How many of us are rushing through the day without checking in?
When do you pause to experience life and your experience within? Do days lead to weeks and years of being out of touch with your own needs and feelings? Are dissatisfaction, burnout and health being sacrificed as you continue to “push through”?
This constant movement, change, focus and drive can challenge our ability to be grounded, embodied and fully present to our individual needs. Most of us are on autopilot the majority of our lives, impacting health, comfort and nourishment as well as our relationships.
What really suffers is our relationship with our true Self, and most certainly our creativity and life force energy. Fortunately we can unwind the chaos and choose to step into embodiment with very little effort.
In the Tamalpa Life Art Process (TLAP), there is a simple technique to help bring presence to what is occurring within us at any given moment. It’s beyond listening to the breath and deep breathing (though this can certainly be valuable for the nervous system).
We use a “three level check-in” process to immediately name the experiences arriving within us. In this embodiment practice, we divide the human experience into three levels: mental body, emotional body and physical body. (There are actually four levels if you include the spiritual body. The spiritual body upholds the other three bodies.) The Vedic koshas correlate to these “four bodies” and Ayurveda corroborates since it also speaks to these four “bodies” as well.
There are multiple reasons why a Three Level Check-in is valuable for health and well being, but first let’s take it for a spin and experience the mechanics of it:
1) Whatever you are doing right now, hit the pause button and bring your attention inward. It may help to close your eyes, but this isn’t necessary. You may be sitting, standing or walking, but bring your attention to the now regardless of what is happening around you.
2) Notice the mental body. What is coming to you? What is the mental body sharing with you? Be present to images, colors, words, expressions and shapes that arise.
3) Notice the emotional body. What is coming to you? What is the mental body sharing with you? Be present to images, colors, words, expressions and shapes that arise.
4) Notice the physical body. What is coming to you? What is the mental body sharing with you? Be present to images, colors, words, expressions and shapes that arise.
Use this check-in practice at least once a day to do an “audit” of your inner landscape. Your findings can be written down and used for self tracking at another time. You can take these findings into your creative ritual process by moving your words, creating a poem from them, drawing an image or turning them into a song etc.
Use your inner experiences and harvest them further; move them, transform them, change them through an intentional art making process. But if nothing else, create space for these feelings, allow them to be with you and be present to your experiences. This presence alone can be immensely valuable.
Far too often we gloss over our feelings, cutting and pasting over them; wearing masks that help us get through our days, weeks, years. When we take time to stop what we are doing (and how we are unconsciously being), while listening intently to our feelings and inner experience, we gain an opportunity for more depth and awareness with our lives. It is through pausing and listening that we can more clearly and courageously attend to our own needs, use healthy boundaries, and create a life that is more in harmony with joy, sustainability and satisfaction.
This is the power of the present moment and being in the now.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: All photos by Saraswati J.