Observe, Learn And Let Go!

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

Welcome to the 6th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: http://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 reviewing what you’ve learned so far (and it’s a really good idea to review your learning on a regular basis : you may be pleasantly surprised at how much progress you are making 🙂 )

Today is all about exploring the contents of your 3-day food diary in a little more detail. You may have guessed by this stage that the most useful aspect of this exercise isn’t necessarily the recording of the food you eat .Some of the most useful aspects of keeping such a diary are:

1. It helps you to become consciously aware of some automatic patterns you may be running (which may no longer be serving you).

2. It encourages you to spend time in your body so that you can get connected to physiological signals.

3. It helps you to re-learn the difference between an emotional signal and a physiological hunger signal.

Today, we’re going to focus on emotional signals . We’re going to learn how to recognise an emotion by observing it . We’re going to learn how to learn from the emotion (emotions are very powerful forms of communication : are you getting the message?). And finally, we are going to learn a simple technique to help you to process the emotion and let it go.

The theme of the 12 Days of Christmas project is all about your learning to “stay on track” naturally. One way of staying on track is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full: sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So why isn’t it that simple for all of us?

Well, it comes right back to being in your body. To be in touch with the signals, you really have to be close enough to the signal to hear it – that means getting back into your body and spending enough time there to know what each signal means. And when you know what each signal means, it’ about responding appropriately. Eat to respect a hunger signal : that seems obvious enough 🙂 But how do you respect an emotional signal?

Well, that’s what today’s activity is all about.

The Set-Up Take a look at your food diary and notice which emotions are present at the point at which you experience “hunger”. Which are your not-so-positive “regular visitors” 🙂 ? Sometimes, we are not sufficiently present in our body (or so out of touch with our emotions) that we are not able to name the emotion. If this sounds like you, check through your food diary for physiological feelings that didn’t feel good. Is there a pattern of physiological feelings that occurs at the point of “hunger”?

When I first got back into my body, I had absolutely no idea what anything meant at all! I experienced a lot of physical agitation and tenseness at the time of feeling “hunger”. I later decoded this message as “anxiety” (but it took me a while!)

A Little Note For Those Of You Who May Not Be Feeling Totally Comfortable Right Now. You are about to spend time with an emotion – and it’s been a while. It’s a bit like going on a date for the first time in a very long time and not even being sure whether you even like your date! You may be feeling nervous , even a little afraid  And you might want to respect those feelings by going gently with this process. You don’t have to dive in : just dip your toe in to start with. You might just want to start with Steps 1. and 2. After doing this several times (and noticing your increasing comfort), you can move further through the process. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE 🙂 And, if don’t feel ready to engage with your emotions on your own (and you have a genuine desire to get re-connected to them),I would suggest a 1-1 session with a professional. *

Step 1 : The next time you experience “hunger” or a desire to eat, check in with your body and see if one of your regular not-so-positive emotional visitors is present. (Or one of your regular physiological feelings that you don’t really enjoy). How do you know it’s there? What are you experiencing that lets you know that there is an “additional guest” at the table?

Step 2 : Once you know it’s present, welcome your guest in a way that is right for you (I know, it’s all very like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost but it’s important to acknowledge its presence. You may not have acknowledged its presence for some while!)  If you can name the emotion at this stage, do so now. (I do this out loud.). Now invite your guest to leave your body and sit next to you : give the emotion its own place.

Tip : If your guest needs a little help leaving your body, give it a hand! Locate the feeling in your body and imagine pulling it out gently (it’s always good to be kind but sometimes they may need a bit of a tug!) and then place it beside you.

Observe!

Observe!

Step 3 : Observe your guest. Sit at a comfortable distance from the emotion or physiological feeling. How do you know that this feeling isn’t physiological hunger? (That’s important to ask if you were unable to name emotions in your food diary. If you realise that this is actually physiological hunger sitting next to you, thank it for its presence and take action :)). How do you know that this feeling is an emotion? What are you noticing about it? What are you noticing about your own internal responses? What does your guest remind you of? How is it relating to you? How are you relating to it? What are its distinctive qualities? (Answering this question can be really helpful in identifying this as an emotional signal rather than a hunger signal in the future). As time passes, what do you notice about your comfort level? Are you able to move your chair a little closer? What happens if you move it closer? What happens if you move it further away? What is the name of this emotion? Name it now if you were not able to name it at Step 1.

