A client, let's call him Robert, who wishes to remain anonymous, writes about the body inventory:
"This was one of my key "lessons learned" from the Problem Solving Leadership workshop (PSL): acknowledging my feelings/emotions. As an INTP myself, this didn't make much sense at the time. :-)
Even though it was some years ago, I recall Jerry mentioning during PSL that INTPs have very fragile feelings which is why we need to protect them and appear to others as if we didn't have any.
After PSL I have been doing the exercise Jerry describes every morning at my desk in the office while writing in my journal. I close my eyes and write down what I feel. I just acknowledge it to myself on paper. In my case though, I don't start at my toes. I have learned that my emotions get trapped in 3 very specific places in my body: my stomach, my chest, and my throat. So, I just aim for those. If I listen closely, I hear what I am saying... emotionally. That helps me balance myself to begin my day at work.
In dealing with others, I also often find myself "not understanding why others feel the way they do". That is my trigger to stop trying to figure it out and just be. I am just there for the other person. I just acknowledge their feelings. I don't try to change them. Sometimes I catch myself not being able to do that. I realize that, in those situations, I am emotionally out of balance. I am trying to "fix" the other person when, in fact, what I really want is to balance myself."
I'm so glad he wrote this, for his experience is as a valuable model for others of how the body inventory works, and how working on yourself first helps you understand others.
And, how helping others helps you, for when I asked Robert for permission to use his feedback, he wrote:
Jerry, please go ahead and use it on the blog.I am already thinking that once I see it on on your blog, it will help me be less afraid of sharing my thoughts in a larger audience. I'll get there. :-)
And, it is already helping other people. Melissa wrote:
Robert, I appreciate you for your insights. I have discovered my emotions are showing up in my stomach mostly. I will have to check in with my chest and throat. My stomach has been tense during my situations and could overwhelm different bottlenecks elsewhere.
Your second description about being out of balance perfectly describes my situations as well. You phrased it better and more deeply than my current level of understanding. Thank you for those insights. Being centered myself helps me be more present for the other person. As my centering improves I even get better at meeting new people. :-)
I also like the idea of doing The Body Inventory at your desk. I tried it yesterday for the first time while lying down. I almost fell asleep. (Though maybe that is what my body really needed then.)
The post also elicited a profound and helpful comment from Doris Hernandez, a "life coach." I recommend my readers take a look at her blog, Building the Life You Want, as well.