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different ways of listening to ourselves

Posted Feb 04 2010 5:46pm

I've been thinkingLauraabout how to answer your question about listening to your body. There are a bunch of aspects to your questionand in some of your later comments you answered some of them for yourself (yay for you :)


Do you think you may be addressing this "listening to your body" thing a little perfectionistically? As I read your comment/question your plan for how to approach this listening project it sounded a little like it could set you up for some rigidity and black and white thinking/feeling.

You caught this tooby realizing that maybe you didn't have to know how to "perfectly listen" to your body every single second of every single day. It is completely true that you don't have to be perfect in any way- not even possible as we've all decided here in our little blog community- and that includes "listening perfectly" to your body. 

But I wonder what "listening perfectly" means to you. Does it mean always knowing what your body's saying to you? Does it mean listening with 150% attention 24/7? It's helpful to know what you meanso you can figure out how to help yourself with this. It sounds to me as if you mean that theoretically somehow a person "should" be capable of knowing exactly what his/her body is saying every second. 

Here's the thing. It's possible to listen to our bodies every second of every day of every year and to hear what our bodies are telling us all the time- IF we do this in a sustainable way.

One way to think of it is like the black box that airplanes have running constantly when in flight. These little boxes simply record and record and record. They can do this because they were designed for the long haul- for sustainable attention (you knowin machine form!). We humans have different levels (intensities is another way you can look at it). There's a difference between paying attention to minute details and paying attention to the bigger picture. Sigmund Freud talked about listening "with the third ear" by which he meant listening in a way that allowed him to pay close yet sustainable attention to what his patients were telling him. 

Listening to our bodies is like the airplane black box. We need to adopt an observationalbig picture stance that lets us constantly "scan" in a holistic way. This approach doesn't burn us out from being too detailed and intense. We can alter and adopt different stances if in our "scan" we find something we want or need to zero in on. We aren't built to scan minute details every second of every day our entire lives- no one is built for that...

Does that make sense? It's one aspect of what you were asking about so it's only a start with the whole answer to your questions about how we can really listen to our bodies. It's a good place to start because it will begin to orient you to a manageable and non-burning-out way of learning to listen to your body.

OkI happen to be going back to work- probably to help someone learn to listen to her body!!! I have the best job ever invented :)
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