Have you asked your body yet? It knows more than you might think.

I know, unless you’re from California, and even then, this might sound whacky at first read. But what if your body knows more than you, currently, give it credit for? What if it is your intimate inner GPS, set to your Soul’s co-ordinates? And up front I must admit that I too thought this was some whackadoodle crap the first time I became aware of it. As can often happen with these thoughts, they have since modified to the point where I am the one presenting the whackadoodle magik, and at this point in my life, some 14 years later I am at peace with being the bearer of whacko news.

Yep, I have become that person. I think of it as being “Californified” and it’s ok because I have never felt better than I do, and that’s all the proof I need to continue.

Here’s my story of entering whackadoodle land. It was October 2001, the fire had happened 6 weeks earlier, and Joseph whom I met the weekend before the fire, had come down from Whidbey Island to visit with me in San Francisco. After dinner in my neighborhood one evening Joseph told me he was not going to eat chicken again. He explained that he didn’t feel good after our dinner of several different dishes of Thai food.

I can still remember the moment he said this as we walked up Irving Street on our way home. Our friendship was very new, and there’s no question that we were both living very different lives at the time. I didn’t even know people like him existed. Not only did they exist, I was to learn, but they thrived and many went to sleep with happy, peace filled hearts. It was a different reality to the one I was a part of.

I was a corporate securities attorney with a BigLaw firm in San Francisco, and he was a musician living in a yurt (at the time I had no idea what a yurt was-and if you don’t you can see one here-prepare to fall in love, I know I it was love at first sight for me). Back to Joseph, I honestly thought he was a freak. I mean how could he possibly know it was the chicken and not anything else we had eaten that night? But he seemed pretty convinced and I nodded along, keeping my thoughts to myself.

The next day, thinking about my experience the night before, I half jokingly asked myself how I felt after eating. The result was surprising, even a little shocking for me at the time. You see I had asked half mockingly, not expecting an answer.

But I did get an answer, and not just one. The more I asked my body, the more I learned it had to say. Turns out my body, my gut in particular, is very chatty and has a lot to say about a lot of things! And I had never really heard it, 34 years we had been together at the time, my body and me, and I had never taken notice of it, at least not in that way. I had been too busy finding fault in it to conceive it may have an opinion, or heaven forbid, an answer. The next few years would be some of the most illuminating in my life to date.

It’s interesting to note that this was just a couple of weeks after Joseph had introduced me to Kundalini Yoga at Harbin HotSprings. Through even my earliest experience of this magikal practice I was learning to listen to my body. I found that the more I tuned in, the more tuned in I became, it was better than cable TV in there! The more I tuned in the more I found to tune into. It’s the kind of spiral I like. My A-type, competitive drive responds well to these things!

Compelled by the very visceral changes I was feeling from every time I sat I sat on a sheepskin, I continued practicing Kundalini Yoga, and that led me to start listening to my body and getting intimate with my breath, a veritable powerhouse right there inside of that I had no idea existed (it’s inside of you too). But that wasn’t all, a ripple effect was that I started cleaning up not only my mind and my thoughts, but also my body through diet. I started to feel, to actually frigging feel, something I was certainly not used to. I was busy striving to be the best version of me and I had spent nearly two decades trying not to feel, numbing out with work, food, alcohol and drugs. Little did I know that all that I was seeking outside, was actually inside!

I have lived on the lip of insanity wanting to know reasons knocking at my door, the door opens, I have been knocking from the inside. ~Rumi

When I stumbled upon that Rumi quote in my reading (before you could just google any old quote and had to actually read books to harvest meaningful quotes!), it was like coming home to my truth. Looking back it was a most revolutionary time in my life. I did not look like a ideal candidate to live the life I do now. That world and this world are very different yet the same. And of course, I am the constant in both worlds. Yet they, and I, are and were, very different. I was highly ambitious and driven to be the best I could be in my chosen profession, the Law. I loved my work (or so I thought at the time). My lifestyle habits supported working 80-100 hours a week as a junior associate at the top of her game, 1000’s of miles from home. I did not like vegetables, I was a soda, fast food, caffeine and sugar addict. I also liked more than my fair share of cocktails, I didn’t have the nickname Holly-Go-Lightly for nothing. Whilst I didn’t take money to go the powder room, she and I did share our love of Tiffanys, Martinis and beautiful things. And of course party favors, cocaine, ecstasy and speed, and of course good old legally prescribed high grade pharmaceuticals, all were a plenty-after all it was the Dot.Com boom in Silicon Valley and we were in the epicenter of it all.

And then a day comes when everything changes and nothing is as it seems. One of my (many) favorite quotes comes from the Dhammapada,

Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise.

Years later I can still get lost in this quote when the world around me seems to make no sense. It was to be a long journey to get from there to this place today, and we are never done with our Forever Work, but now, I get to ask my body what it thinks along the way, and when I am quiet enough I now get to hear from the wisest part of me whether something is a yes, no or not determined yet. And from there I get to make a little bit more of an informed choice.

And of course Kundalini Yoga builds on this concept, it is not called the Yoga of Awareness for nothing. Every time you practice you will become a little more aware of who you really are and how you tick. I will be back to share more about that, but for now, I’d love to know what your relationship is to your body-do you listen in to the wise voice within, or are you waiting to find it? What might your body tell you right now if you asked what it really wants? I suspect the wise one within you has something to say, will you listen? Like the Three Difficult Practices, this is Forever Work, a skill we can keep honing and we learn to trust the wisdom deep within us.

I will be back to talk more about how our bodies speak to us, it can be a fascinating conversation to be a part of, and there is so much wisdom inside of you waiting to be tapped.

As always, it is a joy to start this conversation here with you. We are all so different in the way we relate to our bodies and inner selves, I would love to know what your journey looks and feel like. Our inner selves have so much to teach us if only we can learn to be quiet enough, lean in and be curious, with of course awareness, compassion and a little humor (the latter can be a life saver when all looks grey in your world).

All love to you, alone we can do so much, together we can do so much more. See you on the other side.

Sat nam