Learning The Language Of Your Body
If you want to self-heal, you will first need to know how to listen to the guidance of your body. No doctor knows more about how to heal you and keep you well than your own healing intelligence. Your body generally provides this guidance through flashes of inspiration throughout the day. These can be sparked by something you read or see, a conversation with someone, or even a recurrent thought you might have. Your body also sends direct messages in the form of symptoms and sensations.
There are so many ways to be with the information your body is giving you. For instance, you can ignore a sensation or a recent change, denying what it is you are experiencing. You can drop into the grips of fear as you imagine worst-case scenarios. You can choose to medicate yourself with all kinds of things from food to pharmaceuticals so that you don’t have to feel what you’re feeling.
Or, you can be willing to learn the language of your own body. In order to do this, you must be willing to recognize the intelligence that resides within it. This includes seeing the symptoms and the sensations of your body as an essential language — communications that offer you important information about your life. This is vastly different from seeing symptoms and sensations as beyond you, inconvenient, or as punishment and evidence of wrongdoing.
Learning how to choose to stay in your body and hear what it has to say, no matter what, means allowing yourself to be wherever you are with the symptoms, physical states and sensations that are present. It requires, first and foremost, that you are actually in your body. Otherwise, how will you accurately decipher the messages it is sending you?
Too often our bodies are in one place and our minds in another. This shows up when we go through our days with barely a nod to basic needs like hunger, thirst, and elimination, acting as if these basic urges are inconveniences. Split in this way, we live separate from ourselves and from the very body that is offering us a way to be here and experience the living of our lives.
Take a long, deep breath and ask yourself “What am I feeling right now in my body?” Pay attention to things like the body parts involved and the quality of the sensations. Forget about trying to fix it or even figure it out. This is not about imposing worries or preconceived ideas on top of what is happening; it is about allowing the body the right to express what it is expressing while you listen as deeply as you can.
Once you’re truly present in your body, you have access to a language that is different from the thoughts, beliefs and conditioning of the rational mind. This language is a continuous stream of information in the form of urges, needs, sensations, states and symptoms that speak to you every moment of every day. Taken together, they offer the framework of a necessary and adaptive approach to life that allows you to adjust, stop, do something, not do something, know something, survive, and ultimately thrive. These are not messages that you want to ignore or medicate away.
This one simple practice can help you begin to build a framework based on the reality of the signs and signals of your body, as opposed to the fears, the worries, the Internet searches and the tyrannies of a mind that just can’t stop itself from generating a disconnected and disturbed relationship to the body.
Let the mind be. When you turn your attention to what is actually happening in your body, you give yourself the gift of being with yourself as is. Listen and observe carefully, while trusting the messages you receive are from your deepest intelligence that knows more about how to keep you healthy than all the medical diagnostics in the world. From there you will know exactly how to proceed.
Susan McNamara is a woman who cares deeply about how we are living and how it is that we treat ourselves, each other, and the planet. She is the founder of The Healer Within: A Unique Online Health & Healing Community for Women and the author of the book, Trusting Your Body: The Embodied Journey of Claiming Sacred Responsibility for Your Health & Well-Being. Contact her at Susan@rememberingwhatmattersmost.com or visit Rememberingwhatmattersmost.com.