In life, we must make choices, decisions, as to how to spend our time and energy. These are limited, so we must make time for some things and not others. What we dedicate ourselves to, most frequently, could be called our priorities.
“Your priorities aren’t what you say they are. They are revealed by how you live.” (Unknown)
If you made a list of the things you prioritise, what would that list look like?
Perhaps getting some work done. Maybe caring for others. Maybe losing weight, or getting fit, or breaking that habitual behaviour you’re so frustrated with. Maybe finding some time alone, so you can eat in private, eating the foods that bring you a sweet numbness you’ve needed.
Does your physical body, and how it feels, inside, get onto the list? Did you even know that your body, and how it feels, could be a priority? That it deserved to go on the list?
We inhabit a body. Take away your beliefs, the culture you live in, and what we do we have left? Our biology. Blood and guts and sweat and tears. Organs, muscles, bones, skin. A universe of activity, constantly flowing between balance and imbalance, dancing around homeostasis, regenerating, self-healing, digesting, breathing, pumping, squeezing, detoxifying… Even when lying completely still, asleep, our bodies are busily working away beneath the skin, unseen and unappreciated.
We can know what’s happening here through the language of sensations. Tightness. Bloating. Comfort. Discomfort. Pain. Ease. Lightness. Heaviness. Dryness. Wetness. Discolouration. Gas. Tension. Itchiness. Hunger. Fullness. Nausea. Jitters. Aches. Bliss. I could go on!
If we put our how our physical body feels, as number one on our priority list, how would our lives be different?
Would we tolerate an exercise regime that was painful?
Would we wear clothes that felt restrictive and uncomfortable?
Would we keep working when we had a headache?
Would we tolerate dryness in the throat because we didn’t have the time to go and get a drink of water?
Would we knowingly eat foods that caused us a painful reaction later on?
Would we knowingly eat a bigger quantity of food than our body could comfortably cope with?
This is a gentle warning my darlings. Ignore your body’s sensations at your peril. Occasional discomfort is normal, manageable, and part of being human. But beware the gradual slide into chronic pain, every human’s worst nightmare. From daily discomfort to diagnosable disease, our bodies speak in a variety of volumes. A whisper of tension, of a headache arriving. The full-blown scream of the migraine. At what point do we listen? We are being asked to put down our list of other things to do, and devote time and energy to making this body more comfortable for us to inhabit. We are being asked to make our body, and how it feels (NOT how it looks) a priority.
I know there are a hundred million excuses. I can’t be with this headache now because… Responsibilities. Obligations. Family. Work. Modern life. So much of how we live nowadays is not actually compatible with inhabiting a healthy, comfortable body. The body demands that we rest. That we become quiet. That we get out into the fresh air and breathe. That we move. That we drink water and eat nourishing foods. That we keep warm. That we are touched. That we speak to it kindly. Don’t think that your body doesn’t hear you. It feels your aversion to it. Every thought and feeling is a chemical reality within our cells.
If we haven’t been shown how to be comfortable within our bodies, or our busy lives don’t allow us this luxury (it’s shouldn’t be a luxury!), it makes sense that we would spend less time there. Who wants to remain in discomfort? We are pleasure-seeking animals! So we numb ourselves (TV, food, drugs, consumerism, alcohol…), we disassociate from our own physicality. We identify with our intellect, our values. But without a body, we are not whole.
Today, I am inviting you to put HOW YOUR BODY FEELS to the absolute top of your priority list. This is your NUMBER ONE PRIORITY today. Shocking, isn’t it? I dare you. Be brave, be well.