Savor More, Grind Less: Lessons in Feeling the Impact of Your Actions (The Sensitivity Cycle Part 4)
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of a five-part series examining the Sensitivity Cycle, and how to use the cycle to overcome resistance and the dreaded feeling of being stuck. Click here to read Part 1, click here for Part 2, click here for Part 3 and click here for Part 5.
We’re past the halfway mark examining the Sensitivity Cycle. Developed by Ron Kurtz, the Sensitivity Cycle is an aspect of the Hakomi Method that explores how a person’s experiences are perceived, processed, and carried out.
In a healthy system, once effective action is taken (the second phase of the Sensitivity Cycle), the Nourishment phase begins.
This is the place where we assess our actions and either feel satisfaction for a job well-done, or we feel the negative feedback from ineffective action or, simply, mistakes we may have made along the way. Our action isn’t necessarily complete yet, but we’re able to experience the impact – good or bad – of our doings.
Nourishment is essentially the discernment phase of our work; the place where we create an understanding of the positive or negative impact – the fulfillment or lack thereof – that we feel or recognize in what we’ve done.
A simple way to look at this that I’ve used previously is the metaphor of finding the exact right thing to satisfy you when you’re hungry. If you’ve chosen the right food, versus just any random food you can get your hands on, you’ll feel satisfied when you eat. If you haven’t, you might feel full-but-empty, dissatisfied, depleted, or just “off” from what you’ve taken in.
When we’ve made the right choice and acted effectively, Nourishment can usually be felt within the body, so it’s more than just a logical knowing that you made a good decision. You’ll experience other clues as well – a relaxing of your body, increased energy, the ability to breathe deeper, or a general feeling of comfort or satisfaction, to name a few. For this reason, I like to call Nourishment the savoring phase.
When we look at Nourishment through the lens of a career, it can be easy to see how many of us can completely bypass the savoring and positive sensations of the Nourishment phase.
Recently I worked with a client who was experiencing a barrier at the Nourishment phase. She had been helping run a friend’s business while the owner was away, and had been in hustle mode for several months. When she came to me for a Somatic Re-Engineering session after the owner returned, her system was still wired and tense from the experience, and she was unable to get her system to wind down. The stress from the experience was continuing well-beyond the time frame of the project and at this point was transforming into physical pain.
What we came to discover was that she had been stuck in the Action phase, never giving herself the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of her labor and experience the success she’d created. It simply hadn’t occurred to her, based on her orientation to work, that she should (or could) actually take the time to be satisfied with her efforts. Taking that time in our session yielded an incredible sense of ease and freedom in her body, along with an important lesson for her to take into her next cycle of Action.
My client’s story is a great example of the impact that making space for the positive aspects of Nourishment can have. But what kind of impact can making space for the negative aspects of our actions have?
Well, one of the ways I made my transition out of my finance career was through the discernment I was able to make in the Nourishment phase.
Years ago I accepted a high-powered corporate strategy job. I was paid well, and had the responsibilities to match. The upward potential for me was tremendous. Within a month though I knew I wasn’t in the right place. I had taken what I thought was effective action to land a great job, but I felt zero nourishment in the work I was doing.
After sticking it out for several more months, I finally put in my notice. I knew I could have gone to my boss and asked for a pay cut and lesser responsibilities to make the job work better for me, but paying attention to the Nourishment phase helped me understand that I was no longer in alignment with the type of work I was doing. I’d spent months trying to puzzle things out to improve my experience, but at the core I was in the wrong place and the work wasn’t right for me.
Not only is it important to stop, pause, and bask in the reward of a job well done, but to notice when the action you’re taking doesn’t feel right. Action can be satisfying or detrimental to you, but without tuning into your body and mind to make that assessment, it will take much longer and become more challenging to make different choices.
If you are someone who struggles with experiencing Nourishment, try to tune into your mind and body in the moment and reflect on these types of questions: Is the task at hand fulfilling? Is it draining? Where can you find places where help is available?
Still struggling? Email me at email@example.com, tell me a bit about what you’re going through, and I’ll happily give you some guidance on a pathway forward.