Learn to Listen

Your Body is Trying to Tell You Something

I had a conversation today, that brought up something I consider complete and absolute fact. And yet, I realize that it was a completely new idea to me some years ago, and maybe it is for you too. Or, if it’s not, maybe you’re reading this because you need the reminder!

Our bodies carry our wisdom, our knowledge, our certainty.
Our bodies communicate to us constantly all day, every day.

I don’t just mean, telling you when it’s time to refuel, or to discharge waste, or to rest up. I mean emotionally. You know this. Any time you get scared, angry, tense. Any time someone says something hurtful or upsetting, we take that on and hold it physically in our bodies. Maybe your stomach clenches in a knot, your shoulders tense up, your neck is tight, you grind your teeth, your chest is concaved and you find it hard to put your shoulders back and take a deep breath. Maybe you constantly get tension headaches. Whatever it is, it’s there because something in our life disagrees with us (and I mean this in the same way that a food might “disagree” with you).

When there is something in our life that is not aligned or true or congruent to our spirit, our soul, our nature, our core essence and beliefs, our body tells us. If we don’t listen to our bodies, and we stay in a situation or around people like this for a long time, we don’t give ourselves the break we need. We get used to the tension in our physical environment, maybe our workplace setting or our home life or relationship, and we get used to the physical tension in our bodies.

Even sleeping at 3402m, our bodies keep us awake because of the lack of oxygen.
“Um, hellooooo, don’t go to sleep, you need to breathe!” It takes a while to adjust.

Here’s where that turns into a really bad game of dominoes in our body:
Our bodies naturally heal themselves. Any time we get a cut or a bruise, our body sends its team of white blood cells, extra oxygen, etc, to heal itself. No problemo! You exercise a little hard and need to recuperate? No probs, your body tells you it’s sore and tired, you rest for a day, and your body repairs the muscles that you literally just tore apart in your workout. Our bodies are amazing, wonderful machines that communicate with us day in and day out, and rebuild as we respect this super cool vessel that carries us through life.

Buttttt…. when we DON’T listen to the cues our body gives us about our surroundings, when we hold emotional tensions in our body and don’t clear those emotions, and don’t remove ourselves from mentally draining circumstances, our body has a really hard time doing its job. Even just the not-so-simple task of digestion requires us to be in a parasympathetic nervous state: relaxed. Calm. Not in fight/flight/freeze mode. Right? So if we’re scarfing down a sandwich on the go, barely chewing, that doesn’t give our body a chance to produce the enzymes that can properly break down the food we just ate. Plus, the act of chewing is probably the most important step in breaking down our food into manageable bits! Our saliva already begins to break down carbohydrates in our mouth… so just take a deep breath, be thankful you have food to eat, chew, chew, swallow. Chew, chew swallow. There. Your digestion is already better and you already have your secret weapon to absorbing more nutrients.

But who has time to think about eating mindfully, when your mind is racing about your crazy boss/ partner/ landlord/ family member, or beating yourself up about what you said or did last night or five minutes ago, or I really don’t wanna answer that call and man, why did I stay up all night scrolling I’m so exhausted and really need to sleep.

And so, with these situations piling up around you, and the tensions and stress piling up on your body like the whole weight of the world is on you, your body can’t really do its job anymore. It presents to you LOUD symptoms, since you didn’t listen to it earlier. You didn’t change your life then, maybe if it gets your attention NOW, you’ll HAVE to do something.

At least, that’s been my experience.

The health of my physical body has proven to be a reflection of the health of my mental and emotional body. Listening to the painful shouts of my body, beginning to learn to take care of it, has had dramatic effects on my mental health and emotional well-being. Once I got to a point where I could focus on my mental health more, my physical health got better too. I now see them as inseparable. Regular, routine exercise is one of the best ways to keep an autoimmune disease like Graves’ at bay, so I ran. I followed a running schedule, my body got better, and my mental health got better. And I learned to listen to my body more, and to fuel it with whole, fresh foods.

(This image is from my grueling first-ever half-marathon, on Green Island. October 2015)

Of course, Reiki helps a lot too. It clears the energetic blocks, to help the chi/ qi flow clearly. Sometimes it’s the kickstart some of us need, to put the brakes on the self-destructive downwards spiral, and get the healing cycle started up again. If you want to give it a try, I welcome you to reach out, either to me for distance Reiki, or to a practitioner you know and trust. If you want to talk through some of the things that come up for you, I’m here. Reach out. Listen to the wisdom of your body. Be well!

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