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Learn to Empathize with Your Body

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All of the blog posts are written by Arien Smith with the intention to heal, inform, and expand every reader. Three posts a week: Monday Mindfulness, Wednesday Yoga, Saturday Reflections. 

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Learn to Empathize with Your Body

Arien Smith

I’ve spoken before about how our bodies are extremely intelligent and fully functioning parts of our whole and complex selves, but I’ve never addressed how to directly communicate with your body. I wasn’t able to address this before because I didn’t know how until this past week, when I had a great realization and communion with my body. Now, after understanding how to communicate with my body’s unique intuition, I feel fully able to accept my needs without shame and to better address the actions I need to take so my body can heal in times of sickness. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I have an undiagnosed chronic illness, something which has turned more frightening than just painful these past few weeks. Combined with the chronic pain, I’ve lost some basic motor functions, which has caused me to reject these symptoms as a result. This caused me to shame my body for the illness, which I couldn’t control, because shame was easier than recognizing that I didn’t understand what my body was doing and what was wrong with my health. At one point, while taking a bath and paying attention to some just-below-the-surface stressful emotions, I truly listened to my body for one of the first times.

It was an in-depth listening, not just the recognition that I was hungry and needed food or was tired and needed rest. This was more specific…I recognized that my body was communicating the pain it was in through the symptoms I had. I understood the energetic roots of the pain within myself and gave my body a chance to speak it’s own language, rather than trying to force it to talk to me with words and thoughts. I let my body simply feel what it had to, since that was how it spoke to me. 

When I did this, I experienced an incredible sense of awareness and empathy towards my body. Just giving it a chance to speak it’s own language and giving myself permission to learn this language deepened my emotional connection with my body. Instead of seeing it as a part of me that I didn’t understand, I became a partner to my body, unified to start a path towards bettering my health—mentally and physically. 

The body is incredibly intuitive, but it’s natural to not always comprehend how it communicates. We’re so used to thought and traditional intuition (that gut feeling and pure sense of knowing) that we often overlooked this foundational awareness that our body has. Thought and intuition might be more complex means of gathering information about our experience here in this life, but they aren’t above the way our bodies talk to us. 

If we listen to the stories of dancers, athletes, and performers, many of them will describe easily having a communion with their bodies, but this sounds like something unachievable for most of us because, well, they’re well trained and have had years to focus solely on their bodies as means of living in this world. The thing we all tend to overlook is that we also live in this world through our bodies. We can have the same communion as someone who uses their body as the leading force in their livelihood. 

Especially when our bodies are sick, disabled, or fatigued, it can be hard to pay attention to it because we’re sometimes afraid to face the reality of our body’s state. We’d rather be working, have greater ability to move, or not be afflicted with something we carry around with us all day. It’s valid to want a healthier body, but it’s also important to accept our reality when we cannot change it. My work into this was what allowed me to foster the space to listen to my body’s “words.” 

When we witness our body communicating with us, it will completely transform our human experience. Instead of rejecting this part of us that we don’t fully understand, we instead can take the time to begin a journey of learning its language. It won’t be immediate, just like learning a language (though this comes a little more intuitively, don’t worry!), so be patient. Your body will still be there, willing to communicate, in every moment. Start this journey by listening to the obvious needs for rest and food, then expand it into a conversation with your body—simply feeling it and realizing that your body communicates through sensation. Through this practice, you’re bound to create a newfound respect for the form you live in. 

~*~*~*~

Learning to love your body is a huge part of mindfulness, and living a mindful life will open the doors for great joy. I can help you further your investment in the creation of such joy through mindfulness coaching, a specific type of life coaching to manifest a holistic approach towards living every day. For more information and to book a session, head to this page here