“Your body is the ground metaphor of your life, the expression of your existence. It is your Bible, your encyclopedia, your life story.”
Are you listening to your body? Do you seek its advice? How to you respond to its fatigue, aliveness, tenseness, or its desire to move or be still?
Your body accompanies you throughout life, being present for both your birth and your death. That makes it the most complete and intimate record of what you have done, what you have felt, whom you have loved, who has caused you anger or pain, and what has brought you joy. Is it any wonder it wants to talk with you?
Too often we decide to change our lives without consulting our bodies. We take stressful office jobs and develop back pain.
We tackle an arduous home remodeling job only to recall that we aren’t as nimble, strong or flexible as we once were.
We get by on five hours of sleep a night and fall victim to a string of illnesses.
If asked, your body might give you valuable guidance. For example:
What career should I pursue? you ask.
I like being outdoors and moving about, your body says. Find something that allows us to do that.
How do you feel when I get up at 4:30 every morning? you ask.
Our ability to make decisions is impaired, your body responds.¬† That’s important to know, right?
What do you think of this new guy I’m dating? you ask.
When we are with him, I feel relaxed, energized and happy, your body responds.
By conversing in this way and by acknowledging what you hear, you and your body become the intimate friends you were designed to be. ¬†Find out for yourself.
Pause periodically during the day. Notice how your body feels. Do you sense pain, fatigue, tenseness–signs you need to rest? Or do you feel the aliveness and joy you desire?
Start a conversation with your body or part of your body that is calling for your attention. Perhaps that is a lower back pain, a headache or simply a feeling of constriction. Ask a simple question like “What is going on?” Or “What do you need?”
End your day with gratitude. Reflect on all you have done today. What contribution did your body make? Thank it for allowing you to participate in life.
Gabrielle Roth, American dancer and musician, regards the body as a sacred text with a storehouse of memories, wisdom, gifts and personal history. Read it with reverence, consult it with respect, and trust where it leads you.