My own healing path has taught me that befriending the body and cultivating a non-fearing relationship towards the sensations that arise within it, is one of the most liberating and health-giving actions you can do for yourself.
From my own experience I can see that whilst Buddha had a point when he stated that ‘it is your mind that creates this world’, the mind is just one part of who we are. So although getting our mind and thoughts working for, not against us, is vital to wellbeing, it is not the complete picture.
We are, after all, animals. Yes, animals – mammals, with biological instincts and needs. So even though we have the amazing tool of our mind, it is the processes within our body which tend to run the show in terms of what drives our actions. So being in a body within a safe environment, a body which we accept and listen to is also paramount to wellbeing.
Alongside this is the ability to access both our Soul (or purpose for this life) and Spirit (or the flow of energy running through us) as the other important ingredients for good health, wellbeing and contentment.
When I started on my journey to wellness I was operating in the world as a ‘disembodied head’. My existence was purely thought based and I was completely cut off from my body. Looking back, I can now see that it was no wonder that my physical form had deteriorated to the extent it had and that I was plagued with a catalogue of medically ‘diagnosed’ chronic health conditions which included stress related illness, IBS, migraine, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. These are part of a cluster of ‘mystery syndromes’ currently on the increase, plaguing the western world, which mainstream medicine can’t really explain the origin of or effectively treat and cure.
Any signs of a more permanent shift towards wellness did not come until I started to look beyond the conventional and embarked on the journey of fully feeling, listening to and then interpreting the sensations within my body.
At first, I labelled and analysed the sensations. Sweaty palms, shortness of breath and a racing heart was ‘anxiety’. Sensations within the intestines was IBS flaring again, if not ‘Colitis’. Numbness and a feeling of hollowness in the chest was going to turn into ‘depression’. Tuning into the chronic pain, muscle spasms and burning skin sensations at first was overwhelming and at one point I thought I might have ‘MS’.
Getting back into my body was deeply uncomfortable and at first very frightening for me. I spent far too long with ‘Doctor Google’, searching desperately for the answer or a diagnosis which would explain why I had all the symptoms and offer a successful treatment protocol for it all.
I needed to do a lot of work, with a lot of practitioners and a lot of learning in relation to myself and being with my body again. I am grateful for their wisdom and what they gifted me to take forward.
Then one day a light bulb turned on in my mind and body. I decided to stop searching outside of myself for the answers, stop looking for someone or something to save me.
I realised I needed to stay present with my body and all the sensations within it, fully listening to what the sensations and symptoms were saying. I needed to move from a place of fearing what was happening within my body to a place of acceptance and noticing and then eventually curiosity and enquiry.
What I learned about myself, my relationships and life purpose was not always easy to hear. I learnt I had been lying to myself and listening to my ego instead of my Soul. It meant I had to learn to use my voice to set boundaries with others and myself (how I treated my body and listened to the drivel my mind talked!) I had to adjust, adapt and make changes – some small, some big.
Listening to my body, accepting what I was learning and taking transformative action took courage but as I did the symptoms lessened. I learned to welcome all body sensations as they were messages telling me where I was out of alignment with my Soul and my life purpose. They were telling me what I needed to change in order access Spirit, the energetic life-force gifted to us all by the Universe.
As I did this I started to heal.
If you have noticed, as you read this, that a part of you – your mind, body or Soul – has sent you a message of recognition; a ‘yes that makes sense’ declaration, then I encourage you to get really inquisitive as to what is going on in your body on a daily basis. Awareness is the first step to change.
Start noticing what happens in your body when you do certain activities, think certain thoughts about yourself or are around certain people. What is your body telling you? Write it down and remember you don’t have to act on it there and then. Other things may need to change before you can do that. You may also need to work with a practitioner or enlist some support as you make changes.
Listen to yourself. Befriend your body, don’t bully it with your mind. You may be surprised what you find out and you might finally locate the missing piece of your wellness, health and happiness jigsaw.