Becoming Fluent, part II

Welcome to part two of Becoming Fluent, or how to become a better "listener" to your body (and unlock your MOST impactful tool for physical improvement, achievement, etc). If you missed Part 1 you can check it out here.

OK, so that was a bold statement up there ^ ("...MOST impactful.."), but I stand by it because learning to pay better attention to your body is a master-skill: one that unlocks many, many other skills. If you can become more effective at taking in body information (of which there is TONS...~1,000,000,000,000,000 brain-stimuli per second to be precise) you have engaged one of the most sophisticated sensory super-systems in the history of the world: the human body

So how do we actually go about getting better at this "listening" skill? Step one is to face the fact that it's going to take some focus on the present moment, as in: What is happening. RIGHT. NOW? 

Ask yourself that question out loud, right now. Let the words hang in the air.

Don't be distracted by your phone, or your grocery list, or that voice in your head that doubts every damn thing that you do

Instead notice that your body probably wants to breathe in ... and then breathe out. 

What do you hear?

Smell?

How warm or cold are you?

Just for a moment, I invite you to escape into your present reality.

...

Now, if you actually played along, you just experienced a little mini-meditation. Notice whatever reactions you have to that word--meditation--and then realize that in this context, it is nothing more than practicing the skill of paying attention to the current moment.

Whatever you find here, good or bad, this is always where you start. Because for all its simplicity, the "right now" question is one that almost never actually penetrates our consciousness. Too busy are we to stop, like Mr. Ferris Buehler, and actually look around. Fuck that. 

The more we have the strength to just stand in the stream of our consciousness and watch all the stuff (opinions, judgements, feelings, dreams, nagging worries,etc) float on by, the more skillful we become at tuning in and engaging our magnificent sensory network of nerves and tissues. 

Then, we just apply that "right now" skill to our lives. 

If we apply it to a movement task, like deadlifting or running (or a million other options), we allow all the incoming sensory information to course through the super-computer in our head. Unimpeded by the slow, conscious, doubting mind, we can execute closer to our fullest potential--much closer. Perhaps more importantly, we get an accurate read on if the movement is safe for our bodies. To quote the bro-tastic Kelly Starret (love the guy): if it feels sketchy, it probably is sketchy. 

If we apply the "right now" skill to a conversation with a colleague or loved one, we actually hear their words before immediately settling on a judgement of those words. We see them laid out in front of us, in a way we can think thoughtfully about (and not just be a reactive jackass... oh, that's just me? I don't think so ... :). 

And if we apply it to an exercise specifically designed to maximize proprioceptive* information--like CARs**--we systematically increase the functionality of a single body system. Joint by joint, that renewed functionality upgrades our expression of movement. Our body makes better choices. Tune in, level up. 

And it all starts with paying attention. 

Tune in (see what I did there?!) next week when I talk about another master-skill, one that is right under our nose, but all-too-often hidden in plain site. 

-Will

*Which google defines as: "relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body." 

**to learn more about CARs, check out my previous post on the topic HERE.

PPS: If you want a leg-up on your very own CARs practice, you can grab our nifty video by clicking HERE