Provision #260: Engage Your Body

Laser Provision


By definition, transitions involve endings and beginnings. To start something new one has to finish the old. And there’s no way to finish the old without engaging your body in the process. Don’t wait too long to get going. Find ways to proactively express and experience your feelings.

LifeTrek Provision


This Provisions’ series on navigating life’s transitions is taking on a life of its own. I had a definite idea of what I was going to write last week, but when I sat down at the keyboard my fingers starting typing something entirely different. I kept trying to bring it back to my original theme, but my body would not let me. “Grieve the Loss” was a word that had to be heard.

The impetus for this Provision comes, in part, from the proximity of our move to Williamsburg, Virginia. On Friday my wife and I will pack up the car and drive almost 1,000 kilometers or 600 miles east, to our new home and headquarters of LifeTrek coaching in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. As the day approaches, we’ve gotten more emotional about the whole thing. It’s been a good run here in the Midwest, where we’ve lived, studied, and worked for the past 23 years. Even though it’s a very happy and blessed move, there’s no way to move on successfully without grieving the loss. That’s true of most transitions.

And there’s no way to successfully grieve the loss without engaging your body. You can’t just think this one through. You have to work it through, on every level of being.

There’s no more basic, fundamental, or important level of being than that of the body. The incarnation of flesh and spirit is the gift of life. There will be other times for moving on without the body. This is the time for moving on with the body, or for not moving on at all.

That’s one way to describe what happens when people get stuck and fail to successfully navigate life’s transitions. Our external circumstances change, we move on to something new, but we fail to engage our bodies in the process of detachment and reintegration. We may do what has to be done, going through the motions, but we lose our vision and motivation for life. We become less effective and resourceful as human beings.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can chart a different course by engaging our bodies in the process. Research indicates that our intelligence comes through every cell of the body, not just through our brain cells. “I think, therefore I am,” does humanity a great disservice when we reduce thinking to a mental activity. We are brains and bodies, in synergistic union, creating a marvelous expression of sentience. “I express, therefore I am,” comes closer to the truth of human intelligence and experience.

What do you express and how do you do it? The answers hold the key to successfully navigating life’s transitions. Without mindfully expressing ourselves through the body we risk being swept out to sea by the tides of change.

That’s why last week I mentioned the importance of laughter and tears to grieving the loss. These physical expressions can heal and bless even the toughest of times. Just ask the survivors of torture and physical abuse. Without laughter and tears, they would have never survived at all. The release that comes from the making of sounds, the movement of muscles, and the flow of tears cannot be experienced any other way.

Whether we engage the body with sounds, muscles, and tears is up to us. It starts with giving ourselves permission to become as little children. Children have no problem with sounds, muscles, and tears. It’s adults who’ve become too civilized for that. Once we give ourselves permission, we then have to become aware of and at times even orchestrate the opportunities. Otherwise we squander the gift of life itself.

When Norman Cousins intentionally watched and laughed at funny movies, as part of his successful treatment for a painful arthritic disease, he was engaging his body. When others go for a walk, practice Yoga, hit a pillow, or hug a friend they are doing the same thing. They are taking the initiative to get their bodies involved in the process. You don’t have to wait for something to be happy or sad in order to laugh or cry. You don’t have to always be reactive when it comes to physical engagement. You can proactively do what you can to make things work.

That’s the amazing thing about engaging your body in the process of navigating life’s transitions. You can often lead yourself, through the body, into new ways of functioning, understanding, and being. Take charge of your inner life by proactively and intentionally engaging your body for all it’s worth. It’s the only way to go.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, send mail to coach@LifeTrekCoaching.com.


I merited much from your newsletter. Wish I had the time really to go over these messages once more but time doesn’t allow me. Good bye for now and more power!


Good luck on your move east. Are you going to run there or drive? Thanks for the Provisions. I tell my family each week that I need to see what my “guru” has to say. Nice positive writing, Bob. Keep on keeping on. Tell it like it is.


I’m from Honduras, and love your Provisions!!! They have helped me a lot.


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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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