Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash
We have heard it all before – our body tells a story. The simplest being our physical body. It can tell us we are in pain, pleasure or hungry. Its incredible really that it sends messages to our conscious to take action. When it comes to our inner wellbeing, I’m talking about our inner voice and mental landscape, we do not recognize how it is trying to communicate to us. This inner world can often be connected to our physical self. Grief, sorrow or emotional pain can produce tears. This we are familiar with. Are we familiar with why it is showing up? Do you spend the time to look a little further as to what our body might be saying?
I think if we took a poll with the readers of this article it is likely that at least 60% of folks give it little thought and would rather stuff those feelings deep down never to be seen again. Escapism is a very good tool but it is not healthy for it to be a state of being. Why? Because those feelings have to show up somewhere. Often with anger, anxiety or lack of productivity and procrastination. Our body has a very loud voice but as a society we have learned to look the other way. Society rewards strength and productivity. Social media boasts of “how good” one is doing. After it is all said and done, if one sat quietly and truly listened, the body would reveal some very big truths.
My guess is that you are exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Maybe you have panic attacks, or wake up in the middle of the night. You might feel unable to talk about something or feel disempowered. Maybe your body wants food as a way to make you feel better because something has made you feel unworthy, or small. The inner landscape of our body, mind and soul requires a lot of constant work. We have all experienced hard things that have had a negative effect on our inner landscape. You often hear me talk about limiting beliefs. The lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from living into the truth of who we are, our most authentic self. We are afraid to break through them and take a leap of faith. These limiting beliefs are a part of that inner landscape that come from hard or painful things that have happened to us and they require a complete renovation. The effect of hard life events can take a toll on your life in a variety of ways.
Why would someone engage with so much pain? Why put in the work? Being liberated from your pain and suffering is worth it. Now, I am not talking about that part of you being gone or erased. It is not a quick fix or instant gratification. Those things will always be there. What I am saying is that these things that have happened to you don’t need to have a hold over you. They can feel a little bit lighter or easier. You don’t need to feel stuck thinking that this is as good as its going to get, or that you have to carry all that burden with you. You are the liberator. You are the healer. You are the renovator and landscaper. It is about what you want, where is your will? Is it to continue to be effected, exhausted and constantly try to prove that you are worthy? Let me tell you something: there is nothing in this world that is going to “make you” worthy, successful, happy, financially free, healthy, athletic or whatever else you are in pursuit of. YOU are the only being that can and will make the change. You are the only one able to choose the direction you want to go. You are the only person able to listen to your body who has been with you your entire life. You are the only one able to identify what has happened and what needs to happen. You are worthy of the most wildly fulfilling life. You are worthy of inner peace, acceptance and freedom.
Let me share a little from my own story to give you further perspective on what I am saying. 6 years ago I lost my dad. It is a normal part of life that society has tucked away because it is too “painful” to be a part of daily society. I experienced so so many things following this loss from the stages of grief to making poor choices. Ultimately it shook me. I have struggled with learning who I am, what I want and even why I am here on this earth. I have seen a counsellor for over 4 years now and there are things that forever come up for me. Things such as my self worth story. Or also my anger. My relationships with others. It can feel like a circle I cannot get out of. I do the “work,” do all the damn things and still I cannot escape the feelings that show up inside of me. Until one day I was faced with a really hard decision. It was a pivotal moment for me. Now let’s go back for a minute to recap what has “happened” to me since my dad died before we continue. Here is my victim list: Dad died, my son got sick and was diagnosed with a very rare disease, 2 in fact that are both potentially fatal and he is continually and ongoing sick and hospitalized and will be indefinitely, my business temporarily closed down during covid which created crippling financial anxiety, I had an immunocompromised kid during a pandemic, I had a total breakdown. So to say I was faced with a hard decision it was in fact a moment where I had to step into myself as no one was going to tell me what to do or how to go after what I wanted and needed. This was not a new process for me but I felt like I had been tossed around at sea and had been grasping for a life raft because I thought that was what I needed. What I failed to recognize prior to this moment was that I didn’t need a life raft anymore, I in fact had learned to swim in turbulent waters and could choose how I wanted to find calmer sea. Only because of all the work I had done prior did I find strength and skill. I sat on the floor that day in my bedroom and stared at the wall completely quiet until my fog became less foggy. After 45 minutes of complete a total silence I could finally hear loud and clear my inner voice. It had been there all along. I made some big hard and scary changes in our life as a family, and I acknowledged that I needed medication to help me come back to myself. Moving forward from that point when I felt the fog rolling in and the sea getting turbulent I would find a quiet spot, sit on the floor, hand on my chest, breath and come back to myself. See, this inner voice, the way my body holds feelings, it’s not wrong. I was so caught up in being “perfect” and likeable, doing what I thought everyone else wanted that I was ignoring my needs. Even though I was “doing all the things” to care for myself I never sat and actually got acquainted with myself in that way. When I feel gross, icky emotionally or holding tension in my throat and chest, pain in my body, I take it as a sign that I am not aligned with myself. I know I am giving more of myself to others than I have to give.
I also want to clarify that even though this strategy of alignment and listening to my body has greatly changed my life, as a whole made me feel clearer and lighter, I still have depression, anxiety, panic attacks, make poor choices, get angry and so on. Here’s the thing, they aren’t as bad as they once were. They are less frequent and I am able to identify why a little easier than I did before. There are days that feel darker and days where I have never felt so good. Life is this way. Skill however can be developed, with perseverance, practice and awareness. Be gracious with yourself and easy to forgive. This journey will last a lifetime. When we spend the time to listen to our body, process what is there and why, really sit with it (sometimes this takes time), we can navigate a way forward. If you find yourself having really big emotions about things in your day take notice, reflect back on that moment quietly and research why you may be feeling that way. Seek help from a professional, do the damn journaling, get outside with nature, take medication, whatever it takes my friend. You deserve it. ALLLLLLL of the beauty of life. Not just that but also stepping into your power and lessening the hold these things have over you.
I hope this has encouraged you to listen to your body. I appreciate you reading.
Here is a beautiful infographic from greatist.com that shows an opinion/limited research on body mapping that I find helpful. You can also read their perspective in an article HERE.
Much thanks, Chantel Funk