Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is about physical skill and grounding in the world. The lens for “centeredness” is the body’s sense of capability, a non-verbal kind of intelligence that characteristic of everything from dance to fishing to play on an intramural field. Often times we translate bodily kinesthetic trust in terms of physical teamwork and skill as part of a sport; trust, for example, that when I throw the ball you will run to the spot where you can catch and we’ll both “win” because of the touchdown. But bodily kinesthetic trust can be measured in other ways. There are “ropes courses,” for instance, that ask people to engage in risky physical activity, such as climbing a pole or jumping off a cliff as analogies for the trust that must happen in a workgroup. People participate as a team in the ropes course; then learn about themselves and their relationships from their behavior handling these “tasks.” In any given group, the fear of “the pole” or “the jump” may be very higher for some people than for others. This sense of comfort or fear in another way to define bodily kinesthetic trust.
If your intelligence preference is bodily kinesthetic, you might prepare to reach by using your favorite physical activity as a tool to explore your trust-building endeavor. In this case, as an example, we’ll use golf.
1. Actually go to a course. Perform any “ritual,” such as spend time on the practice green or driving range, just as you usually do. Imagine, however, that this time, the “game” is about building trust with someone you want to reach out to. Play the round, imagining that each hole represents the challenge of getting centered, crossing the trust divide with this person, and finishing with a ball in the cup – a better relationship. Stay present as you play.
2. Divorce yourself from any sense that you must win or lose the game; be better or worse. Keep in mind that what you are playing for is only the satisfaction of playing. But as you shoot, locate your ball and shoot again, use the experience to notice what you must let go of in order to play well. Can you play a “selfless” round? Can you play without being concerned for the score?
3. As you keep playing imagine that the person you want to build trust with is there beside you, your partner. How do you envision that person might critique your game? How would you critique his or hers? Flip to the other side and think about how you might actively appreciate the other person’s play, transferring that internal conversation about golf to the realities of your relationship. Does the other person laugh at your mistakes? Does he/she stay calm, even in “in the rough”? What analogies does your golf game offer you to the relationship you’d like to improve and what’s your vision of how you might play better together? As you do this, actively comment to yourself about how you’d like to improve, both in golf and in life.
4. When you are done with your round, spend some time imagining the conversation in which you actively reach out to build trust. What key messages, using the vocabulary of golf, can you use to get the conversation started. What “truth” about the game, and about your partnership, do you need to share? What do you need to say about your own game and how it has contributed to problems in the partnership? What advice on your own “swing” would you like to ask for? What do you want to appreciate and congratulate the other person about as part of his or her play?
5. Thinking about the days when it does not go well – in golf or in the relationship – what will be your strategy to replay the round? What will prevent you from “turning in your clubs” and keep going, even after an awful round?
Links to the other intelligences exercises:
• Verbal Linguistic
• Logical Mathematical
• Visual Spatial