A friend of mine once declared that to be a favourite coaching question of theirs. “What would your big toe say?”
I can’t vouch for its effectiveness as a question. Or its appropriateness.
I do like it though.
The notion of paying attention to a physical part of you fascinates me.
On occasion, when I have found it difficult to get to sleep, I focus my attention on my foot. It works. Maybe it is the sheer mundaneness of directing all my conscious attention to my foot that helps me nod off? Boring the conscious mind into submission perhaps? I pay total attention to my foot’s position. The toes, ankle, sole. To its boundaries; where it begins and ends. To any sensations I have in it, such as a slight tickle, or the feel of the sheet.
I guess my ear would do just as well, but I haven’t learned to build such a close relationship with my ear yet. Or my nose, which I suspect has its attention focused on breathing; and I am very grateful to it for that. Whereas my foot and I are on good terms. We have an understanding.
I think this is why I like the question “What would your big toe say?”
Not, you understand, because it’s a part of the foot. Rather, because it’s a part of you. A part of me. A body part playing an unfamiliar role.
Sometimes we over value the brain. We consult it constantly. We pay it too much respect arguably. Sure, it has its uses. A bit like my nose and breathing, I wouldn’t want to be without my brain. But sometimes I wonder what the rest of me thinks? What do other parts of me feel about this?
Sometimes I listen to my gut or to my heart, why not my big toe?
Try it. Next time you want another perspective, or you’re stuck, or you just want a less busy response from yourself, ask…
“What would my big toe say about this?”
And if that doesn’t work… start a conversation with your elbow.