Why do you have a body?
Most people have never pondered this. Or, if they have, it's more of the curse of the body than the gift. What if you have a body to have fun and enjoy living?
Now that may seem blasphemous, but I invite you to play with that question for a while. What fun can I have with my body? What if my body could be fun? Does my body want to contribute anything to me?
If you feel like a crazy person asking these questions or talking to your body for the first time - that's okay! Keep going! This reality totally excludes the body and it's desires in so many ways. In fact, some teachings even believe the body is a sin! So you can see how we got all these ideas about how our body must be this terrible, torturous thing to lug around.
Your body is a sensate, sensorial organism and it's always talking to you. When you can start to have a greater communication with it, it makes your life a lot easier. Again I invite you to another possibility. Would you like to live in a world where everyone loved and appreciated their bodies? Or do you want to continue to live in the current reality, where bodies are judged heavily and ignored for the most part?
If you haven’t been communicating with your body for YEARS, you probably have a very solid system of not listening in place. It takes time to build the muscle of listening, communicating, and trusting. It's all part of the choices you have. The more you have a conversation with your body, the more you have open communication with your body you can have. Use your awareness about what it's telling you, and you will have an easier time.
If are looking for something different, I have good news - it's here! Below are my favorite 6 tools to start being friends with your body. (PS - My business partner Kim Lucien and I discussed this on our podcast, The Misfit Squad. You can listen to the full episode HERE).
Be aware that feelings are perceiving by touch and sensations are the signals that your body is giving you
What really is a feeling? In our world we always say “I feel sad, I feel mad” or you know, we use that a lot. “I feel…” We’ve been taught backwards our whole lives. Sensations are physical signals indicating what your body is experiencing. Feelings come from our head, from our mind - they’re our emotions. We've been taught to emote and have these emotions, so “I feel sad, Ifeel happy, I feel mad.” Those are adjectives that come from your brain and from your thinking. To clarify, feelings are the function or the power of perceiving by touch. So it's like how you feel yourself sitting on a rock and feel the touch of the rock on your body and you're like oh that hurts, something's poking me in the butt - that is a feeling.
Sensations are actually physical signals indicating what your body is experiencing. To use the butt on the rock example, the feeling is the information of the hardness of the rock against the body. The sensation is all of the muscles, tissues, and the nerve endings firing.
Sensations are typically a non verbal expression of your emotional state. Though it's not you saying “I'm sad,” it's actually what's almost going on inside of your body. You could be think or say, “Oh I just feel like my back hurts,” which is describing a feeling, whereas if you were to actually put your awareness to the spot that “hurts,” what are the sensations you're actually experiencing? Is it pulling? Is it tight? Is it pulsing? Is it a dull pain? Exactly what does it feel like? Does it feel like it’s on fire, or someone's rubbing and pulling on your skin? Those are the sensations and that's the way that your body communicates with you.
Ask questions instead of concluding what the sensation is
Often when we get a headache or a stomach ache, we immediately think, “Oh no, I have a head ache.” That locks it in, you align and agree with the idea of “I have a head ache,” or you start resisting it. That locks it into your body as solid and real and that it is “your” head ache, or “your head aches.” Versus, “Hey this is a message coming through from my body. What is my body telling me?” To get out of constant pain and to start enjoying your body, when you start experiencing something that you would call pain, ask your body, “Okay body, what are we aware of here?”
When you start asking questions, it invites more awareness about the sensations. And, that doesn’t mean the sensations will just immediately go away (all of the time). Sometimes that does happen - you ask the question, you realize, ‘Oh, I have a headache because I’m thirsty.” and the sensation disappears. Sometimes you’re very aware of the people around you and you realize that they have a headache and your body is picking up on it. You can acknowledge the awareness, and it may still be there. It might not go away. But, it doesn’t hurt, and you can have ease with it, and you’re not thinking over and over again, “I have a headache. It hurts,” which just locks it in. Then it doesn’t bother you as much - it’s not pain.
Ask “Is it mine?”
If you are an empath or an empathetic person, you are probably walking around being very aware of everyone around you and thinking it’s yours. If you’re an introvert or someone on the spectrum, they're super super super aware! So many times you're walking around and then you get an awareness of something, and it's not even yours in the first place.
Has there been a time where you have been walking around and everything is fine, nothing hurts, it's just like normal, and then suddenly you're “Ow! My stomach!” You've just come in the area of someone who has having a stomach issue and your body is telling you that that'snot yours. In that circumstance, there's a 99.9% chance that that wasn't yours! This can happen with emotions too. They might be really upset and angry, and they've contracted, and so it's showing up in their stomach. Ask, "Is this mine?" If it lightens up and goes away, it was never even yours.
Be aware when your body doesn’t want to eat something
We so often ignore our body and what it would like to eat - after all, it’s the one eating! Sometimes ignoring our body’s requests for certain foods (or constantly eating whatever we want, even though we feel crappy after or have gas or pain) contributes to these unpleasant sensations we’re experiencing. It also does not contribute to building a relationship of trust with your body. We’re not saying you have to suddenly eat only vegetables - we’re just saying one area you could ask more questions in to create this conversation with your body is what you’re eating.
The connection exercise
You can listen to the full exercise in the podcast I linked above. The gist of this is, touch your face or some part of your body and just sit quietly. Feel your body breathing. Be with it. Just sit with it. Do your best not to judge it. This will start to connect you with your body again.
Acknowledge and be grateful for your body.
We usually have a list right at the forefront of our minds of all the things we would immediately change about our body. We think that by keeping this list, it will help us to change the things. We think about them over and over again because we don't want to forget. Sometimes, we even prevent ourselves from fulling enjoying our bodies until these things are perfect.
Unfortunately, this is not the key. What this actually does is reinforce the belief that 1. you need to change those things about your body and 2. that there is something wrong with your body in the first place.
I know first hand how difficult it is to get out of this rut. It seems counter intuitive to lie to yourself when you feel like crap. But has judgment everrrrrr created what you wanted it to? ;) Hint hint - probably not. What has gratitude created for you? Play with that.
I hope these tools are helpful for you friends! How much more fun could you have, how much easier would your life get, and how much could you be, do, and create if you weren't in pain all the time? Play with these tools and I guarantee you your life will get a whooooole lot easier! :)
Catch you on the flip side,