Okay, be honest. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 means “not at all” and 10 means “totally,” how tuned in to your body are you at this moment?
It’s easy to ignore the body, especially when we plug into computers and other technology. Even in the gym, we may pay more attention to our iPods than to our physical experience.
The cost of not listening to the body is high. For one thing, illness and injury happen more often when we ignore the body. But what exictes me is how much bigger and brighter my life is when I pay attention.
Paying attention to the body sharpens intution, increases mental acuity and quickness, and expands our capacity to perceive through all of our senses. It can even help us break longstanding habits.
And paying attention to the body can make all the difference when it comes to succeeding as an Accidental Entrepreneur.
Um, The Problem
We live in a culture that makes it easy to numb both pleasure and pain with activity, consumption, or entertainment.
We are trained to compartmentalize our physical experience, not to engage with or trust it. We join gyms to get exercise while driving short distances and riding mowers around our yards. We work overtime to buy entertainment and vacations, with the result that we are too wound up to enjoy our time off. We starve ourselves for fashion and stuff ourselves for comfort.
It’s practically counter-revolutionary to pay attention to the body for its own sake.
But not paying attention means it’s easy to zone out, burn out, and lose out.
The high costs of not paying attention
Zoning Out. There’s ample evidence that intelligence of all kinds resides not just in the brain but throughout the body. (Did you know that more than 90% of the serotonin that regulates mood and sleep is made in the gut?)
When we ignore the body, we don’t notice that we’re running out of high-quality fuel. The body keeps running, but we’re not “all there.” We’re easily distracted, confused, or sloppy.
Burning Out. Sooner or later, ignoring the body leads to burn out. Sometimes physical illness or accident force us to stop. Sometimes the breakdown is emotional. Bottom line: paying attention to your body is essential if you want to keep doing it.
Losing Out. The body is present for everything that happens in our lives. It faithfully records information and experience that our conscious minds miss. To not pay attention to the body is to lose access to essential data and the wisdom to integrate it with other sources of information.
What does it mean to pay attention to the body?
Paying attention begins with being curious about the signs and signals your body sends. Instead of shutting out sensations, explore them. Assume that the body knows something you don’t, and you’ll be dazzled by its wisdom.
The good news is that it is fairly simple to reclaim our body’s wisdom. Begin be deciding to listen. Take tiny steps to respect and restore connection with your body.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Play CDs instead of the radio. Get up and change the disc as soon as it is finished.
- Drink water. Keep a pitcher of water on your desk and drink it instead of the third cup of coffee, the fourth cup of tea, or a soda.
- Walk or bike whenever possible, and extend your definition of what is possible. This not only provides opportunities for exercise and fresh air, it will reset your inner clock to a kinder, gentler pace.
- Take time-outs. Sit with your back comfortably erect and your feet flat on the floor. Breathe in energy and refreshment, breathe out stress and anxiety. Even two minutes will give your body a chance to tell you what you need to know.
Take the time to listen to your body. It makes life (and business) easier.
Support for Accidental Entrepreneurs
Having a support team can make all the difference, not only in helping you do the inner and outer work you need (and want) to do, but also by reminding you to celebrate yourself and enjoy the results of your efforts.
You can get that kind of support–a whole year’s worth by doing three things:
1. Get The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur, a program for growing a business that fits just-right.
2. Join Shaboom County, roadside assistance for the self-employed. (Members get substantial discounts on all my programs.)
3. Be selfish (really), and ask for what you need. There are no new questions, no new or unique problems. By asking for what you want and need, you help everyone.
Together, The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur and Shaboom County will give you more than enough information, support, guidance, and encouragement to keep you working on your business all year…for less than $20 a month.
About the Photographer
Photo by Laures via istockphoto
Location: Moscow, Russia