Welcome to the 4th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/ and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)
Yesterday’s post was all about your going inside your body to locate your appetite and to learn about it. By getting back in touch with your appetite, you can begin listen to it and to build a respectful connection with it. We’ll review the results of your 3-day Appetite Awareness Action Adventure in a few days time 🙂
“Come on then! What’s on today’s menu?” (I know you are raring to go now 🙂 !) Well, today’s all about your deepening your connection with your appetite and your body.
Let’s just look at things from a relationship angle for a moment. Imagine being in a relationship (a couple) where one is communicating very clearly and the other isn’t listening or can’t understand the communication. Imagine a relationship where one is communicating honestly and directly and the other offers a wall of silence or disdain. Imagine being in a relationship where one is doing nearly all the “housework” and the other takes it all for granted or just goes around making a mess. Imagine a relationship where one regularly offers thoughtful or useful gifts and the other does not appreciate the significance of the gift or destroys the gift every time the couple gets into an argument. Imagine a relationship where one offers unconditional love and the other offers only crumbs of affection when their partner is “looking good” or “behaving themselves”. Imagine a relationship where one offers steadfast fidelity and the other leaves at the drop of a hat (and then returns, knowing that open arms await them in spite of how cruel they have been).
Now, consider the relationship with your own body and your own appetite. Read that last paragraph again. Ring any bells?! If it does, then maybe today is the day that you and your appetite/body are ready for some relationship coaching! And I’m not going to pull any punches here : I’m going to be straight with you. Brace yourself. Here it comes… Your appetite-body is the “good guy” here and, as my mum (married to my father for almost 50 years now) would say to me about my partner “It’s great that he accepts you for who you are. Make sure you look after him, make sure you are kind to him, make sure you let him know how much you appreciate him: he’s your rock. And, if times ever get tough, just remember to keep talking.”
(Oh – and if you are packing your bags ready for a guilt trip. Just stop right there! It’s worth remembering that most of us are doing the best we can with the resources we have at the time. Today’s activity isn’t about feeling guilt : it’s about learning, it’s about listening, it’s about dialogue and it’s about starting the process of rebuilding a healthy relationship.)
So are you in? Are you up for re-building your relationship with your body and with your appetite? Great! This next activity is all about your building a healthy relationship with your appetite/body based on a loving connection, honest communication and genuine collaboration (teamwork!)
Relationship-Building Barry Manilow-Style 🙂(Really – I’m actually quite a fan of his :)) Do you remember that song of Barry’s (we are on first-name terms, obviously :P) called “Bermuda Triangle”? There is a GREAT line in that classic that goes something like this : “Bermuda Triangle, try to see things from my angle.” And this next exercise could have been designed by the man himself : it’s all about looking at a relationship from several angles (or perspectives) so that you can achieve a deeper understanding of the relationship and gain new insights which may help you on your quest to improve the relationship.
The Set-Up You’ll need 3 chairs for this activity. Take the chairs and place them in a triangle configuration. Chair 1 is the chair for you / you in your head / your mind (you choose whichever works best for you). Chair 2 is the chair for your appetite or your body (you choose whichever works best for you). Chair 3 is the expert chair / the Oprah chair 🙂 / the all-knowing chair or the higher-self chair (choose the description which appeals most to you).
Here’s how to do it! I’m now going to offer you a framework for this exercise and some suggested questions to ask / answer in each chair. However, once you get the hang of it, feel free to play with the process and have the conversation that you need to have to get the kind of relationship you want!
1. Sit in chair 1 and look at chair 2 (your appetite/body chair). Create a visual representation of your appetite / body in Chair 2 and now CONNECT with your body/appetite in a way that is right for you. You can do this by greeting it or smiling at it – or even waving at it. What’s important is to acknowledge it! Now, talking to your appetite/body, explain how you feel about your body/appetite right now AND explain the kind of relationship you would like to have with your body/appetite instead. Acknowledge your part in the relationship “break-down” (some people actually like to apologise, express love and gratitude at this point. My advice is, just do what feels right for you at each stage of the process). Explain why having a healthy relationship is important to you. If you are clear about some of the actions you are prepared to take to improve the relationship, let your body / appetite know what you are prepared to do.
Tip : do not edit or consciously mediate your words. Let the words that come up, come out 🙂
Worth noting : what feelings come up as you are talking to your body / appetite? As you made the representation of your appetite / body, did it surprise you? Did it remind you of anybody or anything?
2. Stand up from chair 1 and get ready to “access” your body / appetite. Imagine yourself stepping fully inside the “mind”of your body/appetite – so that you have the experience of “becoming” your appetite / body. Sit in chair 2 and start to communicate with chair 1. This is your chance (appetite / body) to be really heard Respond to what was said in chair 1, describe the kind of relationship you would like with your mind / your head / you , let chair 1 know what you think about their suggestions for improving the relationship. Offer your own suggestions for improving the relationship.
Tip : to gain the most valuable insights, make sure you are fully associated to the representation of your body / appetite. Really “see” things from your body’s / appetite’s point of view.
Worth noting : what feelings come up as you are talking to chair 1 from chair 2?
3. Now, stand up and move over to chair 3 – I’ll call it the Relationship Expert’s chair. Before sitting down, make a visual representation of the owner of chair 3 and then imagine yourself floating into “the expert”, so that you are fully associated to this position. In this position you are outside the relationship looking in and your value to the relationship is the ability to offer a more dissociated perspective. From this position, answer the following questions : what needs to happen for this relationship to move forwards? How can this couple collaborate better and become a team? What does the head / mind / you have to do in order to build a healthy relationship with the body / appetite ? What could the body / appetite do to support the relationship-building process. What advice / feedback would you have for either chair 1 or chair 2 or the relationship? Give a small task or activity that this couple could do today to start to re-build a collaborative partnership.
Tip : this can be a very powerful position for insights when you are able to remain dissociated from both chair 1 and chair 2.
Worth noting : were you pleasantly surprised at your level of relationship expertise? (It’s not call the Expert Chair for nothing!)
4. Now return to chair 1, fully associating yourself to your head / mind / you . Having heard the views from chair 2 and chair 3, what insights have you gained? What’s changed for you ? How are you feeling about the future of the relationship at this very moment? What’s the next smallest step you can take right now towards building a deep and respectful connection with your body / appetite? Thank both chair 2 and chair 3 for their contributions to the conversation.
Tip : you may want to continue this conversation, spending time in the chairs which give you the greatest insight (that’s usually chair 2 and/or chair 3 :))
Worth noting : write down all your learning in your journal. You’re beginning to access some of your deepest body wisdom – it’s really worth recording this momentous event!
Sometimes a good honest conversation can transform a relationship. I wonder how this conversation will transform yours. I wonder what you’ll discover that may transform your perception of your body or appetite…
Gotta run 🙂 !
© Jane Talbot 2012