It's nice, being on speaking terms with my body.
Tuesday morning I woke up before the alarm with a painful tummy. It was enough to bring me up into a sitting position and take away my (usually very easy) ability to sleep through. A couple of years ago...heck...this time LAST year...I wouldn't have had any solutions. My only response to such pain has always been:
1. Try to be very still, so as not to make it worse.
2. Try not to complain or get all emotional, as that only makes it worse.
3. Try to just ignore it.
4. Just muddle through.
All this time of letting God teach me to love my body, though, has had this wondrous effect: my mind and body are connected in ways they never were before. Perhaps knowing this will help you understand: before this adventure, I detested my body. Hated it as an enemy and a source of shame and contempt. Was adamant that, "I am not my body...my body just carries me around."
Today I am past the worst of that. I begin to understand that my body IS a part of who I am, and not just a vessel to carry around what REALLY matters about me. I am more whole than I have ever been.
The joy of that wholeness...I am learning how to ask my body questions and hear its answers. So when I sat, curled in pain on my bed from the pain, I didn't ignore it or just muddle through. I asked my body what was wrong. I listened. Felt. Listened some more. Some answers came to me.
Some of the pain was just simple muscle soreness from returning to running after being off for more than a month (if you have a little cute flat belly, you maybe haven't experienced the fact that carrying your gut around CAN cause soreness, when life gets bouncy.) That pain could be addressed with massage. It helped, a lot. But it wasn't the whole story.
Some of the pain was diet related. I mentioned before that I am on a mostly beans-and-rice diet right now, for financial reasons. You gotta drink plenty of water, if you're gonna eat that way. I mostly do. Monday, I didn't. Some of the pain was as simple as: stuff is crowded inside there and can't get uhhh moving without a little fluid. Two big mugs of hot water later that part of the pain left me.
A good hour of focused attention, meaning asking my body questions, listening, trying what I know to do, and listening some more...took the pain away. It hasn't returned to me since.
I'm pretty sure this stuff is elementary for a lot of you out there. Like, you've been doing it since you were little. Maybe you're shaking your head and thinking, "Duhhhh...." But this is for the rest of us, who have spent our lives as enemies to the very flesh that carries us everywhere we go. A story of hope, that it doesn't ALWAYS have to be like that.
If you can't hear what your body says to you, may I suggest one more time: step into the adventure of letting God teach you to love your body.
He'll blow your little mind.