Before I became pregnant, I had a sense of awe and respect for my body. It's been through a lot. The more I learn about healing, what bodies are capable of, how they work, the more amazed I become.
I didn't always feel this way.
I, like many others, was programmed to believe in a top down approach to my body. To force it to do what I want it to, despite its signals telling me otherwise. Work when exhausted. Wake up when tired. Squeeze into tight outfits to be attractive, but not too tight as to send the wrong message. Put to do's as the priority over eating. Talk negatively about it, as if it somehow was in another room and couldn't hear my disregard.
Much has shifted in my life since I originally held this point of view. A few books worth of stories to be exact. Now, close to my 7th month of pregnancy, I have an even deeper awareness and great love for my body. It has taught me a lot. Supported me. Schooled me. Healed me. Helped me learn how to surrender and appreciate life, not just in theory, but in actuality, in the moment.
My body has given me very clear knowledge on what it wants and needs to be in optimal, thriving health.
What the body wants:
For no reason. For every reason. To love something unconditionally, it becomes woven into the fabric of who you are. This is the very foundation from which all action should take place. It makes decisions simple. Ask yourself before you choose something - is this an act of loving my body or not? Your body is the gateway for your spirit, it allows you to experience life in physical form. Do you know what an incredible gift that is? Cherish the temple you live in. It's a sacred place, with you wherever you go.
Nothing beats the basics. Allowing yourself to care for your body is one of the most gracious acts you can participate in. It's not as complicated as we make it out to be. Brush your teeth. Bathe yourself. Clothe yourself as best you can, appropriate to the elements. Stretch. Smile. The majority of what we do to care for ourselves is pretty simple and free, or close to it.
It's been well studied that babies do poorly without touch. The same is true of grown ups. When touched (in a way that feels comfortable and safe to us), we relax. We feel cared for and supported. We have a sense of connection. We feel understood and that we belong. No matter how wound up I am, when my husband simply puts his hand on my shoulder, I melt. Touch helps us to know that we are a valued human being, worthy of that kind of interaction with someone else. Sometimes that's what you need most.
How often do you unconsciously hold your breath? Whenever there is fear, or you feel scared, threatened in some way, we push away the exact thing we need to take us out of feeling stuck - oxygen. Without a full deep breath, it's harder to think clearly, make decisions effectively, or know how to keep ourselves safe. With breath, we oxygenate all the cells of the body so we know how to respond to what's in front of us. With breath, we are reminded of our capabilities and strength while also being able to easily access them. Check out A Life Worth Breathing and Conscious Breathing .
Bodies are meant to move. To experience strength in their core. To stretch and be flexible. To connect with and express their natural rhythms. To release built up energy. To allow the elements, emotions, and thoughts to move through. To express your own unique version of life through the body is a desire we all have. Becoming conscious of this creates the space for great healing and health to take place. It is the quickest way I know of to transform any situation in your life because with movement comes insight and clarity. Move, and you'll know what to do next.
We all want to belong, to feel cared for, to know we matter, to feel heard and understood, to laugh with others, to extend compassion and receive empathy. Connection with nature helps us realize our own inner nature. We are part of the natural world and are very much affected by it. Even noticing the simple difference with how you feel when the sun is out or not, helps to put life in perspective. According the latest findings on what cultivates happiness (based on The Happy Movie ), all of them are connection based - social support, being of service to others, and being in nature. Make connection a priority and your life will change for the better.
What nourishes you? Gives you a strong sense of internal satisfaction? Our bodies need different things at different times. Eating isn't just about what you eat, it's how you eat, who you eat with, eating intuitively what's best for you in the moment. And nourishment isn't just about eating. It's what feeds your soul.What would nourish your soul right now?
Joy & Pleasure
We often swing from one side of the polarity to the other when it comes to joy and pleasure. We indulge in instant hedonistic gratification or delay our longing for it (until we finish that to do list, make money, retire, lose weight, etc.). It's this constant push and pull, fight or flight dynamic we engage in that we truly don't need to. Retrain yourself to see even the smallest joy. Give yourself permission to feel and experience pleasure without judgment.
To be listened to
Our bodies hold so much wisdom. They are always diligently working to maintain and restore balance. They integrate our actions, store our experiences, and are constantly communicating with us. When's the last time you listened? Asked? Notice where you feel the energy within your body flowing. Notice stagnation. Take a good look at yourself, at your face, at the clearness of your eyes, skin. The ease with which you move. Your body is talking to you. What's it saying? What are you going to do to honor that message?
There's so much more I could add to this list! I can't encourage you enough to start paying attention to what your body wants. Honor those desires from a place of acknowledgment, regard, and love.
If you were to do one thing different today in relationship with your body, what would it be? How would your life change as a result? Visualize the snowball effect honoring your body creates.