How and when do you reflect?

What does it mean, to reflect?

Often we reflect on situations that haven’t gone well. What could we have done differently? Usually the more difficult they were, the more impact there was, the more we reflect.

We may occasionally reflect on a situation that has gone brilliantly well, or one that was a memorable, amazing experience.

Reflecting on the extremes, seems to be the norm. But what about reflecting day to day, on the normal, the middle ground? What value lies there? It’s not something we all pay attention to.

Why not?

Noticing whether you’re feeling relaxed, playful, weary at a point in the day can be useful. Noticing you were less involved than normal in that meeting. Being curious about why you sensed a little stomach churn just before that phone call. Notice how busy your mind is. Notice patterns of thought. Notice words and phrases you use regularly. Words you say to others, but also words you say to yourself in your head. Notice how you’re distracted. Notice what’s distracting you. Notice familiar patterns of thought, of behaviour. Notice when you hold back, stay quiet. Notice when you don’t.

Reflecting on how we are, in the moment, can be useful. What our body and mind is doing, is telling us, should be heard. This is information. It’s free. It’s insightful. It’s valuable.

Let’s pay more attention to reflecting.

the truth in our body

body feeling listen real
Our body has something to say. Often we don’t make ourselves available to listen. We speak over it. We take its message and translate, dismiss, interpret, label it. Or we simply ignore it. It seems we have forgotten to simply pay attention to it.

When we are wrestling with something, experiencing a change, being challenged, exploring a question or simply living, our bodies will be speaking to us.

Maybe we have a tension in our shoulders, a dry mouth, a tummy that is churning, tingling in our toes, a numbness in our legs, breathing that is shallow, a heartbeat that is racing…?

Our mind takes over. Thought swamps the sensation. Emotional labels mask the core body feeling. Distraction. Control maintained. Human system managed. This interpretation, rationalisation or control amounts to sticking our fingers in our ears and going blah blah blah to our bodies. I’m not listening. You’re not important.

Yet in one way, the physical sensation is the only thing that is real. Undeniable. My mouth is dry. My palms are sweaty.

My rationalisation of what this signifies, fabricated. Invented. Created from a myriad of past and present analyses, my brain labels the sensation with a feeling – I’m anxious. Are you? My brain then engages the thoughts about why, what I can do, what I should do, what will work, what won’t. It tells me about the patterns. “Well this is what always happens isn’t it?” it says.

What would it be like to stay with the physical sensation? To spend a few moments, with the dry mouth? Not to label it, dismiss it, rationalise it away. But just notice it. Listen to your body. It too has a voice. It speaks a truth.