“FULL BODY YES” STARTS WITH SELF-AWARENESS— THE ABILITY TO LISTEN INSIDE
What helps us to create the shift in our lives from “me, me, me it’s all about me” to “I am a part of something bigger and I have a role in creating what I want that to look like?” These two different perspectives are clearly presented in Scott Schute’s new book Full Body Yes, which is a dynamically written personal journey of finding your place in corporate America to his creation of the position of Head of Mindfulness and Compassion at LinkedIN. Wow, this book can knock your socks off! You can totally see the need for a spiritual practice and deep personal inner work in Scott’s story to be able to find a balance that honors you in a corporate job these days. Scott shares his story from the perspective of where he is now looking back but goes into the backstory to show how he learned this.
Now he has Self-Love which he feels in that “Full Body Yes” feeling of deep connection with himself when he stops and checks in. Then he gives his list of tools and practices that have helped him get to this point. This book is so necessary and I’m so grateful to Scott for stepping forward for so many people struggling in our present corporate environment with this powerful and helpful book.
I wish he had shared more of how long it took him to get these tools into his actions each and every day—because that’s what we all struggle with. I’d like to know more about his “spiritual practices” he refers to and how long he practiced under what teachers. It’s one thing to understand intellectually where you need to be but another to get it into your body and your breath each day. That’s the “Full Body Yes” he’s talking about — which I talk about as “Self Energy” or this sense of being on top of the wave and feeling all of your parts and them feeling you there holding them with love, a deep knowing that comes from listening and witnessing them, and a deep compassion that has developed from this process. It’s a reciprocal relationship between yourself and all of your parts that make up you — loving deeply and feeling deeply connected. Scott would call this Self Mastery. In the terminology of IFS (or Internal Family Systems Therapy, which is in my toolbox for personal transformation) we would call this Self Leadership. It’s a great way to see it from Scott’s perspective.
He speaks a westernized eastern thought when he says, “When we let go of our victimhood and take responsibility for our life, we put our feel squarely on the path toward freedom. Freedom is an inside job. It is not dependent on our external circumstances. We’re not waiting for someone else to bring us the key. We make our own escape.” (p.159) This is Self-Mastery and it comes from Self-Love.
“MAY I BE HAPPY, MAY I BE PEACEFUL, MAY I BE HEALTHY, MAY I BE FREE” – A Self-love Practice
These phrases from the Loving Kindness Practice, come to mind when I read his book. This practice is one I always teach because it works. It brings in warmth and kindness to your body and heart. I learned it in Insight Meditation, a form of Theravada Buddhism, which has been brought forward to our western minds through Kristin Neff and Chris Germer and others into what is know as Mindful Self-Compassion Practices which I teach in my retreats. We also hear of this compassion practice from great Buddhist teachers like Tara Brach and Sharon Salzberg. When we learn to switch the channel and bring in a positive view of who we are and what we want to create in our lives, we have so much more power of the positive to bring it on and we change the brain in the process. We also awaken parts of us that are hidden or lost from past struggles. We can accept and love it all. We slowly bring these hidden parts forward when we start paying attention to ourselves in a loving, caring and kind way and over time they can be healed and released back into full engagement in our lives.
TAKING ACTION TO CARE FOR OURSELVES IS FIRST STEP TO SELF MASTERY
We have to want to take action to ease our suffering, to be kinder to ourselves, to create Self-Love.
We have to notice that we are not being kind to ourselves, that we are being hard on ourselves in the way that we treat ourselves. It begins with compassion — a sense of noticing, responding with kindness and feeling connection and caring. This is the essence of mindfulness — noticing and being with what is there with compassion and not judgment. Then, the most important step is what Scott calls moving out of the perspective from “life happens to us” to “life happens for us”. He shows that when we change our perspective and see every experience as a chance to grow, to build more capability to love more, this sets us up to win. Winning is his word but I’d call it freedom and peace.
BRINGING COMPASSION FORWARD INTO THE WORLD CAN SHIFT OUR WORLD
Scott talks about practicing “Micro compassions” as the opposite of micro aggressions. We’ve all heard that term from recent writers and researchers on racism. When we don’t pay attention to our own biases, we make micro aggressions against people who are different than us, a subtle form of unconscious racism. When we learn to look internally, into our own bodies first, we can change this behavior and thinking. We can notice and work with our own biases slowly with mindfulness. It’s time to begin to expand that self-love and compassion outwards when we begin to ground it inside deep in our bodies and our hearts. (See The Innerwork of Racial Justice by Rhonda Magee to see how mindfulness can help with this.)
Micro compassions are like lifting someone up, helping someone’s light shine brighter, bringing in goodness and generosity. We can study Buddhism deeper to learn this path better. The Buddha’s Eightfold Path, a path to moral living, is designed specifically to guide us each and every day by having the intention of doing generous acts and practicing mindfulness to see where we need to course-correct.
Learn more about these Self-Compassion Practices and how to shift your perspective by deepening your inner work. This is the focus of my October Retreat: Healing Yourself, Heal the World. at the RMERC near Boulder. Here’s the link to register.