Do you Live your Body? (Part II)

Dear ___

In my last newsletter, I shared my journey in re-learning how to live in my body. 

This is a difficult subject for the many women who don’t want to live in their bodies.  For many of us, our bodies were hurt or have been the target of shame (and we therefore believe that they are the source of the shame.)  And since we feel this pain and shame in our bodies themselves, it makes sense that we try to disconnect from them.

One of our main strategies for disconnecting is through using food – either not eating or eating too much. Both work.  And both have side effects. For those of us who turn to comfort foods or eat enough to deaden the pain, the side effect (besides feeling sluggish and dull ) is weight gain. 

Great!  Now we have something to focus on instead of the pain that caused us to eat. We can focus on our body image. Now we can try to change the way our body looks instead of focusing on what is actually driving us to eat. 

We are encouraged to do this, of course, by the diet industry. And many of us learned this pattern from our mothers.

But today’s newsletter is not about changing our body image.   Instead, I’d like to focus on how to develop a relationship with your actual flesh and bones body.  Why? Because if we’re not inhabiting our bodies, we miss the pleasures of the senses that can only be experienced when we are in our bodies instead of lost in our thoughts. Experiencing our senses make us feel alive! And, if we don’t experience and take in all the pleasures of sight, smell, touch and hearing, we need to have all our sensory needs experienced through our taste buds– hence we overeat.

We also miss the wisdom our bodies know. Through our intuition- our sixth sense.

For example, have you ever had a sense that you felt uncomfortable with a certain person or that you had uncomfortable feelings about a choice you were considering –but you talked yourself out of what you were feeling?  If you had trusted your intuition, would things have worked out better for you?  Our intuition lives in our bodies but we need to be aware of our feelings and sensations if we are going to benefit from their wisdom.

Do you remember the experiment I suggested in the last newsletter?  To ask yourself frequently throughout the day, “How do I feel?”  What do I want?”  “What do I need?”

These are questions that the body can answer.  The mind thinks it knows the answer.  But it is often wrong.  It knows what it thinks you should feel.  Or want. But the mind can confuse us.  Part of the mind thinks we should do A.  Another part thinks we should do B.  We go back and forth, confused and indecisive. 

But the body knows. 

The next time you are trying to make a decision – whether it’s to take a new job, whether to eat another cookie, whether it’s to go to bed – try this experiment. Imagine yourself doing that thing. Feel yourself doing it.  Now drop into your body and notice what you feel.  Your body knows what you need.  It is the greatest source of wisdom that we have.  Not your therapist.  Not your mother.  Not your best friend.  All these people want the best for you.  But none of us know what is right for you better than your body.

If you want to “live your best life,” as Oprah says, learn how to live in your body. And listen to its wisdom.

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