How often do you listen to your body?
Photo by Raychan on Unsplash
I'm guessing you, too, have been bombarded by Black Friday deals an overflowing inbox, and sensory overload at the stores the past week. It's been an active process for me to maintain a level of easeful embodiment as I feel the frenzy of the collective around me.
Over the past 10 weeks in the Golden Stone Wisdom School we’ve been working with practices intended to build more trust and love into our relationships with ourselves, and practicing listening to our bodies, turning towards ourselves to investigate what may be going on.
Our bodies are SO incredibly wise. I’ve been really reveling in this thought lately, allowing myself to be awed by my body. I mean, how incredible is it that when we cut ourselves, our skin magically heals over! And we don’t even have to think about *how* to repair our skin... It just happens!
It really is a miracle when you stop and think about it. And that’s just one example. There are countless things our body is doing for us all day long. What can you think of right now that awes you about your body? Take your eyes away from the screen, and think about this for a moment. Can you find a sense of wonder, admiration, and gratitude for this marvelous, intricate intelligence that is you? Our bodies contain multitudes within them. Their information is always valid, and gives us insight into the current state of our nervous system, our emotional self, our mental and spiritual well-being, and our physical needs. Yet oftentimes, given the distracted, “doing” orientation of most of our lives, especially getting swept up in the frenzy of the Holidays, we tend to live more in our heads, unable to truly hear the signals our body is sending us. So we truly have no idea how we are, really. Or maybe we have a sense, but try to remain somehow “ahead” of, or outsmart our body in some way so we can do all that we want and need to do.
It can be pretty sobering to notice all the ways in which we abandon or betray our bodies on a daily basis. And by “abandon” I mean when we override the body’s messages because we “have” to do something, think we “should” do something, or simply don’t want to slow down, or rest, or feel what is surfacing. So we end up distracting ourselves from feeling, creating that sense of abandonment in what’s really needing our attention. I understand it's not always an option for folks to just rest when their body is asking. But there's always room to cultivate more kindness, curiosity, and compassion when we address our bodies, even in situations where we have to work 2 jobs to feed our family or we're a new Mother and don't have the luxury of rest. There’s a big difference between: Being upset with your body for being tired and not able to do more, and angry at your situation, but not expressing it so you're stewing inwards, and then directing your exasperation at yourself and your feet when they start to ache.
Letting you body know, with love, that you have 3 more hours of work, and you’re sorry you can’t rest right now, and you understand how difficult it is, and "yes, I hear you sweetie, this is so hard, and when we get home I will rub your feet before bed." A big way in which we betray ourselves is simply in how we speak internally to ourselves. It's a great place to start if you are looking to cultivate a foundation of trust and safety for your body. One way to do this is to engage your curiosity as you interact with your body each day. Ask your body and yourself questions. Really check in with yourself and get curious about sensations, emotions, the state of your mind, and ask yourself what you need. And another way to cultivate trust and safety to have strong boundaries for yourself.
Some of the ways I'm practicing this: *When standing in line at the grocery store, resisting the urge to reach for my phone and instead focusing on my breathing, or sensing into my body, noticing what sensations or emotions are present *Trying to keep the boundary of a supportive bedtime for myself *When I notice an emotion or feeling in my body, making space for it to be witnessed and express itself *Whenever I notice I'm being hard on myself, I quickly shift my internal script to compassion, empathy, and kindness *The practice of a morning and evening ritual most days, where I move, meditate, journal, step outside and connect with the fresh air and sunlight, or write gratitudes *Being fierce with my boundaries, knowing how much I can and cannot do in a day, so spacing out friend dates and other social engagements to give myself ample space At this time of year, our bodies ask to really take the lead. The darkness calls for more time with our hands on our hearts, breathing, and being with the internal pulse of our ourselves and our truth. And with the holiday whirlwind upon us, we have extra opportunities to turn towards ourselves with curiosity and care in the midst of stress or busy-ness. What is one thing you can commit to this week? Take such good care of your sweet, lovable, miraculous, sacred body this season.