Today we get to the last piece of the self-care as spiritual puzzle. (But by no means the last you’ll hear of the subject from me!)
We might be living in a time when eating and exercise verge on religious obsession, but taking care of the body as spiritual? Really?
Yes, really. Let me explain.
First I’ll reiterate: You’re a spiritual being having a human experience. The body is simply the vessel that enables that experience of life on Earth to happen.
Your body is your hostess.
The relationship you have with a hostess can determine the quality and length of your visit anywhere. Treat your hostess with kindness and gratitude, she’ll bend over backwards to make your stay pleasant. From the other perspective, if she fulfills your desires and makes you comfortable, your stay will be effortless.
Perhaps an over-simple metaphor, but you get the picture.
This is why I firmly believe – and continually teach clients – that listening to your body really is the key to healing whatever ails you.
Talking over this concept with my friend Dana the other night, she worded it so perfectly – and in a way I’d not considered: Maintaining health is a reciprocal trust between my body and myself.
Think about that for a minute.
Do I trust my body?
Does my body trust me? Not an easy one to ponder.
Do I betray my body? Or, if I’m more honest, HOW do I betray my body?
But doesn’t my body betray me as well?
Your body isn’t betraying you when it erupts in pain, discomfort, anxiety attacks, etc. She’s telling you plainly that you haven’t treated her right and she’s not happy about it. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something that you can’t, or refuse, to hear, so the pain has to get bigger and louder. You know, like: “Mom. Mom. Mom! Mo-o-om! MOOOOM!!!”
I’ll even go a step further and say that your soul’s not happy and expresses her displeasure through your body. Because the body provides the means for your spirit to function daily, any messages it has for you will be sent via that medium.
This isn’t an airy-fairy concept that requires years of meditation training. Your soul speaks to you constantly in a language you understand: sensations, tension, energy levels, seemingly random thoughts and images.
Building trust is a conversation. A two-way street.
A relationship. It’s taken years to establish the one you’re currently in with your body.
Whatever the relationship: hostess, child, friend, lover, it takes time to understand who the other is.
As you get to know a child or a new lover, you gradually pick up and understand the little signals they send. You become attuned to the non-verbal cues, facial expressions and mood changes that let you know how they feel, and what they want. Your own body works the same way.
When you get right down to it, self-care is an expression of self-love. And it’s the means by which you build the relationship with your Self.
The deeper and closer the relationship, the better you’ll understand the subtle nudges and cues she gives you. Then she won’t need to cry so loudly to get your attention.
Care for yourself as you would for any loved one.
Feed your body as you would your dearest friend. Talk to her like you would to your child. Indulge her as if she were the most precious lover. Show her appreciation as you would the most gracious hostess.
What I’m trying to say is, put your love into action. Changes don’t happen in the body unless you embody them. (Duh!)
How do I hear what my body and soul are saying?
All you have to do is listen.
Whenever I’m unhappy with any aspect of my life, I distill whatever the issue until I find the need underneath. Usually, it ends up being some variation of
I want to be heard. I want to be loved. I want to be appreciated. All pathways to my core need for connection.
These same themes came up as I sifted through a particular issue I’ve been having lately around work. Talking to Dana the other night, I was reminded yet again to find these qualities in myself, rather than seek them elsewhere. That’s when it hit me:
My body wants to be heard.
My body wants to be loved
My body wants to be appreciated.
Turns out, that’s what my body was trying to say when I was curled up with gallbladder pain earlier this year. When my moods are off the wall, when my energy’s dipped beyond reason.
Ultimately, it’s my inner self, my soul, that needs to be loved, heard and appreciated. What better way than to offer her the most beautiful, healthy home I can?
Fortunately, even if you can’t quite hear the voice of your soul yet, there are some pretty common ways to get you started on the road to nourishing your body more…and building that trust!
Eat a good breakfast. I’ve always known it to be critical to the day, but I’ve recently recommitted to eating a proper breakfast and it’s made a huge difference to my day. (I’ll be elaborating this one in my next blog!)
Limit sugar, cut out poor quality fats, eat more veggies. Yeah, yeah, you know the drill…this is not news.
Practice loving movement. Yoga, running, zumba, kick-boxing,…whatever. Find a physical activity that lights you up and makes your cells dance.
Eat what you love and love what you eat. How can you create a loving relationship if you have to pinch your nose while you’re doing it? The best way to derive nourishment from the food you feed your body is to embrace it with your whole being, so your body can embrace it in return, and put the nutrients to their best use.
The challenge now is to DO it!
Embody healthy changes by putting them into action!
If you’re ready to hear more deeply what your body’s saying: I would LOVE to help. Breaking the ice on that conversation is what I do best. Drop me a line, and we’ll talk about it!
Before you go, pop into the comments and tell me one thing you do that makes your body feel nourished and loved. When you share your thoughts, you open the possibilities for others.