Our bodies communicate with us all the time. They tell us when to put on a sweater, when to sit down, that we itch. They tell us when we’re full, when we need love, when we want to leave the party. The problem is this: as candid as our bodies are with us, they are nothing compared to how good our minds are at avoidance and escape.
I’m really great at avoiding the issue. I tend to flee the moment when I feel threatened or uncomfortable. Unsurprisingly, this leads only to the same problem weeks later. But, I’ve discovered the key for my body, and it is two things. One? To acknowledge everything. Everything related to my body. That kink in my neck, the way my feet are crossed at the ankles, the running-clock in my head that’s counting down an hour until I have to go to yoga, the slight scratch in my throat that is making my voice temporarily huskier than usual.
Two? To every acknowledgement I have, say “thank you, and?”
For example, today, I made a colorful, sweet-smelling lunch of sweet potatoes, rice, and kale. When I started making it, I was hungry, so I snacked on crackers and hummus while the sweet potatoes were baking in the oven. Twenty minutes later, when my lunch was done, I made my plate but then realized I was not hungry anymore.
A year ago, I would have eaten it anyway. It was beautiful, it was bound to be delicious, and I craved that great feeling that tasting something new gave me. But now, I’ve practiced acknowledging everything so much that the sound of my body telling me it was full was louder than the sound of my mind saying it would make me feel good to taste something delicious. And as I heard my body saying “I’m full,” I was constantly saying back, “thank you, and?” This helped me to also hear the little woohoo! my entire self said as I put the plate in my fridge for later. This time I listened to by body instead of my mind. Woohoo!
The second step helps me to hear myself more clearly, so it’s not just a constant stream of thoughts and feelings that my body is pushing at me. It’s a conversation, and because I am involved, I can hear.
After that, it’s up to me to listen.
By Fae Leslie Hoffman; All Rights Reserved @2019