What your body is trying to tell you

Here is what my body is trying to tell me today:

"Slow down.  Have a soothing hot drink.  Take it easy today because you are tired and I wonder if you might be coming down with something.  Take that book and curl up in the corner of a teashop with it.  Do some asana, please, these muscles are tight and your shoulders are not where they are supposed to be today, why are you holding them up around your ears?  But please could you work in a fluid and gentle way, because this body doesn't feel like jumping through hoops today.  This body feels that it needs to move, to be warm and to loosen up in a very simple and natural way, so can we leave the gymnastics for another day?  And this brain is that unfortunate combination of wired and tired, so perhaps we could do some extra meditation later, just to quieten everything down and perhaps we should turn the radio off... there is more than enough noise in your head already."

I suppose it has taken me a long time to be able to hear the voice of my body and to pay attention to it.  Obviously, there are times when I hear it and ignore it and there are times when I don't listen at all, because I know that what it will be telling me is something that I do not want to hear/am not ready to hear.  Looking around me, I think I see a lot of people who live most of life ignoring the calls of their body when it wants to be cared for, when it wants to be allowed to heal.

Pain is an indicator that there is something wrong with the way that you are living, moving or thinking (all three?).  Pop a pill if you like.  Carry on regardless if you like.  Deny it, or ignore it, or pretend it isn't there.  Or you could pay attention.  You could listen.  You could care for yourself as you would care for your dearest love.

I remember feeling so much pressure to Get Stuff Done after the birth of my first child; I bludgeoned myself with mean thoughts about how little I was achieving in my day.  Looking back from the vantage point of 11 years of motherhood, I see how hard it was to do anything at all on a few hours sleep a night, whilst going through the biggest life-change that I had ever experienced.  I would like to go back in time and give myself a hug, make me a nice warm, milky drink and bring me a magazine to mindlessly flick through while I had a little sit down.

Of course, if you feel that your body is telling you to kick back, crack open a beer, smoke a cigarette and eat some more chocolate all the time, then it could be that you are listening to the wrong voice.  Don't fool yourself into thinking that listening to your body's voice is a way of constantly letting yourself of the hook.  Your body needs to move and be still, to be stimulated and to be encouraged to relax, to stretch and be open and to curl up and be hugged.  It needs all of this and more and sometimes you'll need a little self-discipline to respond appropriately to what your body is telling you. 

Choose well so that you can live well.  Accept yourself as yourself, whoever you are right now, in this moment and seek to stay free of cumbersome and intransigent ways of being.  Some days are for climbing mountains and some are for strolls through the woods and both are good... and there is an order to it, even if you don't know it. 

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