Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Our Bodies Ask of US

Medicaid%20Transformation%20Grants.jpg When we start to think about our body as something we're in a relationship with all the time, we have to consider a number of questions: are we listening to it? Are we taking the time to connect, do things we enjoy? Do we have a sense of peace and friendship or do we feel disgruntled and judgmental? As we reconnect from a place of greater meaning, respect and love, new information comes forward.

Because our lives so rarely give us the chance to listen to our bodies, things can change radically when we do. Instead of objects to be controlled, our bodies become living, breathing partners in the birthing of our best lives. The old ways of being that may have allowed you to trip through your life unconsciously no longer work in quite the same way. Your body may give you signs now--that you're finally able to hear--when it feels pushed, ignored or in need of rest. As you learn to love, forgive and reunite with your own body, you may find yourself wanting more of those qualities in your own life.

James, for example, is an account executive who worked with me because of a continued issue with stress eating. He hated himself and his body for latenight trips to the refrigerator, but--especially because his work day often went until after 9pm--he didn't know how to stop. Eating was one form of pleasure and escape he was afraid to deprive himself of, even if the pattern felt abusive and unhealthy.

As James started to see his body as something he was in relationship with, an interesting thing happened. He no longer wanted to treat it the way he had. Rather than continuing the cycle of unhappiness and overeating by judging or being disgusted by his overweight body, he now saw how helpless his body had been to his own frustrations and feelings: feelings he was stuffing down repeatedly with food. As James learned to decode his body's stress responses, he could see them as messages rather than invasive or threatening distractions from his productivity. Anxiety or a tight feeling in his stomach, when attended to, meant that James slowed down, took a deep breath and got up from his desk or took a walk.

Reconnecting to his body was also reconnecting James to his life. When he learned to listen compassionately to the signals his body was sending him without eating to cover them up, he realized that he was deeply unhappy with his job and the control it had over his life. Not only did James no longer want to ignore his body, he no longer wanted to ignore himself and the feelings of dissatisfaction he'd had for a long, long time.

Within two months of our work together, James reevaluated his job situation and decided it was no longer for him. From an empowered place, James affirmed that he could find a situation that was less abusive, and that allowed him to be loved and respected the way he was now able to love, respect and listen to his own body. Within moments of his decision, James already had colleagues and friends surrounding him with support and resources to find a position that would honor him and not require him to hide who he is or what he really wants.

An interesting thing happens when we commit to right relationship with our bodies. Our bodies begin to ask of us what we have may have stopped asking of ourselves: to listen, to live without ignoring, to move forward in ways that honor us and take care of us. When we make a reconnection to this most intimate relationship, our bodies may also ask us to consider how that greater sense of self could translate into other aspects of our lives. It may mean that you need to change a job, shift a relationship or give up a bad habit that no longer serves you.

Our bodies don't lie. They have been holding truth for us for as long as we and they have known it. When we begin to listen, we step into what we really want in our lives rather than what we have tried to convince ourselves is enough. This transformation can happen in a moment and it can also move into every aspect of our lives. What our bodies ask of us is what we really most want for ourselves: a life lived fully and respectfully in the moment, with integrity and commitment to our greatest truth and our best selves.