For the past two years my back would hurt after each body balance class I attended. “Oh well, it always passes in a day or so”, I said to myself and kept going. “There is something going on in your lower back and I suggest you see an Osteopath”, my sister who is a Massage Therapist, said to me last autumn. “Thank you for telling me”, I said, and carried on completely ignoring her advice. I suspect eventually my back had enough of my very arrogant attitude and decided to notify me in a way that wasn’t so easily ignored. Let’s cut the next part of the story short and just say that one week of feeling as flexible as a scarecrow and walking like a heavily overloaded, retired mule is one week too many and I am now faithfully following an exercise program designed for me by…… yes, an Osteopath, of course.
We do this, don’t we? Ignore the signals, that is. Like when we have got too much on our mind and our shoulders inch their way up, little by little, and find a permanent place at the level of our ears. Or when we are rush-rush-rushing around and our breath finally becomes so shallow that it leads to light-headedness and we stare blankly at the GP when (s)he says “take a deeeeep breath”. If we keep it up, we tend to soon find ourselves knocked out by a massive cold or something worse. My point is that the body WILL eventually find a way to send us a strong enough signal to get us to stop. The question is how many signals we need to get the learning?
As for emotional “aches and pains”, I find that the scenario is pretty much the same. If we keep squashing down emotions over time, ignoring the tight knot in our stomach, the feeling of carrying heavy weights on our shoulders, the sense of being boxed in or the feeling of somehow being detached from the world around us or somehow at unease, that knot will grow, the weights get heavier, the box smaller, the detachment escalate and the unease intensify, until we finally, finally pay attention and acknowledge what we really feel. We may still judge it, still begrudge it, still recent feeling a certain way, but at least we have acknowledged its existence. Only then will our body and mind know that no additional signals are required, the message has been received. Finally! Only then will the signalling ease up, an “exercise program” can be put together (by yourself or with external help) and the process of emotional healing, nourishing, nurturing and strengthening can begin. But first we have got to stop ignoring and listen up! I think I finally got IT.
How about you? How good are you at giving attention to the signals your body is sending you?