My body has always spoken to me. It just took me a long time to understand what it was saying.
When I was younger I was fortunate enough to go to summer camp. During the week we did crafts and took lessons. At the end of each week was a big social event, a dance, or an awards ceremony. This was the event that all the campers anticipated. Throughout the years at a series of camps, I CONSISTENTLY had a 100 degree fever on the evening of the big event. The funny thing was I usually was not upset about missing the event. The truth was large crowds made me uncomfortable. I thoroughly enjoyed the one to one contact during the week, but being in a big social group was not my thing. My thought was that I was deficient in some manner because I would prefer not to participate. So my body helped me to be true to myself and provided me with a way to avoid a situation that was unappealing to me. The day after the event the fever was gone and I was content and happy.
During high school and college I worked constantly at my school work, at theatre, and at my jobs. Without fail when we had spring or winter break, I always developed a debilitating cold. Instead of working at the shopping mall or reading up for the next semester, I was down for the count. My body and mind were worn out. My thought was that I needed to keep working, even when everyone else was taking a break, so my body shut down and I was forced to relax and recharge. My body forced me to get what I truly needed.
In my 30’s my body’s voice became stronger and more insistent. From outward appearances my life was terrific. I had a good job with a reputable corporation. I’d also just married, taking on the role of the suburban housewife. Life was picture perfect. But it was a picture perfect life for someone else. I wanted the stability of the corporate paycheck, but the politics, daily functions, and finances-first focus of the company attacked my soul. I absolutely loved my husband, but the role of wife I assumed necessary was inconsistent with who I truly was. So my body attacked. It started out subtle then got louder and louder with each symptom. My thought was that I had to be the good corporate employee and I had to change my persona to fit the description of “wife.” My body knew better. My body was desperately screamed at me, “be yourself, be true to yourself.”
Whenever we have a headache, backache, or stomachache, our knee-jerk reaction is to grab for a pill or surgery to relieve our pain. But what if we stopped and first investigated where the pain is coming from. Yes, sometimes a stomachache is just some bad chow mein. But if your stomach constantly hurts after the quarterly meeting, Thanksgiving with the in-laws, or the PTA meeting, it may be a sign that something is off in your daily life.
More times than not my personal history had shown that my disease was not a medical condition, but actually dis–ease with my life. Dis-ease occurs when our minds and our thoughts mislead us from what is true and instead reflect what society tells us should be or what we should do. Unfortunately reflecting what “should be” is often counter to what we are really meant to do. Stop and listen to your body. The body is in touch with your essential self, with your true self. The first step to peace and well-being is to start listening to your body and your true needs.
The first homework I often give to my clients may sound unusual, but it is for them to do absolutely nothing. To carve out time every day to turn off their minds, turn off their to-do’s, turn off their thoughts, and just BE. This often proves to be the most difficult assignment. We are all so used to being on the go. We are used to checking off our daily to-do list. We are used to answering a myriad of phone calls, emails, and “mom come here.” Taking 15 minutes, a quarter of an hour, one-percent of a day’s minutes to focus on ourselves is a huge shift. No music, no television, no computers, no outside stimulus. Just be. Just feel the wind on your face. Just breathe. Relax your muscles. Relax your mind. Clear your thoughts. Listen to your heartbeat. Listen to your body.
I challenge you to take 15 minutes to do nothing each day. See if you do not begin to hear the voice of your body, of your true being. See if your physical ailments don’t seem to disappear in the time that you spend unplugged. Spend a week getting back in touch with your body and your true self, and see if you begin to hear your true voice of desire. Our bodies are speaking to us. Are you listening?