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The Best Decision Making Tools: Stillness, Values and Body Wisdom

I’ve had the wind knocked out of me this week. For 7 days I’ve been sick. So sick that I have not been moving at all. I did try a ‘jog’ with Zoey our dog one day and I lasted less than 5 minutes. I simply didn’t have the energy. My physical illness forced my body – and my mind – to become immobile. My brain felt too foggy to think clearly. It’s as if my whole being went into a deep state of stillness. I had to accept that my body needed time to heal. I had to give into it, not fight it.  

Even though I could only focus for short periods of time, I did manage to read two books, both newly arrived and of keen interest to me. Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper and The Secret Marathon by Martin Parnell. While written and told from two almost polar opposite lived experiences, the authors address common themes of equity, opportunity and how our choices can make a world of difference. (Watch for more about these books in future posts.) For now I’ll say that the ideas and stories in both books highlighted values important to me.

From my place of deep stillness and foggy brain emerged an idea for a new direction for the coming year. I realized I needed to make some shifts. Especially on a big project I had been working on for the last six months. Not an easy decision because of my investment in the project already. However, this knowing was a visceral experience. The complete calm when I came to this awareness let me know this change in direction was the right direction. Postpone, pause, re-prioritize. Even though I meditate and practice yoga regularly and often ‘sit still’, my line of sight was focused along the path I’d already chosen. Had I not been forced into complete stillness, I probably would have carried on working through my long to-do list, too ‘busy’ to consider deeper thinking or alternatives. Having a foggy brain helped. It allowed the ideas and thoughts in the periphery to emerge and take shape. To be noticed. 

Infuse Your Values Into Your Dreams and Decisions

A couple years ago I shared the idea of creating a values related question for the new year rather than guilt ridden resolutions. Last year at this time I wrote about dreaming our own dreams to be fully engaged and add spark to our lives. And last week I wrote how values alignment provides direction and influences our energy levels. My foggy brain connected my values highlighted in the books with my plans already in motion giving me greater clarity on the dream I want to make real in the coming year. My question for 2019 is ‘what now?’ Its purpose is to remind me of what’s important, to prioritize appropriately and to be present to my practices that enable realizing my dreams.

I can’t help but think that my complete lack of energy this week was a signal that I was out of alignment with my values in some way. That my body went to an extreme state of depletion to allow this heightened awareness to surface. While being sick over the holidays is not fun, I appreciate the insights and awareness of optional paths to follow.

Learn To Be Still

The next time you are feeling depleted, sick or simply lacking energy, and the timing is the worst possible, take a moment or two or three to be still. The timing is not a coincidence. Ask yourself, what’s out of alignment? Or what’s possible? What am I not seeing? Don’t try to force an answer. Allow it to surface. You’ll know when you’re onto something because your energy will shift. 

Changing direction became clear to me yesterday morning. I let it sit for the day to see how it felt. In my body. Because the best decisions for me happen when I listen to my body. At 5 pm my energy shifted enough for me to decide to try a run – the first in a week. While apprehensive at first, I quickly fell into an easy rhythm for 30 minutes.  My new found wisdom felt good in my body. It felt right. As did the run. My foggy brain cleared – enough to write this post. When my body feels good and my brain is clear then I know I’m on the right track.

As you make your plans and create your dreams for the coming year, make time to be still. Really still. Not watching shows online or staring at your smart phone. But really allow your body, mind and spirit to have some downtime. Lie on the floor or better yet, lie on the ground outside and gaze at the sky. Day dream for a while. Ponder your values. What do you notice from this perspective? As you reflect on your dreams and values, notice how your body feels. How your energy levels shift as your thoughts shift. Tap into that wisdom. That’s where your ‘more-in-me’ lives.  

What are some examples of when you felt certain? How did you know? What signals let you know that you were on the right track?  Are you good at listening to your body wisdom? How did you develop that capacity? Where do you get stuck? Please share in the comments below.

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