2 from 3 steps to knowing yourself and building a healthy identity

This is the second step in your journey to overcome your identity crises and rebuild a sound one, one that can thrive with the changes of life. You can read more about identity crisis in this post: The ultimate guide to knowing yourself and building a healthy identity 

Step 2: Activate your physical awareness to become more present

Rationale:

When you say that you have lived an experience, what actually happened is that, for a specific moment in time and in a specific space, you heard, saw, felt, touched, smelled, tasted, listened to, spoke to, etc. All of those actions are sensing abilities that provided you with a massive amount of information about a situation. Such information we call sensations, which means that to experience life is basically to sense it.

When you say that you lived a good experience, what actually happened is that the conclusion of the sensations that you had was positive and good from your point of view. Having a bad experience means the reverse.

Now, imagine that you entered a room that is filled with light, art on the walls, nice people all around, and that the only unpleasant thing is you sweating like crazy from the heavy jacket that you wore and can’t take off because of a broken zipper. How would your experience be like?

It will all depend on which sensations you will pay attention to. If you focus on sensing the heat and the wetness of the sweat, you will dim everything else and – most probably – it will be a bad experience for you. If on the other hand, you focus on sensing the art, the light, and the nice people you will dim the heat and sweat, and – most probably – it will be a good experience for you.

It sounds like you always have the power to choose to have a good experience, right? Not really!

Your choice to focus on one sensation or the other will always be conditioned by your physical awareness. You cannot choose if you are not being present with your body to start with. And you cannot be present with your body if your mind is busy thinking about future expectations and goals or even past fears and judgment.

Building on our heavy jacket with the broken zipper scenario, imagine if you add to this situation an extremely important client that you need to meet in this gathering to close the deal of your life. S#@*%?!

I am sure that you know that life can get that missy sometimes

If you are like our Bob from our previous case-study, you most probably will not be aware of any of the sensations that are happening in your body. Your mind will have all of its power diverted to the results that you want to achieve and the failures from your past that you must avoid. What will make things even messier is going to be when the heat and sweat will increase to a level that will force you to notice. You may subconsciously link those sensations to you being nervous from meeting your client or being afraid of failing like that one time, etc. You may – and most probably will – push through the situation and get the client, but will do that to the cost of shouldering a massive amount of stress, one that your system can live without.

You may – and most probably will – push through the situation and get the client, but you will definitely pay for it by shouldering a massive amount of stress, one that your system can live without.

Now, what if you have a good physical awareness? This means that you are trained to pay attention to your body and sensations. What would you do differently?

You will sense all the sensations and be informed by it very early, as they happen. This will allow you to notice the discomfort of the heat and sweat, and see it for what it is: a problem with the zipper and nothing else, which will, in turn, give you the chance to try and change the situation. For example, you could get a glass of cold water, or you could go to the bathroom and wash your face with cold water, or rather sit closer to an air-conditioning or an opened window.As an amazing added value, physical awareness will give you a great chance to build a strong relationship by showing authenticity to your client, through sharing with him the funny story of the zipper, or simply that you are very uncomfortable because of the heat. Such authenticity would be impossible to practice if you were not physically aware and you were thinking that you are uncomfortable because of your fear of failure, or the anxiety of how much do you need this deal to survive.

Stronger Relationships:

As an amazing added value, physical awareness will give you a great chance to build a strong relationship by showing authenticity to your client, through sharing with him the funny story of the zipper, or simply that you are very uncomfortable because of the heat. Such authenticity would be impossible to practice if you were not physically aware and you were thinking that you are uncomfortable because of your fear of failure, or the anxiety of how much do you need this deal to survive.

It is much easier for us to talk about something that we have in common, like sensations, all of us feel cold, hot, wet, etc., there is nothing heavy or shameful about it. But on the other hand, talking about our fears, guilt or shame is extremely difficult and requires a lot of psychological preparation.

I call this way of thinking Somatic Thinking™. It is an approach that uses the body to inform your mind and empower your life. You can read more about it here, Go to Somatic Thinking

Action Plan:

In this step, I invite you to reflect every single day, multiple times during the day, on the following questions. While you are living any random experience, take a moment and ask yourself:

  • What am I sensing in my body right now?
  • How is it making me feel?
  • Why am I feeling this way?

By the end of each day, write the summary of what you learned answering these questions in your journal. Repeat this for one week.

Ps: If you can introduce different activities into your life, it will greatly amplify the impact of this practice. Activities like going to the retreat that you always dreamed of (you may find one of our retreats interesting check them here ), attending the dancing class that you didn’t have the chance to start or even engaging an online somatic training that can help you explore more sensations (I highly recommend this online course). Do something that’s slightly out of your comfort zone. 

The objective of this practice is to help you start paying attention to your body and to connect the sensations that you are noticing to what is happening in the present, which will activate your physical awareness and empower your ability to BE present with what is actually happening around you, instead of mainly living in your head. 

The Mind Can Live Traveling Between Past, Present, and Future, But the Body Can Only Live in the Present!

Thank you for reading and may you have a fruitful practice

About the Author:

Samer Hassan, MCC
As a multilingual Egyptian-Italian, I have lived and worked on 4 continents and in 3 languages English, Arabic and Italian. Crossing cultures, traditions, and beliefs. For 15 years, I have developed individuals and leaders, brought cohesiveness to teams, and trained/mentored coaches. My passion to study all the major theories and the neuroscience of expanding the human potential, supported by a 30-year dedication to learning martial arts, helped me realise that the quickest and most powerful route to profound transformation is through leveraging the mind-body connection. This realisation inspired me to develop “Somatic Thinking” an experiential coaching methodology to transform physical awareness into a valuable asset in coaching and in leadership. I am honored to be the only native Arabic speaker worldwide who obtained the MCC (Master Certified Coach), the highest credential level in the world by the International Coach Federation. One of the only 20 MCC coaches who operate in the Middle East, Gulf region, Africa, and Europe. I currently reside in Italy, serving my clients in stages, conference centers and training rooms around the world, as well as through on-demand virtual training through my website. www.KunCoaching.com

Leave A Comment