I’ve coached many hairdressers, salon owners, coaches, and educators over the past 13 years and I’d have to say the most common element we address together is a sense of being disconnected from themselves. I’d guess that most of you are not surprised by this. We live in a world that constantly draws our attention to the external environment and we have chosen a career path that requires that we prioritize others needs for most of our day. Combine this with a busy life that doesn’t seem to leave much space for activities/practices dedicated to ourselves, and we have a pretty obvious formula for that sense of disconnection.
The good news is that we haven’t been truly disconnected, we’ve just been distracted. We can’t actually remove ourselves from our being…it’s always there with us! We have just had our focus diverted to elements outside of us. And to continue the good news, there are simple ways to bring that awareness inward again so that we can feel into our body and once again trust our innate wisdom.
At this point, you may be thinking… “If one more person tells me I need to meditate, I’m gonna freak out.” Well, as much as meditation can have incredible health and mental benefits, many of the ways that people have been taught to meditate just don’t work for a lot of folks out there. So, no I’m not going to tell you to meditate.
The easiest, fastest, and most readily available resource for reconnecting to ourselves is something you are currently already doing unconsciously… breathing! Don’t make this complicated either. Give this a shot right now:
- Bring your awareness to your breath by counting how many seconds long your inhale and exhale are. Don’t try to change anything right now just count what is natural. Do this for 5 or 6 breaths.
- Now, make your inhale and exhale equal to whatever was longer. So, if your inhale was 3 seconds and the exhale was 4, make both 4 seconds.
- If possible, breath in and out through the nose and make the breath as easy and gentle as possible while counting that even pace in and out. Continue for 5 or 6 more breaths like this.
Even after that very short exercise, I’m willing to bet that you feel a bit more present in your body and possibly a bit calmer as well. This is a great example of how quickly the breath works as a tool for connection. The studies show that even after a few minutes of a breathing pattern like this, the nervous system can stay much more settled for an hour or more. And guess what… you just meditated! Single point meditation is simply just drawing awareness to a single element which helps to reign in the busy nature of our human mind.
Ready for one more quick practice?
What if I told you that you had at least 3 brains? Before you write this off as crazy talk, consider the last time you said something like, “My heart is telling me” -or- “I have a gut feeling”? This isn’t just woo-woo fairy dust! Medical research has absolutely proven that we have the same structures in the heart and the lining of the gut that exist in the head brain. You have the same number of neurons in your enteric system (gut) as a cat does in their cephalic brain (head
brain). Mind blown, right?
- Take about 5 or 6 breaths as we did in the last experiment. Take gentle easy breaths with an even count on the inhale and exhale.
- Bring your awareness to the space in your chest that you feel is your “heart center”. For the next few breaths, just keep your focus here and notice any physical sensation that exists.
- Because the heart intelligence is around connection, compassion, love, empathy, and values (to name a few) … see if you can generate that feeling in the heart space over the next few breaths.
- Notice anything that comes forward for you as you do this without needing to make sense of it. Sometimes people get words, phrases, emotions, or even colors and patterns as they focus on the heart brain.
- Next bring awareness deep into your belly and do the same thing. Continue your breathing with an even pace in and out while simply taking notice to the physical sensations in this area.
- The gut intelligence is all about safety, sense of truth, sense of self, and motivation. So, can you connect to your recognition of truth, authenticity, or motivation here?
- The gut can be quite subtle at first so if this one isn’t as easy to connect to, don’t worry…it will come.
- Again, just notice anything that happens as you allow your awareness and curiosity to be directed towards the gut brain.
Typically, as I take people through this for the first time, they notice more of a presence within their body and often a recognition that they have a lot more wisdom inside than they give themselves credit for. We have become very accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for answers/direction. We have also become overly reliant on the head brain as our only internal source of intelligence.
As you just experienced, it doesn’t have to take hours of sitting on a cushion in silence with candles and incense to bring us back to ourselves. A few moments of breathing and checking in with our body’s multiple intelligences can quickly interrupt the distractions of the external world and bring us back into presence with what is true within all of us.
Here is my suggestion… play with this throughout the next week or so. Set a reminder on your phone or watch that reminds you to do a few moments of the balanced breathing exercise and check in with the heart and gut intelligences. Allow it to be easy, quick, and curious! Like many of my clients and those who have gone through my classes, you may create some new habits that keep you more connected to your inner wisdom.
Andrew Carruthers shares tips for wellbeing every week during Wellness Wednesday. See the full calendar here.
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