Better than Chocolate

“Better than Chocolate!”
After a bit of play and getting to know one another, I asked this question to the nine children sitting around the circle,
What do you really love?”
This is a question so rarely asked, that most of us find ourselves struggling for an answer when asked. As a child, were you ever asked that question? Answering it puts us directly in touch with our deeper needs.

One of the children, exclaimed, “ice cream!”.
I suggested that she imagine a tall building, and if ice cream was one of the upper floors, what would love be on the ground floor?  Her voice softened and a tiny bit of color came to her face as she said, “My family and dog.”  I asked her to point to where in her body the center of that loving feeling was and to say how it felt.  She pointed to just below the center of her chest and said, “nice!”

Then, I walked about ten feet away, turned, faced her and asked her to imagine that I was a stranger, someone she had never met before.  I asked, “Am I in your space now?” to which she replied, “no”.  If she had said “yes”, I would have backed up until she felt relaxed and was sure that I was not in her space.  Her task was to say, “stop” when I was in her personal space as I slowly walked toward her. 
Right about four feet away she said, “stop”.  I asked, “Where in your body do you feel the feelings that tell you that I am in your space?”  These are unusual questions to ask anyone, but with a little coaching people will notice the tensing and contractions that occur somewhere in their bodies that alert them to a possible danger.  She pointed to her chest and said that it felt tense.

Together, we connected the dots.  This was the same spot where she most acutely felt that feeling of love as well!

I suggested that the tensing might be her love and caring trying to get her attention to warn her so she would be safe. She agreed.  I coached her to say to that place in her chest, “Thank you for warning me and caring for me”.  She realized, that when she brought her attention to that place, the tenseness relaxed and she felt much better.

I moved a little closer and again a slight triggering came up in her chest.  I suggested that she engage that tense spot in a conversation, beginning with, “ I am listening” and “What are you suggesting I do?”  She did this and to my amazement she simply walked around me like a passerby on the street. She then thanked this “inner voice” for the caring and guidance.

She lit up, immediately understanding the value of being able to turn inward to find clarity and council from a place that cared deeply about her safety and well being.

I asked how that felt to have this “inner friend”.  She exclaimed, “It’s better than chocolate!” We high-fived and then I proceeded to do the same process (with minor variations) with each of the 15 kids in the two workshops. I had a very similar experience with each child. What a joy it was for me to plant these seeds so early in their young lives!
Imagine how it would be to grow up cultivating such a friendship with our own bodies.

In adult workshops, it’s pretty clear that those “inner friends” that put us in touch with our needs are often ignored for a very long time. The deep pain and joy of reunion can be profound.  After class, one of the children came up to me and said, “My father works so hard, I wish that he would listen to that part of himself more. I think he would be a lot happier.”

Real change can happen when we listen to our bodies and our deeper motivations.

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