Making connections between what you are feeling and thinking and the accompanying body sensations is the ground of embodied awareness.
A watchword can be your touchstone for the year ahead; it captures the way you want to feel as you go through the year ahead. Spend some time reflecting on the possible choices, for example do you want to feel clear, energized or focused? Curious, confident or inspired? If you can pay attention to your body as you shuffle and select a word, you may start to notice that each word evokes a different set of sensations or feeling in your body – each word has a ‘felt-sense’. Give yourself plenty of time to make your choice, although it could be that you have an instinctive response to this exercise and you are able to name you watchword in seconds.
1. Carve our some quiet time. You could be meditating; you could be in the bath or shower; maybe walking the dog or on a routine train or bus ride. Start to get clearer and clearer about how you want to feel as your training progresses over the coming year. What words best describe this desire? You might find more than a few words come up so capture them in your #journaling , or use the memo recorder on your phone if you are out and about. Transfer them to your journal later.
“ Try on your shortlist of words for size noticing your felt-sense of them in your body; feeling calm is different to feeling courageous, for example .”
2. Keep narrowing down your word list until you have two or three strong candidates. How would it be to really embody each word, what difference might it make to the way you move through the year ahead? Distract yourself and come back to the process later.
3. Come back to your list and see if there is one word that stands out. Are there ways in which you have been experiencing the feeling of this potential watchword already? What is about this word that attracts you? What difference would it make to you to feel more like this more of the time?
4. List some ways you can bring more of your watchword into your life in general so that the felt-sense can be practiced and as a result more available to you during the training. This might be through mindfully revisiting the watchword and its accompanying qualities of a felt-sense in your body during your meditation or movement/asana practice; it might be while you are in conversation with others; it might be while you are doing simple tasks like walking to the station, washing up, or cleaning your teeth.
5. Don’t throw away the other words from your shortlist! What can also be helpful is to select two supporting words that are going to add strength and tone to your watchword. It could be the words on your shortlist, or you could create a new list or mind-map. A Thesaurus can be useful here!
6. Next you might use your art-journal to get creative. Find your glue stick and scissors! You might go searching for images with which you can create a collage. Use magazines. Use images from the internet - these can be printed for personal use without infringing copyright or look at sites like pexels.com or pixabay.com for ideas. Scrapbooking in this visual way adds more associations and vitality to your watchword. When you’re done, you could take a photo on your phone and create a screen saver, or print out the photo and fix it to your fridge. The more exposure you have to your watchword the stronger the embodiment can become.
7. You do not have to share your watchword with anyone; it can be your personal and private mantra, however sharing with someone can have its benefits. They can act as a reminder-maker if they feel that you are losing connection with your watchword.
8. Finally, each watchword has a shelf-life. You might find that you outgrow a watchword and it becomes no longer fit for purpose, if that happens, just revisit this process. Conversley, you might find that your watchword extends lasts a second year or more.
Image via pexels.com