Step 3 : Learn from the emotion. Emotions are a very powerful means of non-verbal communication. After years of experiencing them, we develop skill at decoding the message. Once we get the message, our task then is to take congruent action : that is, respect the message in a way that is supportive of both our mind and our body (and beyond). As we begin to respect the message in this way, our emotions quieten : their job is done.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, yes, if you’ve been in your body for some time and lived amongst your feelings and emotions (the good and the not so good) – in that case, it is easy. However, for those of us, who have only recently arrived back in our body, it may take a little time to get the message and it may take you a while to get used to the “noise” of emotions 🙂

As you sit next to the emotion, ask the following questions:

1 What message, of value to me, is this emotion communicating?

2.What is the positive intention of this emotion? (How is it trying to help me?)

3.What is there for me to learn from this emotion (of a positive nature), the learning of which would allow this feeling to go?

3.What is something I could do to respect the message, something that I feel aligned and okay with? (Avoid life-changing decisions and big commitments at this stage! Take a small step in the right direction 🙂 Learning to listen to your emotions counts as a step :))

4.Thank the emotion for its communication and for trying to help you. (If the help it is offering is no longer relevant for your life today , still thank it and explain how things have changed. This is a version of congruent action.).

Tip 1: If you get the message but you don’t take congruent action, your emotion is unlikely to quieten 🙂

Tip 2: It may take a short while for the insights to arrive. Be patient 🙂 If no answers come up immediately, just sit next to the emotion and wait. If after a while, nothing has come up, complete the process (the answers may arrive at a later time!)

Let it go!

Let it go!

Step 4 : Let it go. Once you have thanked the emotion, you can invite your guest to leave. I do this by imagining the emotion turning into the wind and blowing through my body. As the wind blows through my body, I feel the feeling and bid it good-bye, by name. You may enjoy a very gentle breeze, you may prefer the wind to blow around your body ,or away from your body, instead of through it (although having the emotion go through your body lets you get used to feeling feelings again – and that can be very helpful :)) or you may even prefer to design your own process for letting go!  

I have to tell you that the first time I tried this, I had a real epiphany moment at this stage. I realised that when it was time to let go of the feeling, I didn’t want to! The emotion I was working through at the time was sadness. As I looked at the sadness and acknowledged everything it had done for me, everything it was trying to tell me, I became incredibly sad myself (I am actually crying as I am typing this). I realised that I had enjoyed spending time with my emotion : it felt sacred and I wanted to keep the connection.I was actually feeling the feeling for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t frightened of it at all. In fact, I was suddenly in awe of the gentleness and dignity with which this emotion had handled itself in its attempt to help. It was an utterly tender experience. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my body. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my emotions : all of them.

In a nutshell 🙂 By learning to recognise an emotion and its purpose, we can begin to respect our body and our emotions in new ways. Just pay attention to what’s happening the next time you experience hunger : are you getting the message in a different way? If you begin to listen to your emotions rather than feeding them, what happens?

I look forward to hearing how this works for you!

Gotta run  🙂 ! JT

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

*If you would like to discuss the possibility of 1-1 coaching sessions (face-to-face or via Skype) with me, do feel free to call or email. If you think that you might enjoy exploring/ resolving your emotional relationship with food in a group setting (it can be fun, transformational and extremely nurturing to work with a group of peolple who really get where you’re coming from), do consider coming along to a live event! The next live events are in Northern Ireland (in Portrush and in Belfast in January and February) and in the England (Warrington in February). Check out this page to find out more http://thighhighbootcamp.com/dates-venues-price/

© Jane Talbot 2012

Early Epiphany Alert!

The Three Kings brought gifts!

The Three Kings brought gifts!

Welcome to the 5th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: http://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!)

If you are playing the “get the message” game (take the first letter from the title of each blog post, starting on the 1st day of Christmas, and by the 12th day, you’ll get the full message), today’s letter marks the end of the first word of the message 🙂

Yesterday’s post was all about your beginning to re-build a healthy relationship with your body and appetite based on a loving connection, honest communication and genuine collaboration.

