Embodying With Awareness

The penultimate point of the last seven posts, a series addressing the "7 Effective Habits for Teachers," is Embodying with Awareness.

Ultimately, if we "are what we teach," as Parker Palmer once famously offered, we are called to enact our deepest wisdom while we teach, parent, work, and walk through life. To embody is to "be an expression of, or give a tangible or visible form to."

Embodied awareness is ultimately very simple. It's about listening closely to what your body and being need and want to be nourished, balanced, and flourishing. Cultivate a practice of inquiring underneath the habitual cravings for sugar, distraction, caffeine, alcohol, or business to discover the next level of desire -- perhaps for a nap, some time alone, a good book, or intimacy. This is a wonderful way to understand the emotional needs you may be feeding or covering up with other behavior. When we feel truly fed, or emotionally met by ourselves, and we trust ourselves to provide those things, a quality of relaxation and calm can accompany us through the day. There is a deep sense of emotional safety, thus the permission to really listen and creatively choose the form of deep nourishment that would serve in the moment.

What does your body actually want? Is it really another cup of coffee, or would a nap be more supportive? Do that thing. Really.

Embodiment is also about being willing to let go of habits that no longer serve your wellbeing. Do you have the courage to let go of something that's hurting you?

A happy, healthy body finds relaxation more easily in a delicious state of meditation. It's just that simple. Stopping begets relaxation. Relaxation begets a better attitude. A better attitude begets wiser choices, which beget a better life.

The good news is that as we progress with a meditation or movement practice, we tend to become more sensitized to the sensations in the body. This enables a greater awareness of the impact of our food choices and habits, and tends to inform us pretty quickly as the to real benefit of yet another cookie ... versus a good long stretch in the sun.

Ask yourself: What would make your being sing with joy? A motorcycle ride? A walk in the garden? A game of soccer? A hug from a friend? Do it, or better yet... Be it.