When in pain, it is very very difficult to embrace the body, listen to the messages that it is sending, and not curse it or despise it. Pain sucks. It just does. But, if you think about it, how else is the body going to tell us that we are imbalanced? How else can the body get our attention and request a change in our behaviors?
If you are like lots of people, the body is largely an afterthought. It’s just kind of there in the background of your mind until you want to do a workout or are suffering some kind of ailment. Listening to the body is not often a prominent feature in most of our lives. For the most part, we align with our thinking, our analyzing, our thought processes much more. The body just comes along for the ride until imbalance sets in and it has to get our attention.
As for me, I live a tremendously stressful life. I dislike that this is the case, but it’s the truth. I have had a very, very stressful life, all the way from early childhood onward. But, some real beauty has come from this pain and struggle. My traumatized beginnings and stress-packed existence are what have made me such a great writer and why I’ve come to such a strong appreciation for all that my body has put up with (due to my wiring and choices).
This week, I am having some problems with my right hip and last week it was an episode of a bulging disk. While I am very healthy, I do have some reoccurring issues with my joints and back. This is where being large is a real challenge for me. The fact is that bigger bodies are typically harder on their joints. No matter how healthy I am or how much I work out, my joints are taking a hit and they let me know right away when I have pushed a yoga pose too far. For the record, I always push my yoga poses too far. I am such a tank. **Sigh**
I’m sure that my body has been warning me about the impending doom of this current pain cycle, but I haven’t listened and therefore, I’m now paying the price. Before humans get to the actual “feeling pain” stage, whatever the pain is, the body warns us. It sends warning shots. It tells us that something bad is about to happen if we continue down a particular path. The problem is that most of us do not listen very well. We are not taught in childhood how to connect with and check in with our bodies. I don’t know one person who was ever taught how to take inventory of, and listen to, their body. I was never taught that.
I was taught to ignore the body and that the body is sin-based and not to be trusted. I was taught that the body misleads one from their true path to God. Even in the Buddhism that I later practiced, there is a total, encompassing emphasis on superseding the body and its desires. You are taught to transcend the body, the mind, and all attachments to worldly affairs. While I understand why this is a feature of many religions, I do not at all like it.
Now, this post is not a dissertation on religion, but I’ll sum up my opinion by saying that most of our religions have harmed the body and our relationship with it, tremendously. If we are here in bodies to expand as spirits, then why is the body considered so suspect, so in need of such strict governance, and considered such a hindrance to our supposed spiritual growth? Why is the body such a villain? This needs to change. Religion has damaged our relationship and dialog with the body and has placed the body below other human attributes like thought and expression. This is a huge disservice.
Until we, as a species, embrace all aspects of living and accept them, we will not fully and fruitfully live or become an overwhelmingly positive force on this planet. We need to, for our own survival, learn to listen to our bodies and each other. We need to listen, accept, react, express, and then advance. We need to heed the warning bells that our bodies give us and address problems before they become problems. We need to listen, then listen some more.
As for my pain, ice is my very best friend. I love ice. I am icing my hip as I post this and doing my very best to send soothing thoughts to my aching body parts. I am telling my body that I love her, I am here, I am not going anywhere, and I’ll do my best to do better next time. My hip is beginning to smile. Just a little. 🙂