You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.
With this episode, I want to dig into the art of solving problems, and I’m utilizing the term art very, very specifically to constrain this episode very specifically. And I’ll get into some of the science of problem solving in a later episode. But I want to speak about the art because how I view the application of yoga therapy is that I’m helping my clients – or I’m teaching my client’s I should say – to resolve their problems by learning some skills and tools.
So, the key here is I’m helping them to resolve the problems. My job is to teach them the skills and the tools. Their job is to resolve the problem, so it’s not my job to go out and fix them. It’s my job to teach them the skills and the tools. So, there is an ownership, and there is a relationship in this process. We both have skin in the game. We both have ownership over our role, and together we’re moving the process forward for them.
My clients and the trainees who come into my professional training programs and very smart individuals. They’ve got very good brains that are good at processing data. They are able to pull data from sources externally to them, bring that data together, and solve problems in their head. They’re very, very good at that.
They also tend to be people who have perceptual ability, so they are intuitive. They recognize that there is this magic part of their brain as well as the logic part of their brain, so it doesn’t surprise them necessarily that they receive information that they don’t necessarily know that they’re receiving. They don’t know where it comes from. They just recognize that sometimes they’re making decisions that aren’t logical nature. It’s just something that kind of comes through them of like, this is the thing they need to do.
So, they have this intuitive ability or perceptive ability. Even the ones – I’ll just say as an aside – who won’t acknowledge that, what they will say is they can feel when they’re in a room, and they can cut the energy with a knife. And so, there is this almost esoteric ability to just palpate or perceive energy. Okay, so that’s the intuitive side.
When people typically come to me, they need the help on the third side of the triad, which is feeling their bodies. Sometimes what can happen when someone is very mentally capable at solving problems, they are also good at pushing aside the symptoms of their body.
Particularly, if they’ve been through a number of health issues, they’re good at pulling up their bootstraps and carrying on. They know how to push through pain. They know how to push through symptoms. They know how to blast through the whispers and just get to the other side. So, they really haven’t had much use in even paying attention to the sensations of their body because they just haven’t had that use.
And then what happens and why they find me is because that act of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps is no longer working. All their tips and tricks of being able to get over the hump and carry on are no longer working, so they know that something is up intuitively. They know that something is up intuitively. They know their body can get better, but everything that they’re trying isn’t working.
So, they’re racking their brain looking for answers and being guided often by this innate intuitive knowing that they’re not actually getting the answers that they need. In some cases, they’re having some short-term results through the various professionals that they’ve seen, but they’re not actually addressing the problem that is. They’re addressing the symptom, but they’re not actually getting to the root of something.
So, when they come to see me, oftentimes what is initiate the session with is – or even before they become a client, I initiate the conversation with where the pain is is not the problem. That’s why you have not solved it yet. Where the pain is is an expression of the problem. The actual problem lies under your level of awareness. Oftentimes, from a mechanical standpoint, that which is under the awareness has to do with our compensatory patterns.
And I say to them that this is one of the brilliant designs of our body, really of our body and mind. Because when we have a desire to do something, we will really try to do it, and our body will go along for the ride. The difference though, what I have noticed between the mind and the body, is that the body is not as much of a renewable resource. Whereas the mind will keep going and going and going a bit like a rat in a cage, whereas the body is not as renewable.
We need to take care of this physical structure of our body, and at some point, you compensate on top of compensate on top of compensate. Then, it will start to break down. Because if we back it up a little bit, if you have a desire that you want to achieve, but don’t you actually have the capability to do it, you will compensate to find a way to do it.
But that compensation isn’t the actual body part that’s meant to be doing it, and so you’ll keeping doing it in that way. But you’ll get fatigued because that body part is not designed to do that action or that task. And then what will happen is if you keep wanting to do that activity, then your body will find another way to do it, and then another way. And that’s where those compensations begin to stack up.
So, at some point, I like to say, your body gets really fatigued. It’s been trying to keep up. It’s been doing its best. And that’s why often when my client’s come to see me, they’re a little bit frustrated, because they’re like, “Man, my body is breaking down. Why can’t my body keep up?” And I remind them that well, actually, your body has been keeping up. It’s been doing a great job. It’s just pooped out. There’s only so many compensations that we have, and at some point, they’re going to catch up.
So, then I share with them that my job is to help them understand where those compensation patterns are. For them to really understand the sensations of their body, to listen to the whispers. Because when they listen to the whispers, they don’t have to hear the screams. I outline this notion of them being very good at processing information and data. They clearly demonstrate to me about their intuitive capacity, and so I say this is the third part of it.
Now, the obstacle you might face, I say to them, is that you’re so used to being able to push these symptoms aside that it will be may be a little bit challenging for you to pay attention. Because in some cases, you might feel that those sensations are a weakness. So why on Earth would you pay attention to a weakness?
But what starts to happen – particularly as I work with them within their body, and I show them how their leg bone is meant to move in their pelvis and how their arm bone is meant to move in their shoulder socket, the way their spine is meant to move, the various directions that their torso is meant to move, where they’re gripping or where they’re bracing, where they are compensating – they start to recognize the true capacity of their body. They start to be a little bit wowed by what it is that they can do and what they can’t do and a bit astonished at what they have been able to do given the actual structural integrity of their body.
