This post was shared by Marcia Feola, MCC, faculty of Leadership’s Untapped Resource: Body Intelligence in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.
What is body intelligence and why is it important?
First let’s start with an historical perspective. It was not until the 16th century when Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I am.“ that we began to believe that the mind, body and emotions are three separate and independent systems. We now know, with the advancement of neuroscience aided by radiological imaging, that the human body in its totality operates more as a chord: all of the functions and processes work together as a whole system. We have a cognitive rational mind, emotions and physical sensations.
If you think of our human body as a three-legged stool with a mind, body and emotions as its legs, you can readily see that if we take one leg away, the stool falls over. When learning to come home to our body’s intelligence we are learning to operate with all three legs of the stool, which are all of the resources we need to be successful in our journey as a human.
Most people with whom I work talk about wanting to be their full, authentic selves — an auspicious goal for sure. If we, as humans, are not in touch with our bodies and the intelligence in our bodies, we are leaving a large portion of ourselves behind. We are socialized to disregard the important data we receive all day long from our bodies. This is epitomized in many organizations by the request to, “Leave your emotions at the door.” Ignoring physical sensations and emotions is a norm for so many of us. This comment suggests that feelings and emotions are not welcome at work. This is why tapping into body intelligence is actually a homecoming: we’re coming back to our whole self.
The work of body intelligence is to raise processes or patterns into our awareness. Awareness provides us with choice and improves our outcomes and relationships. There are three critical elements to coming home.
1. Pay attention (listen to or tune into) – Can we be aware of our physical self, the sensations, the moves we make, the cues we receive?
- Discernment – How do we make sense of those physical signals?
- Choice – How can we use this information to make choices and inform our actions?
When operating with body intelligence, leaders, coaches, facilitators and others have stated they have immediate access to skills and choices that allow them to show-up with more capacity and wisdom, creating positive outcomes for self and others with greater ease. When working with individuals and organizations, your personal decision tree can shift in any given movement. The fastest and most effective way to access authenticity and effectiveness, while creating inclusiveness and connection – is to come home to body intelligence.
Learn more about Leadership’s Untapped Resource: Body Intelligence in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.