How are you sitting right now?
Are you cross-legged on your rolling chair, like me?
Are you craning your neck and hunching your shoulders, ready to dive into the computer screen?
Are your legs spread wide, your feet flat on the floor, head reaching to the sky?
Are you playing with your pencil?
We’ve all heard that 70% of communication is non-verbal (even if the specifics of the original study are contentious).
Still, many of us privilege words in communication. We’re afraid we won’t know what to say, that we said the “wrong” thing. We may even “rehearse” our words internally before we speak them (any other introverts out there?).
In our neuro-centric world, this makes sense.
But when you think of someone you love, what comes to your mind first? For me, it’s rarely the words they chose the last time I saw them - more often, it’s the sparkle in their eyes or their jaunty walk. I once saw my younger cousin approaching from about a hundred meters away. I was delighted that before I could see her dark hair or hear her cheery voice, I knew it was her - or, rather, my body knew it was her - just by the way she moved.
Our bodies constantly tell stories.
We know that we appear more confident to others when we are standing tall with our shoulders relaxed. But what about the stories we tell ourselves? How does softening our shoulders change our thinking? What about planting our feet on the floor?
Bodies bring up a lot of shoulds, which is the last thing I want to offer you. Instead, I'll invite us to bring a sense of artistry to the way we move. A sense of choice and play.
We’re all walking around with 5ish to 7ish feet of Play Doh. What story would you like to tell with yours today?
Notice how you’re feeling in this moment. Now put that quality into your body, cartoon style! If you’re tired, slump over completely. If you’re energized, start leaping around the room. We’re looking for the bad acting, melodrama version of how you feel.
After a minute or so, let that go and return to a more neutral position. Begin to think of a quality you want to bring into your day. Wisdom, strength, kindness - whatever works for you.
Even if it feels forced, explore the “cartoon” version of that quality. How does your chest respond to courage? How does courage change the pace of your walk?
Let that go; and sit, stand, or walk in whatever way feels natural to you now. Know that these qualities and so many others live inside of you, that you have choice in how you move your body and, therefore, the messages you send to your psyche (and that ANY choice you make is human… and will ultimately connect you to others).