Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If You Ask, You Must Be Willing To Listen

Have you ever had a big decision to make and were really, very torn? The options before you have both their pluses and minuses. You are sitting squarely on the fence with the clock ticking down and you have exhausted all the decision making strategies you know. Meanwhile, the pressure is increasing and you are growing more and more anxious.

I found myself in just this situation this week. Decision bound, I made my list of pros and cons. I talked to friends, family and objective third parties. And after gathering as much information as I could and thinking about all the angles, I still had no decision. I had two part-time job offers to chose between, a lovely problem to have, especially in this economy. And I couldn't chose. My brain just wasn't getting the job done. A big believer in the wisdom of the body, I decided that I needed to listen to what my body had to say. So, I visited each potential job site (after-hours of course), walked around the outside of each building, and tuned inward to see what images, emotions and wisdom washed over me.

The body knows what is best. I believe that. When my mind is going round and round about something, if I am able to stop and tune into the sensations I feel in the body, I often get my answer. But this time it didn't seem to be working. I got some feelings and sensations but nothing that said a clear YES or a clear NO.

That night a wise friend said to me, "Trust that when it is time to make the decision, it will become clear to you." "But I tried listening already," I protested, "I even drove to both places and sat and...." My friend repeated, "Just try to relax and go to sleep trusting that in the morning it will become clear to you."

So that night, instead of ruminating over my decision, I worked to relax instead. I got out my Shiatsu meridian maps and played with pressure points that are known to calm the mind. It worked like a charm. I felt myself grow calmer and calmer until I fell into a deep sleep.

I woke up with a quiet mind, a far cry from the panicked state I had been in for days. I didn't wake up with the answer, however, but I wasn't worried; I felt confident that by the end of this day, dead-line day, I would know what I was going to do.

And as it happened, before the morning ended, the answer did come to me, and quite effortlessly, as it turned out. It didn't come as a thought, but rather a feeling. It kind of washed over me, settled in and felt right.

Here is what I learned:

Sometimes you don't get the answers by thinking. Sometimes the body has the answers. But when you ask the body for an answer, you need to invite the body to speak rather than demanding it...

...you have to be willing to wait. You have to be patient.

And that requires stilling your mind and trusting in the process.

This is perhaps just a continuation of my last post on being versus doing. All that doing, the information gathering and thinking, was important, but in the end, to make a decision, I had to just be. Visiting each job site was a good idea, but it was done in such haste that I wasn't really inviting my body to speak, but more demanding it. "OK body- what do you have to say here at this place? What about here at this other place? Huh? Tell me!" No wonder I didn't get an answer.

If you ask, you must be willing to listen.

You must be willing to wait.

And you must be willing to be quiet.

For the body can speak only when the mind is still.

Wishing you balance,



  1. Wonderful insights. I'm going through a similar process now and this is very helpful. Thanks for the guidance.

  2. Larew- Decision making can be really tough. I realize you wrote this comment many months ago but I don't have a good way of following comments on this blob. I am certain that the decision that you did make was a good one and that your new path will be a breath of much needed fresh air. Here's to change!


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