Thank You, Body! - By Hilary Illick
Wouldn’t it be cool if you had an internal navigational system always at your disposal? A system that would readily send you signals about how you are feeling, what you need, what words for you, and what doesn’t?
Well, you already do, of course. In fact, you live in one. Your body, temple of your spiritual self, home to your intellect and emotions, is your very own complex internal navigational system. Your body tells your when to rest, when to move, how to move, when to nourish yourself (as well as what to eat and drink, and what not to eat and drink), how you feel, and what your response is to a given situation or person. It tells you what you need to know when you need to know it. All you have to do is pay attention.
Tuning into the body can be a practical mainstay as well as a source of wonder and awe. One reason yoga is so popular in our culture today is that by yoking the mind and the body (yoga meaning to yoke), we develop a deeper relationship with our spiritual self. If you think about the Quadrinity, the emotional self and the intellect can be all over the place — regretting the past, fearing the future, getting each other all whipped up in either direction — while the body and the spiritual self live in present time. Being present to what’s going on in our body provides a direct channel to our spiritual self. They’re both here, right now. Breathing in unison.
What is your body telling you right now? Take a moment to tune in. Where are you feeling sensations in your body? What are the sensations? Where in your body are you aware of temperature? Warmth? Coolness? How is your breathing? Deep? Shallow? And now, having engaged in this simple act of tuning into your physical body, do you notice an increased sense of presence?
What happens if you close your eyes and ask your body what it needs: what do you need, body? Take whatever answer comes. Your body might need movement, or rest; nourishment, or touch. Trust what your body tells you, and make an arrangement to meet that need. And while you’re in there checking in with your body, why not take a moment to thank this resourceful, precious, hard-working, always-present aspect of your Quadrinity. Get specific. What do you appreciate about your body? Where has it brought you recently? To what important places or situations? And what signals has it been sending? Whether you’ve been heeding these signals or not, take a moment to appreciate your body for sending them. Has your body been struggling? Does it need your loving acknowledgement of that struggle? Try speaking aloud your appreciation, your compassion. Your body has ears — notice how it responds to heading acknowledgement coming from its very own vocal cords.