The body speaks. Living a busy and full life, denying our body’s indicators, and pushing away disturbing emotion is often a practice of denial or overwhelm. If I pretend it’s not there, it won’t be, and with that I continue doing the same old…
We all hold ostrich behaviour within—bury our head in the sand and refuse to see anything except what we want to see. This behaviour lasts for a short while then quite by chance it seems, a hollowness comes to meet us directly in our face—our bodies actually.
It will be a dis-ease of the heart, mind, body, or soul and we may continue to carry on because we are unable to discern what is happening at first. Discern—a capacity to distinguish the bogus from the real. Discernment provides us with an ability to separate actions, behaviours, opinions, thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve our well-being from our valuable attributes that make us whole beings.
This moment of awareness is what I call the beginning of a journey into the dark night of the soul—first attributed to the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross in his poem; La noche oscura del alma, and more recently Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces—where at first a path is unclear, our well-being is far from well, our emotions are awry, our sense of being is askew, and so little seems to make sense in our heart, mind, body, or soul. It is unsettling. It is frustrating. It is discouraging. It calls for renewal, a change. It is a period for courage. It is a period for compassion. It is a period to breathe in each day in a fresh way; honour how our body speaks. Hear its language, its voice, and how it provides its own map. Our challenge is to listen. For many of us it is like a second language—one I am still learning.
The emotional landscape of our body may seem woo-woo, even alien to many, but I see it as essential to our health and wellness. It takes a lifetime of practice—this discernment, particularly with all the mixed messages that come to us externally, let alone our internal melee.
It is our capacity to develop a keen awareness of its nuances; of how our body speaks in the aches and pains of dis-ease, of uncomfortable twinges that prick our consciousness, how our unconscious niggles itself into our awareness saying in its own tongue that there is incongruence in what we are doing, being, or speaking to others, or to ourselves. Please listen; this is my body speaking it is the only way I know how to communicate, please listen, it says. It is in this moment we have an opportunity to choose—to listen, or continue to ignore.
Listening from inside out is a single step towards awareness and distinguishing the bogus from the real. It can provide opportunities to change our personal health and wellness. In healing ourselves, we help heal the planet. The choice is ours.
Writing Practice: What is your body saying to you right now? Tuning in to our body is about finding that quiet place and space inside—even in the busy-ness of our days—and being attentive to its subtle ramblings and rumblings. When you feel confident in that space, listen, breathe into it, then when you are ready, pick up your pen and write for 5-15 minutes. Don’t stop, don’t lift the pen from the page, keep going. What has your body told you? Practice again, and again…