Some of you may have heard me use the phrase “talk to your body”, yet I don’t think I’ve explained in detail what I mean. You could have a conversation with it out loud or in your mind. But that’s not the kind of ‘talking’ that I mean.
The other day Karen was in and before she got on the table she told me that she was having some sciatic pain on her right side. I asked her where exactly was the pain that she was feeling and I asked her to describe it.
I then asked her to send her breath and energy to that area. When I asked her how that went, she replied “No change. The pain is still there.” I then inquired if when she had sent her energy and breath to the painful area, if she had done so with the expectation of the pain reducing. She smiled and agreed.
So I told her that the first step in ‘talking to your body’ is to clear your mind of any specific outcome, agenda or expectation. If you approach your body with any of these, it will not respond. It will treat you like a customer treats a stereotypical used car salesman.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and while they’re talking, in your mind you’re thinking about what you want to say next and you’re not really listening to them? Your body will sense when you’re not really listening to it and clam up and shut down.
When we trigger our inner defences, we activate our sympathetic or fight/flight which works against change, healing and progress.
I asked Karen to try sending breath and energy to the area that was painful but this time to do it without an agenda. I didn’t want her to expect or pursue the specific outcome of there being less pain afterwards.
She spent a few minutes sending breath and energy and afterwards she did find there to be less pain. It may seem counter-intuitive especially if you consider “the power of positive thinking”. But in order to create more peace, harmony and flow, you need to approach your body without judgement, without blame, and without the need to “figure out the reason”. If you can put these knee-jerk reactions aside, your body will let its inner defences down.
And it will shift without your direction. It can be challenging to be with what is especially when you feel strongly invested in the outcome. I suppose this is where one of those paradoxical eastern philosophical sayings comes to mind: Do by not doing.
Talking to your body is not really about talking at all. It’s about learning to listen it. Listening with an open mind and open heart, using your breath, energy and focus to engage with it and wait for it to tell you.
The answer may come in the form of a stretch, a change in position, a twitch or readjustment in posture, a change in perspective, or simply an opening or acceptance of the present moment.