by Carmel Reid, Somerset UK
My body has been speaking to me all my life. Sometimes I’ve listened, and when I haven’t it has had to shout louder. Occasionally, when I’ve ignored it completely, it’s brought me to a complete stop so I had no choice but to listen.
I recently did an exercise writing an A to Z of all the things I’ve had go wrong in my body and I was amazed to see just how much my body has been speaking with me all my life.
I really have been rough with it, from roller skating as a child and forever bashing my knees, to smoking as a teenager and causing a possible stroke risk in my later years. I am forever getting bruises as I move quickly and bump into things, and cuts on my hands or broken nails from doing hard work without gloves.
Some things are obvious, and some things are more subtle. Some results are immediate and some take a little longer to manifest.
Putting on weight, for example, developing arthritis, a hyperactive thyroid and a serious heart condition took twenty years before I paid it any attention.
As I’ve started to listen to my body, I’ve learned to treat it more gently, making better choices about what to eat and how to be, and many of the symptoms have disappeared.
The weight has reduced considerably, the arthritis is less painful, the thyroid is back to normal, and my heart is beating strongly, but is still out of rhythm. Thanks to medical advice from my GP and the local cardiologist, I am on medication to reduce the risk of a clot that could lead to a stroke. I’ve seen how badly a stroke can affect people and I’d rather not have one, so this time I am truly listening; my body doesn’t have to shout at me any more.
I’ve come to appreciate that my body naturally knows how to be in harmony with itself, and that it’s truly the best source of information I have. I realise that all these symptoms are my body reflecting back to me how I am living, how all the daily choices I make about how to be, what to eat, when to rest etc., are truly affecting me.
I’m no longer propping myself up with caffeine, sugar and alcohol, and now I can feel how exhausted I am most of the time.
I eat well, I exercise, my work is pretty simple, so what’s going on?
It’s very subtle, but what’s tiring me is how I am choosing to be with other people in my day. I have been putting a lot of energy into looking for acknowledgement from them, trying to please, to get things ‘right’. I have been getting involved in their emotional issues rather than dealing with my own. When a child cries, or when an adult is hurt by something someone else has said, instead of staying detached and observing what’s going on, I have wanted to make it all better. As a child, I wanted to help my parents resolve their arguments, and there has been a part of me that always wanted to ‘fix the world’.
All the while I’ve been ignoring the me that is me.
Maybe if I listen more to my own heart, learn to trust how I am feeling, instead of looking outside all the time, my heart can begin to beat with a more regular rhythm… my own true rhythm?
It’s lovely – the more gentle I am with and in my body, the more present I am with ME first, the lovelier it feels and the more I can feel what my body is telling me.
Now it doesn’t have to shout so loud, the merest whisper will do.