Today’s post is all about reviewing what you’ve learned so far. It’s about considering what gifts this process of learning to “stay on track” has brought to you. That’s right – the Epiphany has come early! I think that the Epiphany (when the Three Kings arrived with gifts in the Christmas story) actually occurs on the 6th January but, as far as I’m concerned, the earlier the Epiphany, the better 🙂 As epiphany also means a higher level of awareness, a moment of enlightenment or revelation, it provides a perfect focus for today’s activities.

Activity 1 : Your Epiphany As you look back over the last 5 days (I suggest that you do this exercise at the END of today to coincide with the completion of your food diary), what are the 3 most significant gifts (in terms of learning, insight and awareness) that engaging with this process has brought to you so far? What is changing as a result of your learning?

Activity 2 : What Is Your Gold, Frankincense And Myrrh? To keep the Christmas theme going, you might also consider your learning gifts as gold, frankincense and myrrh. There are many theories about the significance of these gifts from the Three Kings. Many would say each gift has a spiritual meaning. So, let’s get creative and discover more gifts by asking some more questions 🙂 There’s always more to learn!

Gold

Gold

GOLD – It was thought that gold was offered as a symbol of kingship. So, with the benefit of your increasing awareness, who or what has been ruling you in the past? Who or what should be on the throne? How would you like your territory governed? Who or what will be the chief advisor? What kind of realm would you like to live in?

Frankincense

Frankincense

FRANKINCENSE – It was thought that frankincense was offered as a symbol of deity. Considering your body and your appetite :  what inspires awe? What do you now hold sacred? Which of your body’s “special powers” are you most grateful for? How will you honour your body from now on? Which rituals can you create to celebrate your body’s magic?

MYRRH – It was thought that myrrh was offered as symbol of death. So, within the context of your “staying on track”, what do you need to lay to rest? In order to enjoy a healthy relationship with your body and with food, what do you need to let go of? What are you noticing that’s coming to an end? What are you noticing that’s beginning now?

Myrrh

Myrrh

Enjoy unwrapping your gifts (Oh – and look after them : they might even last you a lifetime!). Feel free to share your learning gifts as a comment 🙂

Gotta run :)!

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012

 

Connect, Communicate and Collaborate!

Re-Connecting!

Re-Connecting!

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: http://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).

Build a loving and respectful relationship!

Build a loving and respectful relationship!

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!)

Consider things from all angles!

Consider things from all angles!

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?

It can be a very moving experience!

It can be a very moving experience!

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 🙂 !

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012

Appetite Awareness Action Adventure!

Get ready to plug into your appetite!

Get ready to plug into your appetite!

Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: http://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 getting back into your body so that you could begin to pay attention to your body’s signals (and respect them!). So. Guess where we are heading today? That’s right, you are heading right back inside your body (thunder-roll and clash of dramatic symbols) so that you can begin to connect with your appetite 🙂

 For those of us who struggle with our weight, we are often so busy looking for “outside” solutions (the latest guru, the latest diet, “wonder” shakes, super foods : I don’t really need to go on, as you are probably an expert at this stuff!) that we ignore our own inner guru.

 “What? You are telling me that I’m a guru?” (Just reading your mind there :)) Yes – that’s exactly what I’m telling you : you are a guru. I’m telling you that there is a part of you that is an expert, a highly intelligent source of advice, a complete gold-mine of information. This part of you is constantly communicating with you, constantly sign-posting and constantly giving you feedback on the changing conditions in your body. It provides you with conscious information through your appetite. It tells you when you are hungry, it tells you when you are full, it is capable of naturally regulating itself in accordance with changing physiological conditions.

The problem is that those of us with a history of dieting behind us stopped listening to our inner gurus. When our appetite said “STOP NOW!” We carried on. When our appetite said, “IT’S TIME TO EAT BECAUSE YOU ARE GENUINELY PHYSIOLOGICALLY HUNGRY”, we said “No”. We said “no” because the “outside” gurus said “no snacking” or they said “stick to 3 meals a day” and we said “no” because we wanted to “stay on track”…. And eventually we stopped listening to the inside, we kept overriding the signals .. and after a while we started confusing physiological appetite messages with all sorts of other messages.. (thirst signals, emotional signals..).

So here’s today’s invitation : an Appetite Awareness Action Adventure! You’re going back inside your body to locate your appetite, to learn about it, so that you’ll be able to start listening to it, to start respecting it and to build a respectful connection with it. So pull on your Indiana Jones hat and your Lara Croft boots/Officer John McClane string vests (best I could come up with for the guys :p) and get ready for adventure!

