Hips are my Achilles heel. The place where imbalances, misuse and conditioning all come together to form a perfect storm of discomfort, stiffness and pain. Recently, while noticing how clenched one of my hips was, I caught myself saying to myself; “I don’t need that level of effort to hold myself up.” The thought stopped me. And while I was talking to and about my musculature, it also served to reference a way of how I am in the world. As in all of the ways where I do more than my share, and then clench against the effort. The ways where I tighten up against what another is doing. Or not doing.

We all do it. “It” being the way we clamp down, tighten, stiffen, and over-effort. All of the ways that our bodies express and hold the tightness that our minds cannot seem to let go of. And while it is so very easy to be annoyed and frustrated by what the body is dishing up, it literally holds a truth the mind is just not capable of. But to know this takes practice and patience. It takes more than anything else perhaps, a willingness to want to know. To move beyond the inconvenience and the conditioning. To move even beyond the places where you feel like you do not know enough, or aren’t capable of this level of communication with your very own body.

So, next time some part of your body is sending out a strong signal of pain or imbalance, could you carve out some time, as soon as is possible, to be with your body for a few brief moments? Maybe it is in the bathroom at work, or right before you fall asleep, or sitting in traffic. Slow your breathing. Feel what your body is supported by. Then say, “If this part of me could speak, it would say…” And then really, really listen.

Do you hear anything being spoken by your body that in any way describes how you are doing? Or what you are up against? Some larger theme in your life? Where you are stuck? A place where you just can’t let go or move on? An effort that needs to be put down? A fight that cannot be won?

The body is a messenger, and as the old saying goes “Don’t shoot the messenger.” How about if we took this one step further? How about if we wholeheartedly embraced the messenger? Especially when we found the message to be impossible to bear.