So, then they start to have a bit more trust in what their body is doing and not doing, and that all along, their body has been attempting to try to get its point across, to try to communicate. It just hasn’t been listened to simply because the person hadn’t been taught to actually listen.
But then they start to gain an understanding of the language. It’s very similar to when you learn a language where initially you learn some of the key phrases and some keywords. You go about it, and it’s a bit like speaking Tarzan-French or Tarzan-Spanish. And you’re getting by knowing where to find the bathroom, ordering your coffee or your cheeseburger or whatever it is that you know you need to order.
It’s like that with the body. Start to recognize and get familiarity over some of these sensations and what these sensations are telling you. And what becomes very interesting is that then they start to notice what sensations mean what from a fatigue level and are these fatigue sensations saying you need a glass of water, or you just need to walk around the block, or you actually need to go to sleep.
They learn about which sensations or saying, “No, you can push harder. Actually, no, you need to pull back.” They begin to recognize their body as a barometer, and they understand its communication mechanism.
What becomes really interesting with this is that as they develop this language, this understanding of what their body is saying, understanding these whispers. They then are able to take that data that they’re learning about their body plus the innate intuitiveness that they have and the brain, and they’re able to bring all that data together and create better solutions for themselves.
I like to say that we’re not so much inundated by information, but that we sometimes don’t have a well-formed filter for that information. So, we can go online and Google as much as we want about the condition that we have or any other aspect of our life. We can find all the dos and the don’ts and the should’ves and the could’ves. But there is so much conflicting advice out there, how do you actually know what’s right for you?
Well, here is where this triad becomes so vital. Because when you’ve got a really good functioning brain, and when you’ve got your intuitive capacity plus your building this understanding of the language of your body, you then start to either clear out or build a better filter. And you can be more in tune with what actually works for you.
Because as you read the data that’s out there, as you to take in that data – not only from Google but also from me as the teacher and from the medical professionals who are working with you – you are able to perceive intuitively. You’re able to feel the response in your body. And you’re able to take that data, and your brain can now process it. And that through that processing and filtering out the noise, you can really allow for the essential solution that is right for you to show up.
And it becomes quite a powerful tool for people because then they’re not just pulled off by what Sally Sue or Bobby Joe are doing. But they’re making the choice that’s absolutely right for them because of what they’re perceiving intuitively and what they’re feeling from their body. And they’re able to put that together with their intellectual processing.
Here are some things to think about. Sometimes with our intellectual processing, it can be so strong that we push aside the symptoms or the whispers of our body. So, what I encourage you to do is notice when your brain starts to go off on intellectual mastication, like intellectual chewing, and you’re really starting to rock out with your brain almost into a spin. That is a sensation in your body, so see if you can perceive when you’re overintellectualizing a scenario.
Also notice when you have those moments of your mind that are magic. So, think about it from we have the logical mind, which is another way of talking about our intellectual mind or our intellectual processing. So, we have our logical mind, and we have our magical mind. And there are times we’ve all experienced this. Those of us who are intuitive beings, we’ve experienced this in various aspects of our life – maybe it’s in your profession, maybe it’s as a parent, or a friend, or sibling, or in the hobby that you do – where you get into this state of flow.
And there’s just this grander pause and connection that your experiencing, and things just come together. You see connections that you don’t normally see, and there’s just this state of flow. That’s what I call when you’re in that magic mind, and so notice when that happens. Notice when you’re there.
And then from the body side, when you experience yourself moving, notice when you’re compensating. Pay attention when you’re holding your breath if you’re gripping your jaw or your toes. Whatever exercise that you’re doing, are you pushing just a little bit harder than you need to? And perhaps try doing the movement with 10 or 15 percent less effort, same result but with 10 percent or 15 percent less effort, and see what happens.
When you do these three things – watching when your overintellectualizing, paying attention to when you’re in the magic mind versus the logic mind, when you start to explore and hone your capacity of listening to your body – now you’ve got this triad that really comes together to form the art of the problem solving.
And the solutions you come up with will be a lot fuller, more supportive, and more sustainable. They’ll also enable you to quickly shift and change, as circumstances shift and change. You’ll find that you’re less static, and you’re a lot more dynamic in your response to things.
So, give it a go. See what happens, and if you want to connect with any of your insights, feel free to send me an email to [email protected]
If you are a health professional, and you want to dig into this concept a little bit more of problem solving, I am running a program this January on A Yoga Approach to the Biopsychosocial Model: The Art of Presence Meets the Science of Medicine. And it really hones in on this idea of presence. Because when we are present, we can be more connected to what’s going on in our brain, whether we’re overintellectualizing or not. We can be more present to that magic part of our brain as well as more present to what’s going on in our body.
And when we can feel and be more present in our own self, we can be more present with another person, which just raises our ability to solve problems with them and for them. If that’s of interest to you, the link is www.functionalsynergy.com/biopsychosocial, and that link is in the show notes. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.