Your Body Gives You Clues
to Clutter and Joy


"I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance."

Lee Ann Womack
I Hope You Dance


I was in my car the other day, running a few errands, when the song "Wide Open Spaces" by Dixie Chicks came on the radio. 

Completely without warning, I started crying, tears streaming down my face. 

I was indescribably, unexpectedly, completely happy...and my body was letting me know it. 

I wanted to hug the whole world. 

Music often does that to me. 

And it’s usually a song about growing, stretching, making big mistakes and learning from them, and living full out. 

For me, the joy comes out in tears and in feeling like my body is expanding and expanding and expanding like a big balloon full of happiness. 

Here is a short list of my very favorites (these songs are guaranteed to move me to happy tears every single time): 


  • "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack
  • "True Colors" by Phil Collins
  • "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw
  • "Unwritten" by Natashia Beddingfield
  • "Thank You" by Natalie Merchant
  • "Say What You Need to Say" by John Mayer
  • And now one of my new favorites, "Wide Open Spaces" by Dixie Chicks

So what moves you to tears? What lights you up from the inside out, and makes you feel like your body can’t even contain the joy so it has to come out somehow - by dancing or singing or giving your kids a big hug? 

This feeling is joy

Your body knows it, and gives you big clues. 

Your body also knows when something does not bring you joy. 

In my world, I call that stuff clutter. 

And your body reacts by contracting in some feeling tighter, your breathing might get shallower, or you may even feel like you’re shrinking or getting shorter. 

If you want to try it, just think of something, or someone, or some situation that you know is not good for you. Flood your mind with thoughts of whatever came to mind, and notice what happens to your body. 

Where do you feel the constriction? Your throat, your chest, your heart, your stomach? 

Notice how that feels. It may be subtle at first, especially if you’re not used to paying attention to cues from your body. 

And start noticing when your body expands in joy (these things are keepers in your life) and when your body starts contracting in 'not joy' (might be time to let these things go). 

It truly can be that simple.