When is Honesty not appropriate?

This seems to have been a theme for me recently, so it feels good to share. Because innately we all want to speak the truth, yet when the truth might hurt someone else? What do we do, how do we handle it?

So what does this have to do with body awakening anyway?

Does it hurt me if I don’t tell the truth?

When it comes down to it, I want to be the best version of me possible. If I’m not true to me, there is always going to be a cost.

So one situation I’ve been in for a while now is about 2 years ago I made the decision to stop eating gluten. There is a growing body of research that shows that gluten is inflammatory, and different people respond to a differing degree to it. Well I’m not coeliac, but I seem to be pretty sensitive. I swell slightly when I eat gluten, my joints feel still and sometimes painful and it affects my energy and my mood. So pretty good reasons not to eat it.

How does that make me feel? Well on one level it makes me feel ashamed, ashamed that I’m different, ashamed that my body is letting me down and some fear comes up around being ill if I eat it and being outcast if I don’t. I have a need to fit in. So I play it down, don’t make a fuss, go pretty British - I’m fine.

But my body pays for that. I know I’m not being true to myself, I don’t like that in myself. I lose a bit of respect for myself, for being weak, for not being strong enough to say what I need. And I find my posture collapses when I do that. I feel smaller than I want to. I feel bad. My body contracts a bit. I don’t like these feelings.

So it’s always a good question to ask - when I’m not totally true to myself, what happens in my body? How do I feel? Or even more important - how do I check out and dissociate from these feelings (often we eat sugar or we drink alcohol as a distraction….).

So for me the first thing I need to do is check back in with my body (stage 1 is a great starting point or just some simple deep breathing if you don’t know the exercise). And I own it. I own the fact I’m not being true to myself. Because hurting me is not great.

But how do I avoid hurting the other person?

Well firstly, if it’s someone who loves me, they are potentially going to be more angry if I don’t tell them what I need, than if I just try and fit in. Because they care about me - yes?

And if it’s someone I don’t know so well, well maybe I just need to get over myself. Being honest about something like this is no big deal. Gluten free is so easy nowadays - for example potatoes, meat and vegetables are all gluten free naturally, as is rice. It’s not a hard diet to follow, so why get so worried about it?

So I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m hurting myself, honesty is the only option. And as a Brit, I am trained to be nice, to be polite, to not rock the boat, yet not doing costs me.

You may say - but this is about you, but there must be situations when you should stay quiet?

You know, I’m sure there are. Only you can evaluate what happens in your own body when you either withhold information or truth, or when you consciously tell and untruth? It’s your choice.

I recently felt compelled to tell a fellow therapist why I didn’t want to be treated by her. For me that was quite a big thing to do, because I hold so much respect for anyone who is committed to a healing profession and helping others. But frankly her ego was way bigger than her ability. She assured me that there was no one local good enough to treat her, and then proceded to deliver what I would describe as a beginner level treatment. So what did I do? Well initially I was set to do nothing, just never book another appointment with her and leave her to it. But after conversation with a colleague I thought - you know, if everyone votes with their feet, she will never grow, she wont reach her potential - because her potential was great - so i very gently explained why I wasn’t going to return because my needs were not being met by her expertise at this point in time. Sadly she didn’t take it well, was very cold and shut down emotionally. Whilst I’m sad about that, I also know that standing in my truth served both me and her. No one likes to be told that they are not giving the service they think they are. If I sound arrogant here, it’s not my intention. My intention is to say that we all need feedback, and I know professionally getting feedback can be really hard because most therapists are doing everything they can to be the best they can.

So how do you feel when you don’t speak your truth?

I find I can explore this through so many different stages of SRI.

Stage 1 when I disconnect

Stage 2 when I’m more concerned about how people perceive me and how they will respond me

Stage 3 when I’m stuck in the pattern of being nice, of not saying what I need

Stage 4 when I don’t stand in my power

Stage 5 when I let the voices around me tell me what to do, when I don’t own parts of me that are playing small

Stage 11 when I need to share my gifts

Stage 12 when I need to be in community, in line with what serves the collective….

