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Using the Body’s Wisdom

By Sonali Kelkar
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Originally Published in Coaching for Transformation

Coach: What’s happening?

Anushka: I am feeling very restless.

Coach: What is this restlessness telling you?

Anushka: I don’t know… I wish I knew.

Coach: Where in your body do you feel this restlessness?

Anushka: In my hands…in my feet…

Coach: You shook your hands like you were shaking off something.

Anushka: Yes, it’s this frustration that I am trying to shake off.

Coach: Where do you feel the frustration the most?

Anushka: Around my chest…it’s caging me…it’s like a tight ball

Coach: What’s its texture… its colour?

Anushka: …It’s black … a ball made up of endless string. It’s tying itself up… (silence)

Coach: You spoke much slower than you did a minute ago… What’s happening?

Anushka: I realize how I am actually tying myself up… I haven’t been speaking up …My boss didn’t give me a raise and I haven’t spoken to her about it.

Coach: What needs get met when you do not speak up about it?

Anushka: None of my needs get met when I don’t speak up.

Coach: Really? You must have a need you’re trying to meet by not speaking up…

Anushka: Actually, I keep quiet because of my need for harmony and respect.

Coach: Ah… Your voice was so clear when you said that…Looks like harmony and respect are really important for you… And what needs of yours are left unmet?

Anushka: …My need for recognition… growth…

Coach: I noticed your shoulders go backwards and you sat back.

Anushka: Yes, growth is really important for me at this stage of my career. I respect my boss and I’d also like to be recognized for the way I have grown to handle so much more. I am not the same person I was a year ago. And yet I am doing nothing about it.

Coach: Your eyes lit up when you talked about your growth. Growth seems to be very important for you today.

Anushka: Yes! It is…I look to learn and grow every single day… it brings me to work every day.

Coach: What’s happening in your body right now?

Anushka: I can feel blood gushing through my legs and my chest. My shoulders feel lighter. I realize I have been pushing aside my need for recognition and growth. Like it’s something I shouldn’t want… I want to change things. My reality is that I want both— recognition and growth. If I don’t stand up for myself, how can I expect others to stand up for me?

Witnessing her body’s reaction to her awareness of her needs facilitated Anushka to choose actions that helped her fulfill her needs for recognition and growth, as well as her needs for respect and harmony.


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