Living from the Neck Up

Living from the Neck Up


Intelligence is a true gift. The ability to view a situation rationally and with clarity is a key part of maturing and dealing with issues in life.

But in therapy, I often find myself working with people dealing with issues where what they know doesn’t seem to heal what they feel. And so they feel torn, conflicted, and confused: Why is it that I can know something rationally, but the rest of me doesn’t feel any peace?  

This is where I find it really meaningful to help people learn to start living in their whole selves, and not just living from the neck up. Sure, the mind is crucial in many processes, but sometimes the wisdom or healing we are looking for is not in our minds, but is in our bodies, in our gut and intuition. If only we would take a moment to be there.

Sometimes, I’ll work with someone struggling with a relationship or family issue and they will be in a deeply philosophical place, trying to just figure it all out. I’ll ask if we can take a pause, to slowly see what is happening in their body too. What’s happening in their body as all these thoughts are going through their mind?  Are there places where they are feeling the tension? Is there an intuition they can tap into– not just about what they think they want, but about what they really need in this moment.  Needs and wants are not the same thing.  It’s amazing the kinds of revelations that become clear when the full self gets invited in to life.

There can be some confusion for people about the difference between emotions and intuition; they are not the same thing. I believe that emotions are often loud, their commands being almost unavoidable and hard to ignore.  Emotions are intense and often want instant gratification.  But intuition is typically a quieter voice, one that is wise and guiding but cannot be heard unless we slow down to hear what it has to say.   I don’t believe intuition is driven by the ego; on the contrary, I find that it has a more balanced self-concept.

As people start to get to know what their intuition sounds like and what it is telling them, they start to feel more centered and peaceful in the choices– both big and small– that they make on a daily basis.   They feel less like they need to crowd-source and can take others’ advice into consideration while balancing it with their own inner sense of what they may need. And perhaps most of all, as they no longer live from the neck up and can get out of their heads, and they can start to feel more joy with their whole being.