I’ve been thinking about my last post & the idea of looking inside.
They say the body knows & it does, it’s true.
It’s an early warning system- one that helps us know the difference between what’s good for us & what’s not.
It’s triggered by people, places and events & has nothing short of an infallible memory.
You’d think being a dancer I’d be really good at reading my body’s signals, but for a long time I wasn’t.
To me, my body was an instrument, a machine. There were no so such things as biomechanics or human kinetics when I started dancing & I remember thinking, more than once, “but my muscles & bones don’t GO that way.” So I forced them rather than risk the wrath of a choreographer.
I’d always get a warning twinge or a cramp. They were signs to stop- I rarely read them- usually only when I was injured. Most times I read them as a sign to try harder.
It didn’t just happen in the studio either- it happened all the time in relationships & still can. It can be a friend, family member, professional peer- it doesn’t matter. When my spirit is at risk, when I’m forcing myself to believe everything is OK when its not, my body knows it way before my mind does.
We all know the feeling when something’s not right, when something doesn’t make sense or when we’ve allowed our boundaries to be trespassed.
It’s an alert that comes as a gut feeling, heaviness, or those rushes of fight, flight or freeze adrenalin. I think of it as a kind of embodied intuition & it means to be paid attention to. Forcing ourselves not to, is just asking for trouble.
How can we learn what the body knows? First thing is to notice & question. What is this? Where am I feeling this (heart, shoulders, throat- it can be anywhere) & then to ask, why might I be feeling this? What does it mean?
Then, stay with the answers & explore them. Especially the ones we don’t like- the ones that unsettle us.
They’re the ones that help us adapt & change & bring us back to who we really are. They’re the ones that keep us safe, sound & strong.
Your body really does know, so take a few minutes, look inside & ask.