“BODYSET!” exploded spontaneously from my mouth. “I have never used that word before!”
“Quick” she said, “write it down.”
I paused to look for pen and paper, none to hand, and I already knew this was a word I’d remember with ease. It had such resonance, like a gift emerging from somewhere wise and often inaccessible. With broad smiles on both our faces, we naturally paused in the joy of it, then returned to the conversation we’d been in before the breakthrough.
My colleague had said something about wanting to change her mindset and an insistent part of me instantly thought (a) mindset was too limiting, and (b) what about the rest of her, and (c) the body shapes us just as much as the mind, perhaps more. I reflected on my somatic training and a deep belief in the body being shaped by all our experiences, having a profound influence on how we show up in the world, who we are.
Could we engage with both mindset and bodyset simultaneously? We paused to explore and I found my hand curled in front of my chest, as if grasping a vertical rope with the fingers digging in to my palm, turning and wringing, constricting and tightening with every moment.
“It’s as if your body instinctively contracted in to a protective shape in the face of all that uncertainty and insecurity many years ago. Of course it did! Just like a turtle drawing its head back into the safety of its shell in the face of danger, so do our bodies know how to react to stay safe.”
The body knew, long before language and the setting of a mindset, that to stay protected it needed to adopt a certain way of being in the world. Perhaps she had retreated into invisibility, feeling safer if she were neither seen or heard. It seemed likely she had contracted her body to become smaller – literally – as a means to stay inconspicuous.
Reflecting on our exchange some time later, I was struck by the power of that new word and the experience of it landing in my lap. How had that happened? There was a synergy or synchronicity at that moment, a mutual experience of us being in space together (not separated by the geographical space between us on zoom). We both came to the session as present, open and connected as we could possibly be. A skill we had both honed in our professional capacities as therapeutic-coaches.
I love these magical, serendipitous moments. Part of me would like a steady stream of them throughout my work with clients, but I know better. They come when they come and often not at all…. especially when I’m willing them to appear. For that striving is one thing that definitely gets in the way of the creative spark catching fire.
I’m fortunate enough to work with a significant number of coaches, therapists and therapeutic-coaches – if you’re one and would like to chat more, please get in touch.