We all have choices, what serves you?



Christmas is a time for Forgiveness

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I was struck by post that talked about apologizing and what it really meant. Because it’s easy to say I’m sorry, but to go deep and ask “why did I hurt that person” is a different question.

The first thing to do is check your own body. Is there somewhere that feels tight, or you want to avoid? Or do you feel numb? That’s not uncommon and it that’s the case, I suggest you check in with the three positions of Stage One (Upper Chest, Mid Chest and Navel).

What happens when you check in with your body? How can you become more embodied, so that your body can help you solve why you have to hurt others, rather than connect to your own pain. People don’t do hurtful things to the people they love because they want to hurt them. We often operate from a place of shame and hurt, and we are only trying to protect ourselves from feeling more pain and hurt.

I’m not saying Stage 1 is the solution, I’m saying it’s a starting point. You can explore your body from so many different perspectives. If you are more experienced at bodywork and SRI, I’d checkout Stages 2 and 3, and maybe ask the bigger questions - What did I get from doing that? How come I thought it was OK? Did you feel helpless (stage 1) or did you feel angry (maybe stage 2 or 3)? What triggered you?

Enjoy the exploration. You may be surprised by what you find out about yourself.

Happy Christmas, and may your journey towards deeper connection and authenticity be a rewarding one.



Stages 1 (plus stage 4)

This video brings me to tears every time I watch it. I remember it happening. From the pure pain and suffering of the injury, to the glorious moment with his Dad just over the finish line, I defy anyone not to be moved by this…

It’s one of the best examples I can find of Stage 1 Suffering - the loss of hopes and dreams, all over in a moment. What no one expected was the courage and determination (stage 4) that he would then show to complete the race


Stage 3 - Stuck in a Pattern

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Have ever been at the point when you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING and you still haven’t got the results you wanted?

You feel like you’ve been working away at a problem or challenge, yet nothing is coming together. You may have changed your diet, increased your exercise, consulted numerous experts, yet you are still not where you want to be?

You feel stuck and it sucks. It’s just so frustrating and you don’t know what to do about it.

Your Choices

Most people at this point dissolve back into a state of helplessness (Stage 1) or go deeper into Stage 2 (polarity) and keep searching for the answer somewhere out there.

However there comes a moment when you know that both the problem and the solution lie within you. And that’s the recognition point to stage 3. You know that you are stuck and you start to own it. Because “stuck” shows up in the body, just like polarity (Stage 2) and helplessness (Stage 1) do.

Usually it’s the mind that is contributing to the stuck. It can limit how we approach a problem and our beliefs can keep us in a holding pattern that goes around and around. The over riding emotion is frustration, though some people express it more as “yeuch”!

When you can truly connect to the embodied experience of Stage 3 and feel how your body is also stuck in a pattern, you get to the point where you are ready to reclaim your power, reclaim the part of you that knows the answer and knows how to move forwards.

Experiment with the Stage 3 exercise. How many areas of your body feel stuck? Where do you feel stuck? How does it feel to connect into it.

You may need to revisit Stages 1 and 2 again before you are ready to resolve Stage 3.

Stage 1 Exercises - Introduction

Before I even do Stage 1 I want to check in with my body. There are several ways you can do this, and this is one of my favourites.

Stand up, ideally without shoes on. Put your feet about a shoulder width apart, and if you can - close your eyes (if your balance is bad you can either do this with your eyes open, or stand in the corner of a room with the walls behind you, so that if you wobble forwards your feet will automatically step out, and if you go backwards or sidewards the wall catches you)

Pay attention to the relationship between your feet and the floor. Where is your balance. Are you standing on both feet? Are you swaying side to side, or forwards backwards? Is your weight forwards, backwards or to the side of one/both feet. Observe your feet and see if you can get balance in how you stand - somewhere in the middle of your feet.

