The best advice I ever got: Listen to your body.
The best advice I ever received was to listen to my body. When I first really “heard” this, it didn’t come from a person. It came from my body itself. Through time, I have discovered that it is through the mind-body connection that I make the best decisions.
The first time that this little bit of advice from my body came to life was when I was a teenager. I was in a mental hospital at the time for depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. In an effort to brighten the spirits of us kids in the hospital, the staff would take us out into nature. They really knew what it meant to care for the whole person. Although we were children, we were still people.
After all, children are people, right?
The purpose of this “Challenge Program” was show us that even though we all felt so broken and incapacitated, we had what we needed within us to rise up and meet the challenges that life threw at us. When the staff at the hospital would take us rock climbing, they did it with the intention of showing us the various ways that this sport could be used as a metaphor for life. We would get up on the rock face, climb about 15 feet up it, not know what to do, and the staff would tell us to get quiet and work with our minds and bodies until we found a way to solve the problems we faced in that environment. They then would follow up each trip by asking us what we learned about ourselves.
I was forced to listen to my body.
There were so many times that I would be up on some rock face and the “lizard” part of my brain would start to panic.
“There’s no way you’re going to make it through this! You’re going to fall. No…You’re going to DIE!”
That would be about when, holding desperately onto a tiny finger-sized hand hold, I would look down at the staff and my peers in desperation. They would simply look back up with me with hope in their eyes.
They knew I would do it, so somehow I needed to find a way to make it up to the top.
It didn’t take very long for me to catch on that all I needed to do was to get really quiet. Next, I would turn my attention in toward my body and what was happening inside of it so that I could figure out what to do next, much like I described in this article here. In those moments, everything stood still. A profound sensation of peacefulness swept through my chest. Any stress that I felt about the situation was eliminated instantaneously. My body knew that everything was going to be okay, even though my mind was freaking out. It thought that I was going to fall and die.
My mind perceived threat and extinction whereas my body seemed to know the direct path toward liberation.
There have been times in my life when I have disconnected from this belief. These are the times that I have noticed myself becoming more anxious and more depressed and event a little manic-y. I have come to realize that the source of this dis-ease is my mind, and if I want to alleviate the dis-ease that I feel around my life, it is absolutely critical that I listen to what my body is telling me. This is an extremely powerful skill, and it has the power to heal so much.
Now…time to ask YOUR body…
Today whenever I have a problem or I’m trying to figure out what to do next, I dance, run, do my favorite HIIT workout, take a stroll, roll around on the ground, or simply jump up and down and ask it what it wants me to know.
So the next time you’re faced with a decision that you need to make, take a minute to move your body around. “Ask” it to help you solve your problem. Just see what answers you receive from it. If you need assistance in really understanding the wisdom that your body is trying to share with you, start here with this free Body Scan Meditation. Not only will it help you feel more calm and collected, but it will also help you become the superhero that I already know you are (wink). ????
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