My friend Sasha was dealing with a lot of stress professionally and in her marriage, and then she found herself having to make decisions about care for her elderly parents. Doing that alone takes so much energy! Sasha had to process her own feelings about the changes in her parents’ life and her relationships, and on top of it, she also had to process a lot of her parents’ anxious energy. It’s no wonder that, by the end of it, she was exhausted. All she wanted to do was lie down for a long nap.
But her judgmental voices were cropping up and shouting that she was isolating herself, that she should be contacting her friends and going out and networking.
Well, yeah, getting support from friends and meeting new people is energizing and healing for an extrovert like Sasha. But her body was saying something else, showing her her physical need to rest and repair. What her judgy voices called “lazy” were actually the guides to her needs. She didn’t have the threshold energy required for going out and meeting people.
We teach ourselves to push on, to ignore what our body is telling us, more so if self-judgment is loud.
Sometimes we have to push on. But the question is whether we do that automatically, or if we take a moment to acknowledge what our body is saying, give ourselves a chance to go beyond the self-judgment and discover what our underlying needs are so we can make conscious choices.
What if instead of turning up the volume on the name-calling, judgy voices we trusted the feelings that come up as points on the roadmap to our well-being?
There will be days when all it takes to nourish ourselves and recover is the very act of taking time to listen to what is coming up. There will be days when we need to make a plan to address the underlying needs sometime later. And there are days when, like Sasha, we just have to take that nap before we step out. But our vital energy will be stronger and, therefore, we will be more capable of feeling peace and joy if we if we pay attention and do that listening.
Since we are here together right now, please accept my invitation to take a quick moment and take a deep, centering breath. And another, on the in-breath, breathing in quiet and centeredness, and on the out-breath releasing distraction and strain. One more breath. Now, check in with your body. You can just ask it what it wants you to pay attention to, or you can do a gentle scan from the top of your head down to your toes, noticing what feelings come up as you go.
- What is your body communicating to you?
- What are the feelings in your body showing you about what you need to attend to, about what could benefit from your attention?
- What can you learn from the feelings in your body?
- What (if anything) do you want to do differently?
Resolve in this moment to pay attention when your body speaks, to listen and learn from the feelings that arise.
And, if it feels right for you, share with me what you learned, if anything surprised you, and whether you think you need to do anything differently or not. You know I love hearing from you!