with our boss, learning to access the body’s intelligence and support becomes essential.

For over 20 years, I have been facilitating individuals, aspiring coaches, seasoned coaches, and leaders in learning how to access their bodies’ intelligence to support them in living life more fully, coaching clients more successfully, and leading more powerfully. During these two decades, what my students say over and over again is that learning how to befriend their body and access its wisdom has empowered them to be more impactful in the world. They now utilize these somatic methods in their own lives, when engaging with their teams, or when working with their coaching clients to achieve long-lasting, meaningful change and long-lasting outcomes.

Here is an example of how you can access your body’s intelligence. Imagine you are going to have a challenging conversation. How could you support yourself to have the conversation the way you would like?

Suggestions to connect with yourself before the meeting:

Please take a look at how you’re feeling. What emotion do you observe? 

  • How are you holding your body? Notice any tension in your jaw, shoulders, stomach, buttocks, and legs. 
  • How are you speaking to yourself or others? Please take a look at the words you are using.

As an example, you might observe that one emotion you are having is anxiety. You may also find that you are holding the muscles in your body tightly. Notice whether the words you are saying to yourself serve you or don’t serve you. 

How confident might you be that the state you are in will support you in having a successful conversation? Could you make shifts in your emotions, body, and language that would improve the likelihood of success? 

Embodied Dialogue: 3 Practices

Here are three suggested practices that can help in this example to produce a somatic shift:

1. A mindful breathing practice can make a difference in calming anxiety or reducing stress. A  parasympathetic breathing method like the 4-7-8 breathing technique involves:

  • Inhaling for 4 seconds
  • Holding your breath for 7 seconds.
  • Exhaling for 8 seconds

This breathing practice can support relaxation and centering which enables the regulation of the nervous system and can serve to help you feel grounded during the conversation.

2. When the body feels tightened, try a releasing technique like focusing on releasing the tension one area at a time, beginning at your toes. Focus your mind on your toes, tightening and releasing, then travel up your body, tensing and releasing each muscle, ending at your face. Continue breathing all the while to help the tension leave your body. Notice if you are now holding your body more softly. Repeat until you feel more physically relaxed. 

3. If you noticed you were speaking to yourself in a way that doesn’t serve you, become curious about what other way you could speak to yourself that could have you enter the conversation more openly. What might allow for a new level of engagement? What could enable you to have an open mind and allow for more possibilities in the conversation? 

These few examples of possible ways to access the body’s intelligence illustrate the impact of somatic awareness and what it makes possible. Refraining from integrating our bodies into our lives leaves out the powerful access we have to altering our perspectives and transforming the outcomes we can achieve and the quality of the relationships we can create.

To find out more about Newfield’s ICF Level 2 accredited programs and get your questions answered, schedule a call with Linda Fischer HERE.

About the Author: 

Veronica Olalla Love, M. Ac., NCC, PCC is the Global CEO for the Newfield Network. She is also an international facilitator for the Newfield Network Programs and is the lineage holder for the Newfield Network’s ontological coaching tradition. In her unique and passionate style, Love invites us to remember the depth of potential we have as evolutionary beings.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This