Keep a food diary!

Keep a food diary!

Here’s how to do it : for the next 3 days, keep a food diary. (For those of you sighing in despair, this is not any old food diary:) This diary is a little different because it’s helping you to discover a whole load of other useful stuff and is a form of journaling in its own right).

Every time you get hungry and eat (or don’t eat), do the following ~

 1. If you decide to eat, STOP before you eat.Have a drink of water (this step helps you to develop an awareness of the difference between a hunger signal and a thirst signal). If you are still experiencing hunger, proceed to the next step.

2. Write down any physical feelings you are experiencing and the name of any emotions present in your body. (Also, just notice if there are any feelings/emotions absent that are usually present; and any feelings/emotions present that are usually absent).

3. Record your hunger on a scale of 1-10 (10 being “starving”).

4. If you eat, afterwards write down the name of any physical and/or emotional feelings present (and ,again, notice if any feelings are absent that are normally present. Notice if any feelings are present that are usually absent).

5. After eating, record how satisfied you feel on a scale of 1-10 (10 being totally satisfied, 11+ would indicate having overeaten).

6. Record everything you eat and drink , size of portions and the times you eat.

7. If you undertake any type of physical activity, record the length of time you exercise and your perceived rate of exertion on a scale of 1-10 (10 being “flat out”).

8. Be honest – this diary will give you vital clues for reconnecting with your inner guru!

Brace yourself for enlightenment!

Brace yourself for enlightenment!

Are you curious to find out what you might learn on your adventure? Are you wondering whether you’ll notice any patterns emerging? Are you thinking that this might even help you to develop a closer connection with your body? Are you just a little bit excited at the prospect of developing an acute awareness of the difference between hunger signals and emotional signals? Or are you just raring to get those boots / that string vest on? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Gotta run! 🙂

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012

 

Entry Permit Stamped : We’re Going In!

Come on in!

Come on in!

Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: http://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!)

On the 1st Day of Christmas, it was all about getting in touch with our senses, learning to notice the difference between feeling satisfied and feeling full, learning to be present when eating and learning how rituals can nourish us at many different levels (it’s not only food that nourishes us!). Most of all, yesterday was about pleasure – really understanding the finer distinctions of what pleasure means to you within the context of eating. I’m sure that many of you will have been surprised by the experience and I look forward to hearing about what you learned!

If you remember right back to the project launch post (the one with the wee video about cross-country skiing :)), I mentioned that a big part of this project was all about your learning to listen to your body’s signals, decode the signals effectively and then respect the signals by taking congruent action. Some people would call this getting in touch with your natural body wisdom – the part of you that knows how to regulate your appetite for your optimal health and your optimal weight.

So. Here’s the thing. If you want to be able to pay attention to your body’s signals, you really need to be in your body to get the full message! And that’s what the 2nd Day of Christmas is all about : your getting back into your body. Sounds weird? Well, many of us who have struggled with our weight often retreat to our heads and dissociate ourselves from our body. We don’t feel comfortable with our body, so we do (what seems to be) the perfectly rational thing and get out! The only thing is, when we leave our body in this way, we also lose touch with its very important body messages (like “I told you to stop eating : you are completely satisfied, so put down your knife and fork and back away from the table with your arms in the air!” or “Hey – you are not hungry, you are just tired and emotional : go to bed!”.. you get the picture, right? :)) – the very messages that, when respected, would help us to experience increasing comfort and confidence in our own body.

Move out of your head and into your body

Move out of your head and into your body.

That’s right folks, today we’re going in! And to support your going in, here’s a lovely exercise to help you to move out of your head and into your body. Most people find it really relaxing 🙂 and some people find that certain emotions may come up as they begin to re-connect with a very vital part of who they are. Everyone who does this exercise learns something : and I wonder how curious you are discover what you’ll learn that is of importance to your weight loss journey?

Getting Ready Get yourself comfortable in a chair. Make sure it’s quiet and that external distractions (noise, for example) are kept to a minimum, where possible. You can also do this in the bath or the shower!

Step 1 : Close your eyes and move your attention to your breathing.

