Are you one of the many people I see everyday struggling with this problem? For a long time you just trudged on, dealing with life by ignoring your feelings, maybe thinking a little too much, but you got by. And I’ll be damned if you didn’t do a pretty good job. But now you are trying to get past the point in your life where you just survive. Now you are tired of going through all that struggle; you might even be ready to admit you want to live a life of HAPPINESS, a life of JOY. Whoa, not to get carried away, but maybe, kinda sorta, you’d like to believe that life gets better than it is right now.
I want to be your cheerleader. I want you to make it to that place where things are great and wonderful, not just tolerable and okay. That’s why I want you to start trying to live in your body.
Here’s the deal. You were given this wonderful, amazing beautiful thing to inhabit, called your body. It can feel pleasure, it gets to taste food, it can take you to the tops of mountains, and it can get you away from dangerous things. Its set up with a million/billion little cells and chemical processes that all happen in perfect coordination most of the time without you even having to do anything about it. In short, your body is a miracle. But that’s not why I want to you live in it more fully.
Wait, do you even know what I mean when I say ‘live in your body’? Or are you like ‘where else would I be?’ What I mean is to really feel what is going on inside, be in tune with what you need physically, and feel emotions as they come up. A lot of us, well most of us, have learned to live in our heads. We THINK about a lot of things, but do we really feel them? Even when we are doing physical things like work and exercise we are taught to ‘push through’ discomfort, suck it up so that we can give it our all. That is not being in your body: when we do that for too long we get injured. .
I want you to make friends with your body. Is it too dorky to say that I want you to love your body?
But here’s the catch, in order to really be in our bodies, we have to be willing to feel pain. Yep, that’s right. Pain is actually an ingenious way our body has developed to tell us when things are going wrong inside. Pain keeps us from hurting ourselves further. We need to get to know pain, in order to truly heal from it. And yes, our bodies also keep a record of all the pain and trauma we have lived through, and by being in our body more, we eventually have to face that pain. Like pain, your body also has a million other ways it has developed to keep you healthy and safe, and notify you when you are in danger. When you start tuning into your body, you also learn how to read those messages, and life gets easier. I look at it this way, either face it now or face it later when it has developed into chronic illness. Because when we ignore our emotions for too long, we get sick. But guess what? As a reward we also get to feel intense pleasure by being in our bodies, we get to experience peace, yes the peace of feeling at ease within ourselves. Panic often shows up as a last ditch effort to get a message from our bodies to our mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to prevent things from getting that extreme?
The Earth Element is your Ally.
Well the good news is that you have help. The Earth Element is all about being in your body. In Chinese Medicine, Earth rules the processes of digestion. Nothing taps into the pleasure of the senses like food. Eating nutritious food is not only good for you, it is grounding too. Earth is represented in the wheel of the year by the position of center. Earth gives us the place to start from, and comeback to in between the movement of the other 4 elements. Think about this too, every thing your body needs to be healthy is provided by the earth. All the nutrients, the fresh air, the clean water, the earth takes care of all of that. Not surprisingly the Earth element, when it is out of balance, is characterized by over thinking, and being too much in your own head. By using moxa and needling points on the Earth channels (the Spleen and Stomach) we can help your body stay grounded and help you relax an overactive mind.
Here are some more suggestions for ways to form a better relationship with your own body:
Breathe Consciously: bring your breath all the way down to your belly, really let your abdomen expand as you breathe in, as you exhale let it fall back into normal position. Repeat often! This is great for anxiety, panic and even for chronic digestive problems.
Qi Gong: This is a form of conscious movement and breath exercise from China, the most famous form of Qi Gong is known as Tai chi.
Massage: this really teaches you about how you store tension in your body.
A hot bath: This can really help relax muscles, relieve stress and give you time to reflect.
Acupuncture! (of course you knew I was gonna say this) as well as specific treatments mentioned above for the Earth element, acupuncture can induce a deep state of relaxation that can calm anxiety, relieve stress, and leave you feeling more centered.
What has been your journey with being in your body? What is your favorite ways of getting yourself to be more in your body?