You learned to walk, talk, run, and connect with people without formal education. Much of your physiologic “self” functions and is regulated without your conscious input. In that regard, your mindbody is incredibly competent. You possess innate know-how, resilience and self-healing capacities. You can be your own effective consultant if you can tune in to yourself. Doing so requires paying attention to messages you constantly receive. Symptoms are potentially valuable information and feedback rather than just scourges to be immediately extinguished. Personal awareness is the most valuable resource and is found only within you. Awareness requires receptivity to yourself.
People in your life
You reveal yourself in everything you do and people in your life are continually responding to you. You have potential consultants, messengers and coaches all around you. If you have an intimate partner, he or she probably knows you very well. In the heat of arguments, criticism comes your way. If you can hear what is being said, some of what is being said may be valuable feedback.
Awareness is the first and necessary step for making personal changes. Your workplace offers another source of information about you. Yearly evaluations, 360 feedback and direct and indirect feedback from customers and clients are invaluable for increasing personal awareness. Even “difficult” people can be important resources. These people are often critical and have sensitive radar. They pick up on other people’s “stuff” and are not bashful about expressing their opinions. From time to time you may be the target of their opinions. Typically, their “assessments” have some degree of truth.
You likely have strong emotional reactions to certain people. Strong reactions to characteristics of certain people in your life can be an indication of those same characteristics of yourself you don’t like. Your strong reactions could also be the reliving of troubling and all too familiar interpersonal experiences that still exert strong emotional charge in your current life. If you can “look at” your strong reactions with just enough degree of distance, these experiences have the potential for learning about yourself and working on those repetitive emotional reactions that continue to limit and trouble you.
Perhaps you are learning a skill and have an actual teacher or coach. Although the “guide” may be focusing on technical aspects of the activity, your personality or your “stuff” is inevitably engaged in your efforts to develop your “game”. The pursuit itself offers the possibility of learning about yourself. Also, the better coaches will likely address aspects of your characteristic ways of functioning in the world that inevitably facilitate and interfere with developing whatever skill you are trying to develop.
Food And Drink
Doctors are taught about disease so there better be plenty people with disease from whom to learn. My medical education would not have been possible were it not for the effects of food, alcohol and cigarettes. Many illnesses are directly linked to what we put in our body. On the flip side, better health can be had and preserved from simply eating wisely and hydrating yourself. The first step is awareness. Are certain foods harder to digest? Do you notice when you have eaten too much or not enough? What are the feelings? Do some foods cause tiredness? When you pay attention to food, you can not only help to prevent certain illnesses but you also can live with more energy, mental clarity and responsiveness.
Just paying attention to this most fundamental activity can be calming. Your capacity to experience calm more or less at will is a most valuable resource. Singers spend considerable time learning how to breathe in a manner that allows them to better project their voice. Learning to breathe more effectively will help you develop both your literal and figurative “voice”. Simply stopping activity and focusing on breathing also brings the possibility of self-reflection if you also pay attention to the thoughts and sensations that spontaneously emerge. You can get a “lay of the land” – your unique internal landscape.
Natural light, fresh air, wider views as in seeing “far and wide” are some of the benefits of being outdoors in the environment for which we have been specifically and expertly designed. Consider what is lost in becoming habituated to the indoor life. Doing so goes against our biology and poses risks to our well-being that are less appreciated than other risks
We are also designed to move. We learn about the environment through movement and doing. The child’s incessant movement is crucial for development and learning about the environment – touching, climbing, bending, visual scanning, putting objects in mouth, etc. Also, movement is just pleasurable as in walking, dancing, skipping and sports.
Play is potentially fun and pleasurable though being more adult sometimes results in disconnection from what was in childhood so central to our existence.
A community experience is always available for your involvement and has innumerable forms; religious groups, volunteering, shared interest groups, politics, etc. Community can provide the pleasure and comfort of connection.