Giraffe & Jackal Gestures
Your body is talking every minute of the day.It expresses your beliefs, emotions, needs, and attitudes.This is the talk that you respond to most in others, whether you do it consciously or subconsciously.
Creating connection in communication means making the subconscious conscious – becoming mindful of your body, emotions, needs, beliefs, and thoughts.
If you and I are having a conflict, and your body assumes the jackal* gesture of arms and legs crossed and head turned slightly away, I might perceive that you are not open to resolving our conflict.On the other hand, if you hold that posture and speak to it directly, for example, “I am sitting like this because I feel scared and angry, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to resolve this with you”, I will immediately soften and experience more connection with you.
When you are ready for more connection, you can consciously engage giraffe** gestures.For example, you turn towards me, make more eye contact, let your arms open and relax on your lap or at your sides, and breath deep into your belly.
Sometimes directing yourself to engage in these behaviors before you feel connected can help you get connected.
This is especially true when working with your own inner jackals.Depression, guilt, and shame have their telltale jackal gestures:eyes down, head down, shoulders rounded caving in the chest (depleting you of oxygen), body moving slow, leaning to one side, eyes staring and unfocused, etc.
The simple giraffe gesture of looking up and around to take in the sky and the world around you begins to create connection.Consciously pulling your shoulders back and opening your chest and heart charka allows oxygen and energy to flow more freely.Standing straight and tall sends an undeniable message to your system that you are worthy.
This week notice what your body is communicating.Is it communicating your intention to experience connection to life?Is it letting you know that jackals are talking and asking for your attention?It might be helpful to take on one giraffe gesture as mindfulness task.For example, this week I am focusing on looking up and around every time I step outside or sit in front of a window.
*jackals refer to any language or thoughts that disconnect us from life.
**giraffe refers to shifting into an interest in connecting to the feelings and needs in yourself and others.
***click here for a list of feelings and universal needs