listen to your body; it’s pretty smart.

I had one of those days yesterday and so didn’t get to write the blog post I had wanted to write.  And then in doing some other blog work, I came across this blog post and thought, yes!  So I am reposting today from July 6, 2011.  For those of you who weren’t reading the blog then (or don’t remember), this blog post came weeks after we had two tree strikes on our house and had to replace our roof 2 different times (the 2nd time the tree came through the roof was 26 hours after our roof had been replaced the first time) and our air conditioning unit was struck by lightning and had to be replaced.  Things were tense at the little cottage that could, and then I came across this little bit of wisdom in an unexpected place:

After the trees fell and the lightning struck (did I tell you that our ac unit got hit by lightning, too?) and the tree needed to come down and all that, I just stopped.  I didn’t work for a few days.  I didn’t move for a few days.  Because after getting us up, dressed, and fed after fitful nights of sleep because of the heat, because of the storms that left us laying paralyzed in our beds, because of the prep for the next day, after just getting ready for the day, the roofers, the tree guys, the insurance adjusters, and the AC repairmen were here doing their work, in and out and around and loud, and so I just stopped and beared witness to that tree coming down, to the pains our old house was experiencing, to the wonders of wind and electricity and water.

Until one morning, almost a week into the latest round of madness, I woke up and, though I wanted to stay in bed longer, I raced outside and logged my workout, my muscles moving in sweet relief.  Let us do some of the work for a minute, they were saying.  My brain whispered a thank you.  No, who am I kidding? It shouted its thanks.

And then I ate a thoughtful breakfast and took Happy to his morning preschool camp, and I came home and started to work- to dust the cobwebs off my computer and my work brain- but still my body was saying, “I need more” and so I did something I never allow myself to do.  I went to a Pilates class while Happy was at preschool (usually I am so protective of those work hours that the only thing I allow myself to do during that time is workworkwork).  And as we were lifting ourselves into Teaser with added arm movements, the instructor offered a proverb so casually that I am certain she didn’t know it would become my mantra for the rest of the day.

“Listen to your body,” she said.  “It’s pretty smart”

She was telling us that in case we needed to back off a pose and rest. But I was hearing it not about the class but about everything.  About how my body told me to get out of bed that morning and move.  How my brain wanted that, too, but just couldn’t show its sense of relief until I had turned it off for a bit.  How my body told me it needed just a bit more and how listening to that had brought me to this Pilates class.

Now, as I reached my Teaser pose, my body was saying something else. “This frickin’ hip flexor is WAY TOO tight,” it wailed.  And so, giving myself a break from the pose, just as we’d been instructed, I asked myself, “What’s the least I can do for my hip?”  Stretch it, I thought.  And then I asked, “What’s the most I can do for my hip?”  Have a massage, I thought.

“Can I afford- both financially and time-wise, to have a massage?  Can I afford not to do it?” I continued.  And just then the stretching seemed like such a drop in the bucket compared to the tightness, the massage seemed so necessary for my body, that I knew I’d soon be getting a massage.

Listen to your body; it’s pretty smart.

For the rest of that day, I thought, I was just going to let that mantra be the guide, to press myself even further into intuitive living.  To take that question from my three small questions exercise: what do I need right now more than anything else and live it through every minute of the day.  And so I got up from the computer and stood to read a few pleasure reading pages.  I stretched instead of pounded out a few more sentences.  I thought about this and that. I called a friend right when she flashed into my mind’s eye.  And I liked every moment of living that way.

A lot of times, I listen to my mind.  It’s tidy and neat and organizes things in ways that make sense.  But it also is ever aware of the growing to do list and it feels an incredible responsibility to the doing, without as much awareness to how I am doing.  Filtering my day through what my body can stand- another five minutes of sitting or no?  another few minutes outside in this heat or not? – was a different way for me to trust my intrinsic intuition- the intuition that just courses through my body and knows, without my mind ever having to strong arm the situation.  Like all things, a good mind-body balance is ideal but for a girl who can be pretty in her head it was nice to filter my actions through my body since it does so much of the heavy lifting my mind requires.

Do you tend to be in your head most of the time?  If so, try a day of listening to your body first and see where it guides you.

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4 responses to “listen to your body; it’s pretty smart.”

  1. Barrie Glenn

    YES! I have most definitely been living in my head the majority of the time. It wasn’t until taking the job that I have now (and am completely unhappy with) that I began listening to my body. My body has really been fighting back as of late and telling me the 20 or so pounds that I’ve gained since August are not acceptable. How did I hear it? It told me that for now, running hurts my knees and hips, so it seems happy instead to let me work out on the elliptical and spin bike. After too many stress induced panic like attacks (yes from work), my body has said no more. It’s not going to be victimized and feel like hell everyday. My body says you need “you” time to get back to who you were. And that’s exactly what I’m on a mission to do. Retake me. Thanks for re-posting this!

  2. Mid-Week Balance: 2 May 2012

    […] Rosie Molinary shared a post from her blog archive about how easy it is to get caught up in the “should do” lists.  I appreciate the way that she shares her own experience to help us walk through the ways that we sometimes resist listening to the wisdom of our hearts and bodies. […]

  3. Rachelle

    This post really spoke to me. I’m a very much in my head type of person, but this summer I am working as a farm hand on an organic veggie farm and that is pushing me to experience the world through my body much more. Hula hoop dancing is also helping me learn how to feel my body. I realize that I have dissociated from my own body to a large extent and see it as a problem (weak, something that brings unwanted attention, that is never good enough), not an asset/resource/beautiful thing! Thanks for this meaningful post Rosie.

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