Your Body Is Talking. Are You Listening?
The society we live in trains us to turn to only our minds for solutions. It starts as young as four years old in the elementary school classroom. We ask children to THINK their way through a problem- to rely on their brains, not their hearts or their bodies to inform their learning.
This goes directly against universal wisdom that says to also FOLLOW YOUR HEART. But how do we learn to listen to what our hearts are saying? Accessing this trough of knowledge is not taught or modeled with the same tenacity.
I work with a lot of women who are in an internal war between what their mind says and what their heart desires. I don’t think they’re at odds. Rather, we don’t know how to hear our heart. We have to relearn how to listen and how it speaks. When we’re out of practice listening to our heart, we have to turn to our bodies for the information.
Our bodies translate the messages of our hearts.
Most of us don’t have much practice listening to the signals of the body in order to understand our heart’s messages.
I want to invite you to look at the places you normally try to run or hide from so that you can hear what your heart is sharing with you.
In my early 20s, I decided to have a breast reduction. I made this very important decision by using a trick that many women use. Poll everyone and use their answers to make a decision.
My best friend called. Jess, you don’t need to do this. Your body is GORGEOUS the way it is.
But I’d really like to move through the world with less breast, I said. I want to run without the weight. I want to wear super cute sports bras like the girls in yoga class.
Another friend called. You’ve been talking about this for years. Do it. You’ll be lighter.
But I don’t want to make changes to my body, I said. I was given this body for a reason.
I discovered that when I let my mind take charge, I could argue either way. At the end, I felt more confused than when I began.
My heart, however, seemed silent on the whole thing. I had no idea how to listen to my heart’s desire.
I chose yes. I woke up from that surgery overwhelmed by utter pain. I had never had such an invasive procedure and my physical body hurt. I quickly realized that I was also an emotional wreck. I was devastated by the choice I had made. I felt like I had scarred myself. I realized that I wished I had said no. I was deeply ashamed that I didn’t know sooner that I didn’t actually want to have a breast reduction.
Shame is a crippling emotion we try to escape. It’s heavy in my body. It causes my chest to cave in, my belly to drop, and an ache in my heart that I don’t understand. It makes me want to hide from everyone I know.
It took me years of unpacking and healing to understand that the deep shame I felt after my breast reduction was pointing to a desire to deeply accept the beautiful body that I had. It was a craving to be in deep communion with my physical self in order to nourish my being.
Stay in Your Body
We often try to vacate our bodies and detach from its messages when we have a feeling we don’t like or that feels painful to us. Feelings like shame, anger, jealousy, and doubt are perceived as “negative emotions.”
So we look for escape hatches, such as overeating, logging onto social media, binging on Netflix. Or we shut down and have a drink, oversleep, or overextend our schedules so we don’t have to feel the sensations in our body.
When we numb out or shut down from these “negative emotions,” we miss the signals that our body is sending about our heart’s desires.
Our bodies translate the messages of the heart.
How to Unpack Shame
Brene Brown, a shame researcher and storyteller says that shame has two tracks that it plays in our heads.
- You’re not good enough.
- Who do you think you are?
Take a minute here and now: Where is your brain telling you you’re not good enough right now?
On a piece of paper, jot down a few of these places.
These spots might be around your money, how many clients you have, the end of a relationship, or life not looking like you planned.
In order to not let the negative and heavy trip us up and shut us down, we have to learn how to hang with it, and to listen anyway.
Choose one of your places that you just wrote down and bring into your imagination. Hold that memory and that root thought. Close your eyes for a second. Let the shame wash over you and notice: Where does this live in the body?
Tune into the sensations that you FEEL in your body. Notice the sensations, even as you detach from the story.
Some questions that might help you identify sensations that arise in the body:
Does it feel heavy or light as you recall the memory?
Perhaps you feel a caving of the chest?
Is there a numbness anywhere?
Where do you notice tension? Where does it feel loose?
What else are you noticing?
When we begin to realize that we can stay in our body with the experience without running or hiding, we get to see where our authentic road signs are pointing. What if these sensations were just road signs from your body trying to point you to your heart’s desires? You get to have this information on tap.
Of course, a lot of our road signs are personal. There is no one-size fits all, and learning how your body speaks to you is essential to understanding what your heart is saying. If you’re wondering how to experience this on an even deeper level, I want to offer you a Complimentary Internal Compass Session where we dive deep into discovering the ways your body is speaking to you.
In deep listening and uncovering,
This post was originally published on JessicaLeighLyons.com and shared with permission.
Jessica Leigh Lyons is a seeker & facilitator of joy with young professionals and one of Bossed Up’s featured Bootcamp Trainers. She is a Certified Life Coach through the International Coaching Academy and holds a masters degree in education from the University of Colorado, Denver as well as a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Delaware. With a decade of varied experience teaching & leading youth in a multitude of learning modalities, she has been coaching young professionals since 2013.