top of page

How to Leverage the Wisdom of Your Body to Make Clear and Meaningful Decisions

I've been making several gut choices lately, and so far, they are working out pretty well. You know the sort, right? It's the urge that seems to run through your whole body when confronted with a choice of action that just feels right.

What are we embracing in our Yes?

An urge led me to Portland this weekend and it was one of the sweetest three days I have spent in a long time. I bought tickets to the Portland Book Festival hosted by Literary Arts, a non-profit organization on a mission to support writers, readers, and the creation of great literature, and made a plan to spend an entire weekend indulging in my writerly passions by attending several theater events to listen to authors speak about their work. As being with others who share my passion amplifies my enjoyment, as soon as I learned of the weekend event, I reached out to my friend, Natalie, who lives in Portland, is an avid reader and writer and would be a very fun partner to bop around downtown with as we nerded out together, which is exactly what we did.

What do we need to release to be all in?

To make a clear choice about the weekend, I needed to release the idea that I owed anyone anything, and with it the idea that my time is needed by others, elsewhere. Every mother knows that children are a bottomless vessel of Mom’s well-intentioned energy, time, and focus. I decided that my sweet loving family would not need me enough on this two-night escapade to warrant batting an eye at not going altogether. No way. That kind of thinking, that we are indispensable, is a self-fulfilling prophecy that digs us into a hole from which we can’t escape.

Portland was an escape hatch to rekindle my own creative juices by making ample space to discover the part of myself—the writerly part—that too often gets sidelined and silenced by other and more “important work,” i.e. the urgent and (debatably) important. But really, what’s more important than feeling my best?

What does our best feel like in the body?

When I’m feeling my best, I’m feeling curious, creative, and steeped in a state of wonder and delight.

I can and often do feel these emotions and faculties at home while in the presence of my family and while moving through ordinary routines. But my favorite way of experiencing these feelings is to leap into new environments and sink deeply into new experiences, allowing myself to tune to a different frequency to receive something truly extraordinary.

Know why a choice is important

So I went to Portland with an open heart, compelled my curiosity to learn, and my desire to connect meaningfully with dear friends, and had just that—and all without controlling the plan or the outcome.

I made the choice quickly and from the gut because it felt right in my body. It felt important to me.

Wondering why that is? It was the way I felt resourced in my body, mind, heart, and spirit anticipating my decision to be there, engaged and open to it all. I felt plugged into the best parts of myself and my environment, so the yes came easily.

Becoming aware of what we want to feel

Conscious Leadership Group teaches a concept called the Whole-Body Yes. According to CLG:

People who learn to honor their Whole Body Yeses report that they experience more vitality, physical and emotional well being, joy and creativity, and connection with others. . . .A Whole Body Yes happens when you are fully aligned with your whole body (head, heart and gut) and there is a bodily sense of well being as you consider a choice.

Of course, not every choice feels so juicy, and that’s ok, but we need to know what we want to be aiming for in how we make our decisions. What interests me in this moment isn't the choice itself, but the self-awareness and trust we must have in ourselves as decision-makers to choose according to our somatic responses that reflect our value system.

When our choices are supported by our principles (our values) we are leveraging our strength of character and conviction to build toward our most meaningful outcomes.

Choice as an act of self-honoring

So, how does a self-honoring choice feel in the body?

Think back to some of your most fulfilling choices. Make a quick list of moments in which you decided with a sense of clarity, confidence, excitement, and self-assuredness.

What’s on your list? What are these moments?

For me it was saying yes to Brent’s wedding proposal in that snowy meadow near Lake Tahoe. It was the choice to leave Menlo Park for Bend, regardless of how much of our lives we’d have to dismantle and reconstruct to establish ourselves again. It was a choice to develop a new career as an executive coach and start my own business entirely on my terms. It was the choices that went into the naming of our daughter and son. So many great decisions with many tough and messy decisions mixed into getting to the good ones that stick.

Get to know your process of decision-making

It’s a process of learning what works for you. What do you need to do to create for yourself the clarity and confidence to know what is most important to you to be and feel your best?

If we can pay attention to our body's response system to know how choices feel in our bodies, and how they impact us, we can learn to make better-informed decisions.

Believe in yourself . . .

to know what's best for YOU and those you love.

Take a stand for what you know to be true by making choices that align with your values. In time, your far-off dreams will become a reality. All you need to do is stay true to YOU.


bottom of page