Every time I pause for a moment and think about the human body I am humbled and inspired. It is a home for my soul’s travels on earth. It tastes, sees, hears, smells, touches and senses. Every pumping vein and every freckle on my skin is where it’s supposed to be. A perfectly designed, incredibly harmonious constellation we call human life. Magic.
Over many years I wrestled with an assortment of aches and pains that didn’t want to shake away. I saw loads of different practitioners, each with good merits, but no one could provide me with the ultimate fix I was looking for. And therein rested the very essence of my problem.
In our wonderful Western world, we tend to view the body and mind as separate, and when something goes wrong, we look to someone else to solve it. The mind belongs to a psychologist or counsellor, the body to a doctor or medical practitioner.
There are more and more fantastic integrative practices that look at the body holistically. People are practicing yoga more and we are learning to be mindful and to meditate. All delicious! But we still talk about the mind-body connection as if we need to facilitate their relationship.
When we get nervous, we feel butterflies in our bellies, we flush red with embarrassment, our palms sweat with fear and our tears are the waters of our sadness and joy. Before we even have the chance to think, our bodies respond instantly to our thoughts or emotions and often this is unconscious. So when it comes to pain, disease and body structure, why do few people consider this relationship relevant?
Beneath your physical sheath, there is an extraordinary map of your psychoemotional being. The quality of your tissue (tight or flaccid), the quantity of your tissue (excess or drain), posture, pain and the function of your body can reveal what emotions are storing and creating your current state of wellbeing.
The body and the mind are not separate, but one and the same. A unified field of intelligence we call the “bodymind”.
Sit with this for a moment.
But how does it work?
There are chemical messengers produced in your brain AND in your body called neuropeptides. They spring into action at the touch of a thought and move through the fluid in your body like chemical keys, searching for keyholes to unlock. These keyholes are called receptors and there are hundreds of them sitting on the edge of your cells. Like lily pads in a pond, receptors dance and scan, waiting for chemical keys to swim up and mount them in a process known as binding. When a fitting neuropeptide tickles its way into a receptor, click, it unlocks the cell, penetrating a message deep into its center where a number of things can happen.
When we express or acknowledge our emotions, these chemicals release. When we repress, ignore or deny, their energy remains in your body and can cause big changes to cell behaviour and structure. This can create pressure in your body affecting the interconnected weave of tissue and causing you to feel that part of your body even more – pain.
When you have pain, your body is talking to you, steadily and continuously signalling you. The same is happening when you are carrying excess weight or hunching at your shoulders for example. Each part of your body has different emotional anatomy.
Ask not why am I overweight, but why am I eating when I’m not hungry? Why am I not listening to my body? And rather than feeding my stomach, am I feeding a hungry heart? Why have I built a layer of armour? Did this start when I was younger at a time when I needed to protect or defend myself, run away or retract into my shell?
Ask not why do I have a sore lower back, but what issues do I have about security, trust and self-protection? Do I have an overall issue of support and being held, stemming from a fear of not being able to provide for myself and trusting that the world is not a threatening place?
As you learn your emotional anatomy, you will literally see your mind expressing itself in your body – your body speaking your mind.
There is a practical aspect to this. A real-world, every-day way to come into your body where observation of sensation enables your powerful mind to consciously reprogram and redirect energy in your body.
Start by making space inside yourself for yourself to be guided by the wisdom of your body. It’s like a brain and if you listen carefully and pay attention, it will tell you what you need to heal and who you might need to help you. It will tell you when you are hungry, what food to eat and what movement it needs. It will tell you where you store blocked emotions and why they are there.
I want to be clear on something. Not every emotion will manifest physically in your body, and likewise, not every physical ailment has an emotional root cause. Of course accidents happen. Of course there are hereditary and environmental factors at play; a person who works in a radioactive plant has a greater chance of developing cancer.
Learning the unique code of your body is a process of raw honesty, quietness and connection with yourself, where you respond to the subtle messages within. Inspired by Lao Tzu, I share with you a bodymind adaptation.
Watch your thoughts, they become feelings
Watch your feelings, they become attitudes
Watch your attitudes, they become actions
Watch your actions, they become patterns
Watch your patterns, they become character
Watch your character, it determines your happiness
Watch your happiness, it determines your experience in this life.
Truth is not in a book, at a motivational talk or in the opinion of a titled professional. Truth is in your body. It is how you have “embodied” your life. Get intimate with your body to get intimate with what is. This is your home and there is magnificent wisdom here.
Light and joy x
Contact Janine for: Bodymind therapy, bodywork and healing.
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