How often do you tune into and listen to your instincts? You know the ones – a turning in your belly that says something isn’t right or your spidey senses saying there’s something a little off here.
Since moving, we’ve had to start over in all areas of our lives. Not just new friends and new environment, but also new holistic health providers. How do you find the right dentist, acupuncturist, chiro, etc.? Let me tell you, it can be a sloooooow process.
I recently found myself in need of some bodywork. I went to someone who came highly recommended, but after the first visit, I could tell that my body wasn’t responding well to this style of treatments.
My gut was saying this isn’t working with your highly sensitive system, but I wasn’t sure if I just needed to give it some time or if I needed to find someone else to work with.
This is one of those things that can come up whenever you are getting care from someone, and it can cause us to go around in circles trying to decide the right thing to do.
So how do you decide what’s best for you? How do you really know what your gut/body is trying to communicate to you?
Here’s what I do:
Really pay attention to how your system is reacting. Try to put it into words instead of just sensing and feeling it so you get a clearer picture. Sitting quietly with your eyes closed for a few minutes can really help you to tune in and paint a better picture.
Once you know what you are feeling, start asking questions. What is this feeling about? What could my body be trying to communicate to me? Do I feel uncomfortable with this person? Is this harming me? Is this a common response for this type of treatment? Am I avoiding something? Have I responded this way before?
Keep going. Take a look at it from all sides and perspectives to see what information you can gather. I am the queen of asking questions, so if you get stuck, reach out.
Word of Caution: don’t fall into analysis paralysis here. This is more about addressing any concerns that you have about working with this person and getting truthful responses from yourself about your reaction to this particular situation.
Gather more information
If your questions don’t lead you to a decision, go back for another appointment to collect more information. Or give the office a call and talk to the practitioner to get your concerns addressed. Be sure to ask all of your questions and pay attention to how your gut/body respond before, during and after for additional feedback.
Remember: there is no “right” and there is no “wrong”
I find that this rule applies 99% of the time to most scenarios. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to make the right choice. To not screw up. When in reality, it doesn’t really matter. And in the end, if it truly feels like it wasn’t the right choice, part of how we learn is from our mistakes so we can put it in our growth and learning bucket for future use.
Ultimately, I decided to have another appointment with this person and talk about my concerns. They completely understood what was happening to my system and we agreed that another version of treatment was what I needed. I even received an awesome referral!
We all deserve to be well taken care of and whomever we work with needs to be supportive of our well-being and our interests. Surrounding yourself with that kind of support can sometimes be challenging, but is worth it in the long run.
Are you listening to your body? What steps do you take to understand what it's telling you?
I'm not one of those people that gets super excited about their birthday. I generally try to celebrate each day of life, so in a sense birthdays are no more special than any other day. In fact, I don't recall many special birthday moments. I think this is due, in part, to the fact that the memories we hold on to most are the painful ones. At first this seems counter intuitive. Why would we cling to the painful memories instead of the pleasant ones? Actually, we are programmed to hold the things that hurt us (in Sanskrit, these are samskaras - mental impressions stuck within our subtle body) so that we can heal those old wounds. This is where our growth in life comes from.
So, I have started thinking of my birthday as a day of rebirth. This year, I allowed myself (almost) a complete day of doing exactly whatever I wanted, spending several hours reading Anatomy of the Spirit (I highly recommend it), by Caroline Myss, on cakras 2 and 3. I have spent the past several months tired and worn out due to saying “yes” when I needed to say “no,” and from not taking that deep rest and down time that I needed and deserved. There are always lessons to be learned, and that is what makes life worth living. In the book, Caroline Myss mentions stories in which clients had to "call back their spirits into their body." I realized that I needed to do this. Or more correct, I needed to unbury my spirit from the pile of "real world junk" that she was buried under. My energy was running low and I was struggling because I could no longer hear my spirit guiding me. She was buried because I momentarily lost sight of what was really important in life – being in this world, not of it.
Getting lost is so easy to do, even for people who have strong yoga and meditative practices – present company included.
After reading, I drew a bath and laid in the tub (it was a day where I got to do whatever I wanted) where I reconnected to my spirit. I allowed myself to release years of patterns that were no longer serving me. (Note: I can only let go of the ones that I am aware of. Meditation takes care of some, and then as life unfolds, still more patterns will become clear, so I can learn, work through, and release those. It's never ending.) But for now, I could feel the life force once again moving within my body. I am reborn and ready for this new year of my life.
Another happy rebirth-day.
Have you ever felt disconnected from your spirit? How do you keep yourself connected?
Before I move into the restful time of turning inward as we move into the darkest part of the year, I have put in some serious time for workshop and event planning. This work and sense of accomplishment will make the upcoming hibernation all the more sweet. I’m certainly look forward to some deep rest.
This time of year is a time we so often, instinctively, turn inward and allow for introspection and rest in order to plant new seeds, allow them to take root for the springtime, and shed things we are ready to let go. We do this by settling down, embracing the darkness of the day, and resting. We eat seasonal foods and drink warm beverages. We curl up by the fire with a loved one or an extraordinary book. We allow the world to fall away as we fall into ourselves. We reflect on the year and all the things we've done and the things we didn't get to do. We regroup. We make a new plan for the new year. We give ourselves that deep healing rest.
With the Winter Solstice comes the darkness: an aspect that means gloom and doom for some and freedom for others. At times we must travel a great distance in the dark. And sometimes, we must do it alone. It's at these times, when, if we remember our own light, we can make the journey less scary and a little more dim. We can pull ourselves out. When we recognize our own light, we regain our strength to continue the journey without wanting to give up.
And when I say we must go there alone, I mean the inward journey. We each have a journey and no two are alike. It's the journey with all the twists, turns, plenty of bumps, and no handy road map. Recognizing our inner light is recognizing that these are the times when we must turn to our practice with steadfast determination. The practices that lead us back to ourselves. It is our practice that holds the answers. Our practice is the road map. We often feel so lost, but the instructions are with us at all times. We just have to remember them, and we have to remember to use them.
"Your right is to the work alone, but never to its fruits." ~Bhagavad Gita
So I encourage you, as we move into this momentous Winter Solstice – unlike anything we've experienced within our lifetime, to allow for rest, make time for your practice, get on your mat, and dust off your cushion. You will be grateful that you did.
Jenn White, Yoga Educator, Meditation Teacher, and Owner of Embodied Bliss, began her journey of yoga and meditation in 2004 while recovering from a back injury. Feeling lost, restless and seeking something more from life, she found her path through meditation.
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