Maybe I Don’t Always Need This

Our bodies reflect our inner worlds of thought patterns, beliefs and stress-levels. This is easy to observe in the extremes, like with the Type A personality. These characters tend to be driven, overworked, easy to frustration and anger. Dominated by these work patterns and hot emotions they are often disconnected from matters of the heart. Not surprisingly it is this type most likely to suffer a heart attack. Think about that… an “attack of the heart.” Who’s doing the attacking here? The heart, or the Type A approach to life?

Beyond the extremes, we can look to health and body patterns that habitually show up to cue us into what is truly happening on the inside. Plagued by hamstrings that have refused to heal, I am working with a practitioner to get to the root cause of the strain. When I began, I was imagining a physical remedy. By far, though, the leading edge of this process has been how the pattern in my body is reflecting longstanding ways of holding myself emotionally.

I lock my knees. It makes me feel solid, strong and stable; something I really needed growing up so I didn’t get knocked over physically or emotionally. I didn’t realize I was doing this and I didn’t realize how much of my internal world was bound up in this. I am being guided by the woman I am working with to wonder whether or not I always need this lock down. It seems like sometimes it might be important to get really stiff and sturdy. But it also seems like that tension is coming at the expense of spontaneity, fluidity and freedom. And not just in my body, but in my whole life! And that is how it works.  Despite what science in the West would say, the mind and the body are not separate, never have been. They are parts of one whole so deeply interwoven that to deny this is to deny the truth of who we are and what we experience.

Try this: Notice one place in your body where you habitually hold tension. Be with it without trying to make it go away or be different. It is there for a reason. Without even needing to know the reason ponder the following; “Maybe I don’t always need this.” Try it. Open to what is possible when you make room for something else to be there. Notice what happens, not just in the body but everywhere in you.

P.S. To sidestep the Type A in all of us, practice doing this with a light heart. Aaaaah.

 

Inspired by The Alexander Technique.

What Does The Body Say?

When my children were young, but old enough to venture out in the world beyond my reach, I knew I had to teach them something they could carry with them wherever they went. Something that would help them stand in the face of too many choices and too many life-depleting options. So, when they were old enough to know dessert was being offered at a party and ask me for it, I would ask them, “What does your body say?”

Many of us take care of our bodies based on what the mind wants and says. And too many of us respond to our bodies based on what others have told us, or how we have been brainwashed to believe what our bodies should look like and feel like. The body speaks a different language than the mind. It does not care that the meeting you are in makes it inconvenient to have a need like, thirst, hunger or elimination. The body knows nothing about the mind’s decision to be model thin. And it cares not for your decision to sit in front of a screen for hours despite it’s protests. The body needs what it needs when it needs it.

How might your life change if you began checking in with your body, asking its opinion around the choices you are making. Might you eat differently? Go to bed when you are tired? Slow down? Learn to say “no”? Notice that the way you medicate yourself is making you sick? The wholeness that we all yearn for must include the body in all that we do. Can you imagine beginning again, like a small child? Starting over in a way that recognizes your most basic and fundamental needs and actually responding to them? In other words, “What does your body say?”