Then shift your attention to your ankles and just observe them. You are going to slowly work your way up your whole body as follows:

  • ankles

  • shins and calves

  • knees

  • thighs/quads

  • hips/pelvis

  • low back

  • belly

  • up the middle of your torso, front and back

  • chest/upper back

  • shoulders/arms

  • throat/neck

  • head - jaw, face, forehead, skull

And then you are going to trace all the way through these until you are refocused on the soles of your feet. It only takes a few minutes, but I find it an excellent way of observing your body. You can also do this sitting or lying down.

What did you notice? For some people it’s very physical, they become aware of tension, where they hold muscles tight, or pain in the body. Others notice their breathing or how they move or how energy is moving in their body. Some find it very hard (initially) to notice anything. Whatever you notice is right, because when it comes to your own body it’s impossible to be wrong.

Stage 1 - Suffering and Disconnection

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Why would anyone want to do an exercise that connects you to suffering and/or disconnection? It’s an interesting concept. Don’t stop reading. This information is probably amongst the most important I have to share.

We can all benefit from more connection to our body. Why would I say that?

I, like most of you, skipped the lessons on how to listen to my body. I am British, I was brought up to pull myself together and get on with things. And before you think I have a beef with my parents over that I don’t. I know they have always done what they believed was best for me.

However, our culture supports ignoring the subtle signals, or even the less subtle signals from our body. And the problem with this is that it always ultimately leads to a state of suffering. Just some people are so disconnected they don’t even recognize that.

So what do I mean by subtle connection?

If you can listen to your body it’s a bit like listening the lion in the distance, before he attacks, whereas most of wait until the symptom - be it physical, emotional or mental - shouts so loudly it’s like the lion is on our shoulder and about to eat us.

Developing subtle awareness takes time. And each time you become more aware of your body, your potential unlocks just a bit.

How do you know you’re in Stage 1?

I rarely see people who are totally and wholly immersed in stage 1 because they are usually on the lounge floor or in bed, in a state of total helplessness because nothing works, there is no hope, nothing is ever going to change and no-one would understand if they spoke about it anyway. This is your friend who is totally isolating herself and not even able to ask for help. It’s a horrible state to be in, and one I have luckily only experienced fully a handful of times.

But most of us have some stage 1 consciousness most of the time. There are messages from our body we are not listening to and consequently we are not responding to until symptoms show up.

Symptoms can be anything from low back pain, neck pain, headaches or repressed emotions, difficulty expressing how we feel or destructive mental chatter, to name a few. Any message we are not listening to can have a component of stage 1.

For example, this morning I was tuning into my body and I became aware of tension in my left hip. It was uncomfortable and I wanted to get rid of it (classic stage 1 response). But cutting my hip off is not an option, so instead I used the stage 1 exercise to tune into my hip and listen to it. I was holding emotions in there and after a few minutes of listening to and feeling those emotions I was done. My hip relaxed and I felt more energy in my body.

Energy and Stage 1

When we are in a full or partial stage 1 we lack energy. We lack resources and resourcefulness. We need help and often don’t even have the energy to ask for it. Anything that raises your energy will help - for example going for a walk get’s your body moving, or some gentle stretching. The challenge is often finding the energy to start.

Increasing Our Internal Resources

When we are in a state of helplessness or don’t know what to do, this exercise helps you to find internal resources and increase your available energy. When we feel low or helpless, we need more energy to get out of the state. We all know that our energy levels massively impact on what we are able to do or achieve.

Personally I believe I can always be more resourceful, so Stage 1 is part of my daily routing. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t spend at least a few minutes using this exercise to improve my state.

Use the blog on how to do Stage 1 to learn the basics of this exercise. And if you’re lucky enough to either live near an SRI Practitioner, book in and do a workshop or personal session with them to refine your skills.

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