I’m just going to be honest. This week I’ve found myself in a real funk. I haven’t been as motivated to do things, and I’ve found myself falling into the trap of thinking that the harder I am on myself, the more I will push myself, or rather shame myself, I will suddenly move into action. And then I start noticing all the things I haven’t done, one of which being, I haven’t given much thought to writing this blog. And because I’m then coming from a negative place to start with, I don’t want to do it, because whatever I produce won’t be good enough and will just be a real pile of crap. Obviously, this is an excellent frame of mind to start any task from…
Our bodies are speaking to us
And then I realized something and decided to cut myself a little bit of slack. I’ve got a physical issue that has flared up at the moment. It’s called vestibular neuritis just in case you were wondering, and it’s a condition that affects my right inner ear. When it flares up, I get really dizzy and the entire day feels like I’m riding on a boat on the high seas, and I can’t get off. Needless to say, this kind of sucks, as it often affects my ability to concentrate, to feel focused, to feel like a normal human being. It’s a boat ride without the beautiful view, and with a bit of constant low-level nausea. Hooray.
The realization I had is just how important the body is to our full sense of wellbeing. I should know this right? I am a yogini after all. I even taught yoga for years. But the reality is that most of us don’t. We do yoga for exercise and to look good in our new Lululemon top. We often talk about mind, body, spirit connection, but we tend to prioritize the mind, humans being the hyperactive creatures that we are, our noggins just never seem to turn off. And we treat our bodies as a bag of bones that we drag behind us in the quest for enlightenment and fulfillment. Sure I need to feed it well. And drink plenty of water these days if you live in Texas like I do, it’s hot out there! But what I’m talking about goes beyond the maintenance needs of day to day in terms of things like food and sleep.
Tune into your body – what is it telling you?
Our body is sending us messages all the time. And we need to learn to tune into them and listen. As opposed to ignore and push through the discomfort like is the normal tendency of many of us to do. “Give me the drug. Give me that pill that will make me forget about it.” I’m realizing this is the way I used to handle this condition, which I’ve had since my early twenties. The result was that during a flare up I would experience increased stress, reactivity, and negative emotions which probably fueled the condition and made it worse and only prolonged the suffering. Go figure.
Considering how off I’m feeling, perhaps trying to maintain my normal pace isn’t so realistic. Perhaps considering the instability I’m feeling in my center, it might make sense to spend more time than usual grounding myself through meditation, reflection, walking in nature. Rather than ignore and push away the sensations I’m feeling in my body and try to numb them, to lean into them. To accept that right now something is happening in my physical being that’s affecting my inner state and that is okay. To breathe deeply into the discomfort and know that it will pass. And to show myself a huge amount of self-compassion as I try to juggle my responsibilities of my week, while I cope. To speak to myself kindly in my head, the same way I would speak to my clients. To offer myself the same tenderness that I so easily and willingly give to others. To be gentle with my body, my movements, to allow myself the space to slow down and be.
And with some much-needed self-compassion this blog is now finished. Interesting.
What’s going on in your body at the moment? Take a moment to sit and focus on the sensations that you feel. What are you pretending not to notice? What secret messages might your body be trying to give you? How is this affecting your mental wellbeing? What would happen if you leaned into the discomfort?
Shelley Pernot is a leadership and career coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their strengths and talents and find a career that utilizes them. Reach out to me here for a free consultation to learn more about the coaching process and how it may benefit you!
Great article, I actually do this daily to manage my MS and it works.
Despite all the reading I have done on mindfulness, etc., your article made me realize that I have been looking at my ailments as only something to beat down…. not learn from! Thank you!