I know this may sound SIMPLE, but I am a firm believer. I practice LISTENING every single day. After many years striving to live this commitment, my body, and it's sensations, speak pretty loud and clear to me all day long.
Do I always manage to listen?
NO, that would be impossible.
Am I constantly honing the practice of using my body as my barometer?
YES. This is my commitment to myself.
This is my process, this is my practice. Every morning when I wake up in the dark, kids asleep, and the house as quiet as can be, I make my way to my alter with my warm cup of tea, sit on down on the purple meditation cushion I love so much and light a candle. I sit and PRACTICE listening. Something about the early morning speaks to me. A moment to myself, a moment to be in the magic of the day break, listening to my body and setting intention for the day.
We all hold our wisdom and intuition in different parts of our bodies. I hold mine right in my stomach. When something doesn’t feel good it almost always goes right to my GUT. I feel a bit ol’ knot, or even nausea right in my belly. Hard to miss right? Funny, somehow I spent most of my life ignoring this bodily wisdom.
YOUR body is YOUR ally too!
You can deepen the mind-body connection in everything you do, and it will always be there for you. This is a journey inward into the subtle body, the senses, and your visceral experience.
How does this relate to your eating you may ask?
What we eat and who we are as eaters also creates an experience in our bodies.
Did you RUSH through lunch barely coming up for air?
Binge on junk food because you are overwhelmed at work?
Stuff your feelings with a couple of cupcakes?
Skip breakfast this morning?
You get the drift. How do these types of choices FEEL in your body? Can you listen just a bit more closely to your body's cues?
Are you HUNGRY?
Are you SATIATED?
What are you REALLY HUNGRY for?
The art of LISTENING inward will tell you exactly what you need to know. Your body is like a wise teacher always pointing you in a direction of higher good. Your body is a guidance system that you can always count on!
We are divinely designed to be strong and vital, to heal ourselves and to refine our inner listening skills. Our bodies are ALWAYS talking to us. Your body's wisdom is about food, intuition, protection, emotion and spirit.
The point is YOU ARE A WISE BEING just like me.
If you want to get OUT of automatic behaviors around food and in your life that are bringing you down, remember:
And my favorite line..."THE WAY OUT IS ALWAYS IN..."
Here are my favorite simple daily practices to REFINE the MIND-BODY connection:
1. Get Present
Eckhart Tolle says:
“Always say YES to the present moment. Surrender to what is. Say YES to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you.”
When we are living in the present moment, we become aware and open to the possibilities that surround us. Our physical sensations are occurring in the present moment and present moment ALONE.
If we are focused on past or future we MISS the cues our bodies are showing us. Even basic sensations like hunger, satiation, and the wise cravings our bodies know are happening in the present moment and the present moment alone.
Get present, TUNE IN and see how magical YOUR BODY can be.
2. Open your Heart
Just as you can practice heart opening in your thoughts and emotions, you can also experience opening the heart space in your physical body. When the rib cage is constricted, we lose the ability to take a full diaphragmatic breath, limiting our range of motion and ability to extend and expand. We shut down - physically and emotionally.
As we gently stretch the thoracic soft tissues we begin to open the heart space.
Energy, emotion, and life force can move freely again.
To truly feel the body, we must open it up and resolve the blocks: physical, energetic, emotional and spiritual.
Opening up the physical heart opens the emotional heart.
Just when we think you need FOOD to feel satiated in your life, maybe we really need a break, a hug, or a nice long nap.
Journaling is a wonderful tool to connect the conscious mind to the subconscious mind; to connect body to soul. What comes out on the paper when we allow ourselves to write freely is most often very insightful.
Studies show no matter the quality of your writing, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.
Sometimes as I write, I unravel a question or confusion I am harboring. I allow it to be messy, sloppy, free form or any way I see fit. I listen. Journaling is like listening OUT LOUD. Journaling gives your inner voice a beautiful and safe container to express HERself.
"Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down."
Give these a try. They are simple yet profound. When working with the mind-body connection and honing in on the art of listening there are many tools and practices that take us inward.
How does your body speak?
Where do you FEEL it?
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