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Body Listening

Are you good at listening to your body? I’ll put my hands up and admit that I can be a shocker, although I like to think I’m on an upward trajectory in terms of improvement as I strive to live each day in a more mindful fashion and remember that body and mind are all one.

As a sometimes rather bad body listener, my poor body has to scream at times to get my attention, generally because my tendency (although I’m wise to it) is to be all up in my mind prancing about pondering life and such and all the while being distracted from the obvious signs that I’m close to a health precipice. At times, when I’m extra hard of hearing, she will bring forth her wildcard…the *MIGRAINE*…

STOP…HALT…you shall not pass go…all shall cease indefinitely…no fun for you!

So it was, that last week was sucked into the vortex that is MIGRAINE (I imagine a big thunderous voice saying that word to give it the gravitas it needs). If you’ve never experienced a migraine then I am happy for you, because I wouldn’t wish them on anyone…totally debilitating: cannot stand up, nausea/vomiting, pain-impaired vision, pressure like your skull’s about to burst open (if you’re a GOT fan, think the death of Oberyn Martell at the hands of The Mountain!)

It’s not like I’m a migraine virgin either, I have been in its clutches plenty of times before and have a pretty clear grasp on the fact that, for me, it is birthed through a perfect storm of food sensitivity, not enough sleep, stress, weather changes and, I suspect, the movement of the planets. Technically, three out of the five of these things I have a modicum of control over so there’s really no excuse in my case (I’ll caveat this by saying I am only talking about my own situation and am in no way suggesting that other people get their migraines for the same reasons)!

As anyone who suffers from migraine will tell you, coming out of the other end of a migraine spell endows one with a new-found appreciation for life and all the little things one normally takes for granted. “Ooh I can stand in a vertical position again and WOW I can look at daylight!” Unfortunately, in my case at any rate, this euphoria is shortly followed by some bizarre cloud of amnesia where I forget how I got myself in a state primed for migraine in the first place and thus keep going around in a depressing cycle.

In theory, listening to one’s  body should be easy because it isn’t some separate entity! So why do some of us have such difficulty? Part of the problem is this imagined sense of separation between the *I* writing this post and the body sitting here in this chair. For me at least, it’s too easy to think about one’s body as being separate from the *one* viewing it and I feel it’s this disassociation which is the root of the problem.

But you know what….NO MORE and writing this blog post here is as a reminder to myself that there’s a very good chance I can crack this if I am mindful and LISTEN to myself. Just the other day my friend said to me:

“I realised that I was doing everything in a rushed and stressed fashion, so I’ve decided to do everything mindfully and slowly and in an unstressed fashion even though I still have just as much to do in the day as before.”

I think he hit the nail on the head and this is the key for me too, to essentially “calm the heck down!” ….don’t rush to get to the final destination but enjoy the journey…in fact make it a slow, ambling journey!

For me, pain has been a good reminder to seek out ways of being, moving, living which better nourish my sense of well-being. It’s easy to think of and approach pain itself as the problem (we are conditioned to do this in our society) rather than a signpost that the way one is living is not for one’s highest good, but I’m stepping out of the trees so I can hopefully see the woods.

Anna x


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