When Your Body Speaks, Listen

November 18, 2011

From the time I was a child, one of my gifts (or curses) was that my body talked to me. Not literally, of course, but in subtle sensations that brought my focus to where it needed to be. I have always been hyper-attuned to it, and while I would often pay attention and give it the care it needed, there were times when I would try to push these messages away. I went through a period in my 30’s and 40’s where these sensations would terrify me and my mind would offer up all kinds of terrible scenarios – the big C of course being front and center. I have learned a lot over the past few years about how the mind and body are inextricably connected. Coupled with my own strong intuition, I have come to realize that my body has been my greatest teacher in this lifetime.

The body knows and we need to respect this. If we are particularly connected, we may not even physically feel anything – we just know. The important thing that we have to realize is that this is not just about putting a bandaid on or taking a pill that seemingly fixes the problem. Almost always, there’s a deeper underlying issue.

Having fibromyalgia was perhaps my biggest message – more like a blaring siren, that I needed to take care of some big imbalances in my life. I had ignored all the other symptoms, now my body was threatening to shut down, go on strike. What did I learn from six years of debilitating pain? Well, there are too many things to list here (stay tuned for the book) – but I will say that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It woke me up, it shook me up, and it made me take a hard look at myself and at my life. It changed me. Yup, the pain was worth it. I survived and am stronger for it today.

I really thought my recovery from fibromyalgia was the defining moment and that I was home free. Ha! We are humans living in these bodies and old patterns (some from past lives) die hard. So, two years ago when I had whooping cough and came pretty close to leaving this planet, I remember thinking “Really??? Again??? What is my body teaching me NOW?”

While recovering from this illness, I learned that the lungs are a repository for grief and that unprocessed grief can lead to all kinds of sickness. (You can read more about the heart and lung connection to grief here.) Months later, an acupuncturist told me that my body still held so much grief that it was “in my bones.” This would have terrified most people but I remember calmly asking what I could do to release it. After all, I didn’t even feel sad. Without answering me, she inserted a completely painless needle in the area of my lungs and within seconds I felt as though a tsunami was rising inside of me. Tears began to pour out and I sobbed uncontrollably for a good ten minutes. She was a powerful healer but it was just a start. The rest was up to me.

It took my lungs a full year to recover and you better believe I have a whole new respect for them. When they talk to me now, I listen!

One way I process what my body is ‘saying’ is to journal, journal, journal. That’s the mantra of my energy medicine teacher, Deborah King. There’s no better medicine to draw out buried emotions lurking in the body and threatening illness. Writing our thoughts down, no matter how horrible they seem, literally releases them from our cells. If the thought of someone finding your journal prevents you from writing the truth, use a password-protected journaling program on your computer. Don’t censor. Let it all out. Truth Heals is the title of Deborah’s first book and it’s a great place to start to learn about how the truth can set you free and keep you healthy.

  1. Good for you, you Shining Star Survivor! I could also say that my MS diagnosis in 1986 (of which there is no evidence today, thank you very much!) woke me up to pay closer attention to my body’s whispers before they became screams, although I’m not sure I could say it as eloquently as you did, my friend. What a great article!

  2. Hi Barbara, Great issue. You are such a good writer! I have regretted that I never developed the habit of keeping a journal. And maybe one of the reasons has been the fear that it may be read someday and people would know the awful truth about my weaknesses, regrets and anxieties. I have had a computer for more than twenty years and it has never occurred to me that it is the perfect repository for my private thoughts. I know from experience that age is irrelevant when it comes to starting something new. So here goes. You are becoming a real sage and I am blessed to have you as a friend. Much love. Anne

  3. Thanks, Anne! I like Memoires for Mac http://www.codingrobots.com/memoires/. They have an app for your iPad, too. Hope I get to see you in December. Love you!

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