What if instead of looking outside of ourselves for all of the answers, we were to cultivate an intimate dialog with our deepest knowing, our body (literally) of knowledge?
We are a nation of busy, distracted minds walking around with bodies often neglected of basic nourishment, hydration and healthy movement.
We fill ourselves up with sweets, artificial food and chemically enhanced drinks.
Yet regardless how poorly we treat them, our bodies continue to seek alignment and work overtime towards health.
What if we could step away from thinking for moments at a time and instead feel what our bodies need? Could we begin to make choices that support a natural progression toward wellness?
Once we care enough to cultivate a living conversation with our bodies, a natural lightness and optimal state of being will naturally become possible. Through the simple but profound practice of body listening, we can begin to make peace with our bodies and become awake to the dynamic existence called “alive.”
There is no expert that knows us any better than we know ourselves.
No one else experiences what it is like to be in our individual body like we do. No one else knows the height of our pleasure or the depth of our pain. To acknowledge this simple fact, creates a compelling reason to take accountability for our own physical experience and decreases any reliance on outside forces.
We have most of the answers we need inside, waiting to be heard. We simply need to take a few moments each day to listen. As Sting so eloquently once said “our bodies are like a holographic memory of every experience of our lives.” Our body is the physical manifestation of our entire life and every experience we have lived through. The body listening practices will help us cultivate a deep trust in ourselves and awaken our innate intuitive knowledge.
It is accepted in our culture to give away our personal power and responsibility.
Overcome by messages from the media telling us how we should look and how we should feel, we are rarely encouraged to look inside. Body listening is about taking back our personal power.
There is a wisdom running through us that grows stronger through the simple practices of body listening. It is empowering to begin to recognize our needs and to make changes that feel good in our bodies.
There is a definite need for basic education on the inherent value or lack of value in certain foods and drinks. However, if we listen to our bodies and honor the innate wisdom in all of us, we will begin to choose balanced, whole, healthy foods. We will begin to crave movement.
Try the simple practices below for one week and notice if you feel better. If you feel better then try the practice for another week.
The conversation begins each morning as you greet your belly before you even get out of bed.
Take a moment and put your hands on your belly and feel it from the inside out. Simply observe how it feels. This beginning practice is about making the conscious decision to listen. Think of your belly as your information center. How your belly feels is directly related to your energy level and well-being. It is worth your time and attention to have a similar conversation with your belly in the evening as you get into bed.
Begin noticing bodily sensations related to eating certain foods or eating at certain times. Take note of reactions such as: “upset” stomach, gaseous, lethargic, headache, extremely thirsty.
Note foods that make you feel heavy, bloated, irritable, etc. Tune in to how overeating makes you feel. Begin to draw conclusions linking your intake and your sense of ease/disease. Realize that although you may enjoy eating particular foods, your body may not process them optimally.
Most importantly, notice what makes you feel good 30-60 minutes afterwards as well as the next day.
Deepen the Conversation
Use questioning to begin peeling away layers of habits to reveal more information. Questions such as: When do I feel the most vibrant? Why am I eating? What if I made a better choice for my body? How much is too much? Am I full? How would I feel if end my meal now? Still hungry, satisfied? Consider keeping a journal with all of the information you are gathering for future consideration and reflection.
The practice of forgiveness sets us free from the bondage of mind made punishments that further unhealthy patterns. If you make a decision to indulge, forgive yourself and move on. Sometimes we consciously chose to indulge in an experience that we know will not produce a favorable outcome.
Over time choices to indulge will become more and more sporadic, less and less desirable.
As the conversation deepens, our awareness of our physicality increases, and the discomfort that accompanies indulging will not seem worth it. As we plug into eating to live vibrantly, there will less need to overeat for emotional reasons. We will begin to crave being “checked in” and to feel good in these amazing bodies we get to live in.
We get stronger just by trying. We become more aware just by trying. There is profound beauty in just trying to listen.
Daily Journal Guidelines:
- Hello belly (morning)
- How does my stomach feel – settled, upset, gaseous, calm?
- Consider and note, what did I eat in the past 24 hours?
- How does my body feel?
- What is my energy level like?
- Hello belly (evening)
- What was my energy level like today?
- Did I eat anything that produced unfavorable results? Or Favorable?
- Overall, how do I feel?
- Note any foods/meals you enjoyed that either made you feel fantastic or terrible.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: author’s own