Where are you breathing from? Is it deep or shallow? How slowly are you breathing? How is the rest of your body responding to your breathing? When you inhale, what is happening in the rest of your body (allow your abdomen to expand as you take in a each new breath)? When you exhale, what is happening in the rest of your body (allow your abdomen to contract as you exhale each breath)? Are you able to breath from your abdomen? What are you noticing about your breathing as you pay more attention to it? And as you are becoming more connected to your breathing ….

Step 2 : Allowing your breathing to dictate the rhythm and speed of exploration, begin to expand your awareness further into your body (outwards from the point in your body where your breathing starts.)

Just like ripples in a pond, as you exhale, spread your awareness further into your body by gradual increments. As you inhale, bring your awareness back to the core, back to the location where your breathing begins.

On each exhale, focus on the new field of awareness. What are you noticing? How are you experiencing your body now? On each exhale, bring all your insights back to the core. The slower you go, the more you’ll notice 🙂

Repeat this process, until your awareness has reached the outer layers of your body and the extremities (your head, toes, fingers and so on). Oh – and here’s a top tip : make sure you become aware of your heart and your stomach (they are both really worth a visit! After all, if you’ve had a bellyful of not being happy with your body, it’s really worth getting to the heart of the matter J)

Get connected to your own rhythm.

Get connected to your own rhythm.

Step 3 : Get connected! With fully expanded awareness, and returning to the core of your breathing with every in-breath , consider the following questions :

What are you noticing about the rhythm of YOU? Where in your body is the very source of you? Where is your real rhythm ? How connected do you feel to your body right now? How would you describe that connection? What’s present that’s usually missing? What’s missing that’s usually present? Who or what are you in this very moment?

Step 4 : Keep The Connection Keeping your attention on the location where your breathing begins and keeping your attention on the rhythm of your breathing, open your eyes. As you open your eyes, begin to spread your awareness to your surroundings. Pay attention to what you are seeing, hearing and smelling – and to external tactile sensations (What does the chair feel like against your legs? What is the temperature of the room like?). And (this is the clincher!), as you begin to move your awareness to the outside, make sure you keep connected to your breathing on the inside! (This may take a little practice!)

And that’s us for the 2nd Day of Christmas! And, of course, this is something that you can do as often as you like, to condition being present in your body. This way, sooner or later, your natural body-state of being will be “presence”.

Again, I recommend that you journal this experience, just noticing new insights each time you get fully associated, each time you get connected to your physical body. Also, feel free to make the process your own – modify it to fit you and your body.

Okay – so it’s the 26th December and that’s a special ritual day for me. It means a long post-breakfast run. So, I’ll leave you to open more “presence” 🙂

Gotta run! 🙂

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012

Welcome To The 12 Days Of Christmas Project!

With only 7 sleeps to go before the big “Ho Ho Ho!!”, it’s time to launch my 12 Days of Christmas project! If you are already on a weightloss journey and would enjoy support over the festive period, or if you are considering making 2013 the year that you make peace with food and with your body, then I’d be thrilled to welcome you to join me (it’s FREE!)

Everything you need to know about how the project will work is included in the short 10-minute video (below).  A snack-sized text version of the project information is also available (it’s underneath the video!)

If you’re feeling anxious about “staying on track” over the festive season, this blog-supported 12-day project is for you! Over the course of 12 days, I’ll be sharing tips and activities that will not only help you to “stay on track” but will also offer you the opportunity to ditch the “carrot sticks ‘n’ low-fat dips” menu. (It sounds like all your Christmases have come at once, doesn’t it? Well, if you can get in touch with your own natural body wisdom – and respect it – not only will Christmas never be the same again, your relationship with both food and your body will be totally transformed :))

Watch the video to discover the link between skis and this project!

Watch the video to discover the link between skis and this project!

If you are ready to give yourself a Christmas gift that will help you to break free from the dieting paradigm, all you have to do is click on the “Sign Me Up!” button on the right-hand navigation bar and just wait for your first “gift” to arrive in your email in-box on Christmas Eve (it’s okay to open this gift early!)

Oh – and there’s an added bonus! Each of the 12 “gift blogs” will have a title. If you take the first letter from each title ( in sequence), it will spell out a festive message just for you 🙂 (I wonder how quickly you’ll get the message……)

Gotta run (I’ve got gifts to wrap for you!)

JT