The warning to “get out of your head” (from yourself or someone else) often sounds something like this:
Stop thinking so much. Quit over-analyzing. Just enjoy and go with the flow. Be more spontaneous. Go with your gut. Stop over-thinking things. You’re too much in the future and not in the present. Stop dragging your past into the present. Worrying is like praying for what you DON’T want.
That’s a hefty list of well-meaning warnings, even if they are a bit bossy. But when you do get “out of your head,” what do you get into?
Why, your body, of course.
And I’d love to share with you why I think getting “into your body” is a very smart move.
Let me just say that by “in your head” most of us are referring to the aspect in each of us often called the “left brain,” “masculine brain” (or as I call it, Masculine Genius).
This is the part of you that uses analytic function, reason, judgment, discernment, competition, hierarchy, order, structure, and efficiency to help you do things like tying your shoes, calculus, shopping for groceries, navigating traffic, and otherwise making your way in the world.
Your “right brain” or “feminine brain” is what I call Feminine Genius, and is what neuroscientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor calls your “right mind” (which I love).
This is the part of you that helps you to experience things like joy, intuition, spiritual peace, presence, satisfaction, and oneness with all that is – some perks that can come with being “in your body.”
But really, since your consciousness and experiences occur throughout your body in a constant feedback loop with both your feminine and masculine brains, saying “get out of your head and into your body” is neither exact nor scientific.
Regardless, getting “into your body” is definitely still a very smart move. Here’s why – or really, three WHYs.
WHY #1: So you can access your intuition – your personal compass.
Intuition, often called your sixth sense, is defined as spiritual perception; your ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Intuition is what lets you know what is true for you.
When you are “in your body” and you go toward things that aren’t right for you, your body signals you with a kind of a warning poke to put on the brakes.
And when you go toward things that are very right for you, your body signals you with a kind of a deep, embodied YES, urging you onward like a compass.
But when you are told repeatedly over the course of your life that you made that up, that you are over-reacting, that others know better than you, and that you can’t trust your instincts or desires, your compass needle can get a bit wobbly.
I think of intuition as what you feel when the intelligent, conscious Collective Soul sends you information in little sensory telegrams. Now, the Collective Soul has the vantage point of the 10,000-foot view, as it were, and so can see the BIG picture of your life.
So when your body gets intuitive guidance to go left but your “head” thinks you should follow the plan and go right, it can be helpful to remember that your intuition can see things that your head can’t from its 5-foot view, as it were, atop your neck.
I’m not anti-head, by the way. Heads and brains are great. It’s just that we over-use them, and we think they are boss.
Heads are like the car, and your body is like the compass.
Most of us just get in the car, and head toward where everyone else is going, honk when we hit traffic, and settle in for the commute without real, true direction.
A car is great and all, especially when the car and compass can work together to get you to where you really want to go.
Likewise, your head is great and all, especially when it can work together with your body.
I’m curious how this is landing for you? Come share your impressions.}
WHY #2: So you can quit trying to be “special” and actually feel fulfilled.
Some of us (although definitely not all of us) who are “in our heads” have what we call in transformation jargon “an impaired right to exist.”
Our bodies have become scary or painful places to be, so we jump right out of our skins and into our heads.
We take refuge in spirituality, intellectual rigor, accolades, and achievement, through which we hope to prove how darn special we are. (Believe me, I know this one inside and out.)
However, getting used to being “in your body” helps you take your rightful place among the family of things (to paraphrase the poet Mary Oliver).
You start to know, inside and out, that you have a right to be here and to take up space. And that you don’t have to prove it or earn it – it’s just your birthright.
Stuck in your head, however, you can become addicted to specialness. You need it like a drug. But soon after that hit of “specialness” gives you its high, it falls right out of the holes in your psyche.
Getting in your body helps patch up those holes so that the thrill and pride of all that you do experience, win, and achieve can have a place to land. And blossom.
Which feels a lot like self-love, confidence, and fulfillment – and like you are in your “right mind.”
WHY #3: So you can enjoy your life – rather than thinking about how to enjoy your life.
Your head likes to loop on “It will be better when” – as in, it will be better when I lose ten pounds, win that prize, get him to propose, get that tenure.
“It will be better when” is glamorous and alluring, but it reduces you to a thirsty traveler in a desert, lusting after a mirage.
It locates you in “someday” rather than in the here and now.
The best way to get into the present is through your six senses – your five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound as well as your “sixth sense,” your intuition. They all get you in the now.
To help with this – and please feel free to try this out – use your HEAD like a sports narrator to describe to yourself what you are feeling and where you are feeling it in your BODY.
For example, instead of worrying, “Do I need a breath mint before I let her kiss me?” notice, “OK, I feel a swirl of butterfly wings in my belly, hot electric sparkles on my lips, and a soft tickle as her eyelashes brush my cheek.”
And then boom. Here you are in the here and now.
This will help direct your attention away from disembodied thoughts, judgment, story, and “what if,” and into what you are actually experiencing.
Look, I know that “getting in your body” can come with some hazards. You feel. A lot.
A friend of mine describes being human, in a body, as “constant awe of it all and never more than a thought-whisper away from a deep grief.”
In your body, you feel things that you couldn’t feel way back when, or they would have incinerated you.
You feel things that you might not otherwise notice when you’re otherwise busy worrying about the inappropriateness of your neighbor’s lawn ornaments, if you look fat in those jeans, or (as one of my readers shared) getting sugar put in her gas tank or a swastika on the side of her house because of her hijab covering her hair.
It can feel so scary to be in our bodies, in our feelings, in touch with what we know, want, and long for, and aware of the ways we can be denied, rejected, and hurt.
But the thing is, your body can be a really lovely place to be.
And if you are going to feel all that awe-filled stuff (along with the grief), your body is the place to be.
I think that being in your body feels scary because mostly you’ve been TOLD it’s scary.
It’s likely you learned, like most of us have, to worship your masculine brain and mistrust your body beautiful.
It’s likely you never learned, like most of us haven’t, how to have a joyful, respectful, even reverent relationship with your body – especially if the body you have is a woman’s body.
You likely never learned how to work skillfully and kindly with your intense range of emotions.
You likely never learned how to decode how your body says yes and no, or how to trust the compass of your intuition to lead into the life you came here to live.
You likely never learned that YOU – not the proposal, promotion, or bank account – determine if you feel like a million bucks.
You likely never learned that you can be confident, content, radiant, peaceful, and bursting with pleasure, regardless of what circumstances life is throwing at you.
(All this, by the way, is at the heart of my book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On the Wisdom of Being a Woman, which you can buy anywhere books are sold, and then get some beautiful book bonuses for the print book and/or the audiobook!)
If you are going to feel real-deal fulfillment and sweet love for yourself and everything in your life, it will not come through conceptual analysis, an organized to-do list, flat abs, or by following even the most well-thought-out plan.
It will come through getting into your body.
Now, your turn! Come join the conversation and let us know your preferred way to get in your body — and what it’s like when you are trapped in your head.
To your body beautiful,
Photo by Julia Maryanska