Let’s face it, when you’re trying to keep up with the pace and intensity of your work, family and community obligations, it can be tricky to slow down and show up for love. Tuning in to your body is a good way to tune out external distractions and be in the intimate moment. It’s a simple shift from out there to in here… where your breath and bones and pulse live. Whether you’re sharing a bit of love with a romantic interest, a dear friend, or your own sweet self, your body can help you open your heart, be sensitive and stay present. After all, these aren’t just figures of speech. They’re actual physical experiences that make giving and receiving possible.
Open Your Heart
The heart chakra lies behind your breastbone. Many people believe this is the center of emotional empathy, acceptance of others, and love. Perhaps you’ve noticed this place get achy or heavy when you felt sad? Like an emotional barometer, your heart space feels warm and fuzzy when you’re nurtured; cold and heavy when you’re criticized. It tightens up when you’re resentful, jealous, or judgmental. And, it opens when you’re secure, grateful, or appreciative.
Check it out. Take a moment right now to close your eyes and let your fingers rest on lightly on your chest. As you breathe into this heart space (filling and emptying, front and back), let the movement loosen up any stillness, holding, or tension. Breathe out all negative thoughts and feelings; breathe in compassion and acceptance. Can you feel your heart space soften and expand? Now imagine something worrisome and feel what happens. Did it start feeling dense or fluttery? Then come back again to your clearing breath and let it all go.
Showing up with an open heart invites other people to show up and open up as well. When your heart is open, you’re open to loving thoughts and feelings. When you speak with an open heart, the message is clear.
Good relationships depend on being able to decipher the non-verbal nuances of feelings and intentions. Your body can help you do this. Being aware of information coming from your senses is a good way to be sensible in any relationship. Yet, like most people, you may pay more attention to what you think than what you feel, hear, smell, etc. Being sensitive means tuning in, hearing the whole conversation, and listening with your body.
Check it out. The next time you’re in an intimate situation, let your senses be your guide. How does your stomach feel? Are your muscles tight or jumpy? Do your erogenous zones tell of sexual attraction (yours or theirs)? Is your vision and hearing crystal clear? Tuning in and tracking the non-verbal conversation reveals the subtext so you can interact effectively. Being sensitive means you can be emotionally intelligent. Depending on what you perceive, you may want to slow down, move forward, or change the conversation.
A successful relationship depends as much on body talk as it does on spoken words. Body talk is pretty straight forward, but in order to understand you have to be creative. For instance, if your sensible body feels fluid and expansive, you’re on the right track. If it registers confusion or obstruction, try another approach. If it tenses up, feels uneasy or has any other reaction, this is important feedback. Listen to your sensible body. And, if you override it and push ahead anyway, don’t overlook the consequences. It’s all part of the learning.
Showing up means being present. Tuning in to your body’s kinesthetic sense is a good way to be grounded in the moment. You may not be overtly aware of this sixth sense but you know it and use it all of the time. It is your sense of space, both internal and external. This sense of space helps you find the light switch in your bedroom at night and define your comfort zone. When you expand your personal space to include another person, you create a bubble of intimacy. This can happen in front of a cozy fire, at dinner in a restaurant, or side by side on a beach walk. Anchoring your presence with your sense of space will help you stay engaged in relationship. Think: space in rather than space out.
Check it out. How much personal space do you occupy right now? Close your eyes and sense your internal-external space. Feel your insides move with your breath. Bring your awareness to your skin. You don’t have to open your eyes to know where this is! And, then let your attention expand beyond your physical body into the space around your body. How far out can you go? Some people think of this as your personal energy field. Imagine sharing this energy field with someone else.
Being familiar with your sense of internal-external space makes it easier to get in the intimate moment and stay there. Being in your body means you’re at home to give and receive love. Being present means your ready for attentive listening and authentic communication. It helps you stay in listening mode and stop thinking about what to say next. And, when you’re speaking, your embodied words carry the poetry of your open heart and sensitive soul. If your mind drifts off now and then, just return to your sense of space. Being in your body is a good way to be present and stay present.
Even if you’re not romantically involved, knowing how to show up for love is important for relationship and communication. Why not give it a try this Valentine’s Day?