Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Body's Intuition

Why is it so important to develop a relationship with our bodies? Past blogs have addressed the way that a healthy body relationship improves our own self-talk, our way of listening to and asking for what we need in our lives, and how it transforms our choices and relationships. Another way that the body relationship can heal our lives? The gift of intuition.

Think about it. Most of our intuitive feelings come from our bodies. We're all familiar with the expression 'gut feeling' or the idea that 'the hair stood up on the back of my neck' whenever we get strong hunches or ideas. We might feel sick to our stomach, cloudy-headed or 'off' when something doesn't feel right. On the other hand, we might get flooded with energy, light and the feeling of 'yes' when we know we're moving toward something good.

So what happens to this profound channel of communication if we have a not-so-great relationship with our bodies--one torn by mistrust, judgment and discomfort? Well, it's harder to listen, harder to hear those signals. It's harder to trust our intuitive hunches because we get out of the habit of listening to our bodies. Along the way, we may lose one of our greatest gifts.

I'll tell you a story of how mine served me. Several years ago I had HMO health coverage that included dental services. As usual, I made my semi-annual trek to the dentist for a check-up. Strangely, my usual dentist was gone and the dental office had been taken over by a new staff.

After my check-up, the new dentist told me I had not one, but four cavities! Since I haven't had a cavity since I was eight years old, this was really upsetting. "Maybe you're eating too much sugar," the dentist suggested. She was actually eating a Snickers bar as she told me this. As I left, I saw two other clients being told by their assistants that they also had multiple cavities. Something didn't feel right.

I made the appointment to get the cavities filled and started to consider going for a second opinion. But life got hectic and I didn't have time, so the day arrived for the appointment. I showed up, was escorted to the appropriate room, and watched as the dental assistant struggled to put on the wrong size of rubber gloves. I could see the syringes with Novocaine waiting to go.

Suddenly, my legs literally wanted to run. And I don't mean the kind of fear you have when you're a kid because you just don't want a needle stuck into you. I mean the gut feeling kind of instinct that said: you need to get out of here. Now. My stomach was tight. Everything in my body screamed 'no.'

I fumbled my way out of that room as quickly as I could and made it to the front desk. Pretending I had a client emergency and that I'd have to reschedule, I told them I'd call them later. And I got out of there as quickly as I could.

Two weeks later, I went to another dentist who told me that, in fact, I had no cavities. Zero. I immediately got my dental records from the other dentist and filed a complaint with the dental board. I've never been back there again.

Think what would have happened if I hadn't been able to listen to my intuition in that scenario? I would have paid to have four holes drilled in my teeth that I didn't even need and I wouldn't even have known.

The lesson? Our bodies know. They give us all kinds of messages all the time about what's right and wrong, what feels good and bad. Some of them are far more subtle than this one, and some are loud and clear. The question is, are we listening?

Practice in the next few weeks listening to your body's intuitions. See if you can pay attention to its reactions to foods, people, situations. Trust that your body's messages often have your highest good in mind and see what your body might be trying to tell you.

If there are blocks to trusting and listening to your body, see if you can do some deep work to remove them and allow a more connected, peaceful relationship that lets the body's wisdom come through( You may find yourself in a situation where such knowing truly saves you. You and your body know more than you think. It is the signals that don't just come from your head, but from your body's intuition, that can sometimes make all the difference.