Your Body Is Speaking (Are You Listening?)

loveyourselfLast night I watched an impactful reminder of why it’s crucial we practice the wisdom of taking care of ourselves first.
You know what a big deal I think this is; thus it bears repeating.
You know how coaches always say to put your own oxygen mask on first?

And do you know how many coaches are good at saying it but not living it?  Yes, coaches, this post is for us, too!

It isn’t just a page taken from the “what-to-say-when-you-don’t-know-what-else-to-say” coach playbook.
Coaches preach this because it matters!  It is critical we take care of ourselves first and foremost.
Not putting ourselves at the end of the list, after everything else is done and everyone else is happy & taken care.  YOU have to be first.  Or you’re no good to anyone.
Just ask Russell, the leader of the dominating tribe on Survivor (one of tv’s most popular reality shows), who proved it last week.
In the most recent episode (which I just saw yesterday since I was at a coach conference last week), Russell pushed himself to the point of exhaustion and was removed for medical purposes from the game – against his wishes.
One of Survivor’s most powerful players couldn’t stand, couldn’t even keep his eyes open, actually blacked out (twice) and yet still insisted he was “good to go.”
(If you didn’t see it, you can still read it or watch it.)
Who here is doing the same thing in their life?
Who is ignoring inner guidance?  Who pushes themselves to do things that don’t feel good?
You think that’s taking you anywhere good?

Please be clear: when we live this way, NO ONE wins.

I know we think we “have to” because it’s our job, others are counting on us, no one else will do it, it has to be done, etc. etc. etc.
But none of those reasons (rather, excuses) are stronger than what is good for you.  And your body will tell you so if you think you know better!
Bottom line, when we’re passed out on the ground (or even headed in that direction), we aren’t serving anyone.
Here’s the beautiful thing: it’s not a mystery how to practice this.  Your body (or your inner guidance) continually gives you information on what that is for you.
The question is: are you listening? And if you’re hearing it, are you respecting it?
Let’s not require a crash in order to get the message and change our ways.
Joy set a good example today in her post on asking for help, and much as I didn’t like seeing Russell leave the game, he offered us a powerful example as well.
I’ll lead the way here by posting in comments a couple ways I know I can do a better job of respecting my “feel good.”  Will you join me?
That’s a step in the downstream direction!

  • October 26, 2009
  • So I finally finished that half written post I was talking about in my comment here! LOL. Always, perfect timing! Here it is ~

  • The saying “you can’t truly love another if you don’t know how to love yourself” holds true every time. You are of the most value to others when you are in alignment with yourself.

  • Well…….last spring I was caught up in a last minute “dash to the market on my bike in a windstorm” just because I realized too late that the next day was a holiday as well as having taken on a last minute babysitting job for my granddaughter which I wasn’t really thrilled about…so I was trying to press too much into too little time, took the bike with the seat for my granddaughter on the back instead of my own which has ample storage space on the back in order to “save time”, ended up falling off the bike in an attempt to catch something which was blowing out of the basket on the front of the bike and…broke my leg. At the time I couldn’t believe that this was happening to ME..of all people, right!! But I soon got the message….slow down and start taking care of yourself and your own needs instead of always being available for the wants and needs of others.
    So the “dash to the store” ended up being 10 weeks in a cast and 5 weeks of rehab, and I am still wondering if I really learned my lesson. I still catch myself dashing here and there and tending to the needs of others and then feeling resentful…or end up blaming myself for being so dense! So thanks, Jeannette for the great reminder. I am taking it to heart!!!!…Blessings, Sallie

  • Mitch says:

    MissyB, don’t feel too bad. Internet and TV are my *ideal* form of rest. lol!
    This post goes hand in hand with the idea of knocking out tolerations. There are a lot of things in my life that I would like to change that I don’t have immediate control over. However! After consciously noticing all the things I’ve been grumbling about, I *do* have the power to change a few. Like the crack in my exhaust pipe that causes my engine to be deafeningly loud every time I drive my car which I’ve been ignoring for almost a YEAR! And now that I’m paying attention to it, I realize it’s been driving me out of my mind this whole time!
    Thanks for the reminder, Jeannette. As of now, either that car gets fixed or I’m riding the bus. 😀

  • Gillian says:

    On Self-Love:
    “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” -BUDDHA.

  • Kim Falconer says:

    Hey everyone,
    Fabulous post!!! Thank you!
    Oh I have much to say on this topic–the relationship between the body, astrology and the art of being…a whole guest post perhaps? It’s multifaceted!
    Inside the astrological chart is the key to well being, vitality, self-actualization and awareness. The signs of the zodiac, the planets, Sun and Moon and their interconnections at the time of birth mirror the one being born. It’s a symbolic map of life, inner and outer. By looking at the natural needs and contributions of each zodiac sign and comparing them with the activities and experiences currently expressed, we get a glimpse at our own brand of authenticity—what feels good. And believe me, if it doesn’t match parental approval, cultural and social norms, loved one’s expectations, we may have repressed ‘our own brand of authenticity’ quite deeply! Then, as a response, the body feels dis-ease.
    In this way …illness is a message that something in life is not right and needs adjusting.
    When we listen, as Jeannette says, to our bodies, we are tuning in to a primal guidance. The body is our first contact with ‘reality’ — what’s perceived as ‘out there’ and it responds with incredible honesty. This is why body language is so telling! It can’t lie. It can, however, respond to what we believe.
    If we say we are dead tired, spun out, going to catch the flu, not strong enough. fat . . . guess what? The body LISTENS to us and complies. If we say we are fit, strong, perfect shape, vibrant. . .the body LISTENS and complies.
    The messages from the body are complex. They mirror what we tell it, what we think. They also show us what is unconscious, repressed, not lived out. Example: We may want a hot fit body but if we say, ‘I’m fat and lazy’, we get fat and lazy. Then again, if we say, ‘I’m getting fit, I’m looking good!’ and we start to attract romantic attention BUT underneath that desire for hotness is an unconscious fear of relationship, the body will default to fat and lazy to protect against the fear. (unconscious desire trumps conscious desire every time).
    Astrologically, dis-ease is related to the signs of the zodiac starting with Aries (the head–headaches) to Pisces (The feet–foot/locomotor problems). Each sign wants to express in a healthy way (Aries wants to be the boss) but if we are not able, we manifest in dis-ease (headache).
    Example: If you get headaches, you can look to where Aries is in your chart (what area of life) and start taking more control there. Headaches then disappear because you are tapping into your own authenticity! The message was read!
    Make sense? Again, there are very complex aspect in play but it boils down to the body as energy mid-way between the worlds. On one side our conscious thoughts tell it what to become and on the other side our unconscious thoughts are seeking a way to the surface. All the more reason to be good to this brave and wonderful vessel!!!

  • Debra says:

    @Erik: Right on! Love your examples. It’s really that simple. …and yes! The discoveries are absolutely endless when we attune to them.
    @Jessica: I feel you, sister!! 🙂 Literally…as well as figuratively. The examples you mention are awesome; especially the hair follicles wiggling…a personal favorite experience of mine and my hubby’s.
    I’m so happy to hear that the book you’re reading is bringing you back to your core reception…so that you can feel your way into your greater awareness again with grace and ease!!
    @Kim: Calling Kim, if you’re out there in the periphery on this one…
    Can you speak to this astrologically, regarding the elemental nature at hand for us?
    I mentioned in my comment that I have a whole lot of earth & plenty of water in my chart…so I feel LOTS in my body. I’m an Earth Girl resonator, for sure.
    Regardless of this for each individual…as I understand it we as a collective have moved out of a powerful cycle with Pluto in Sagittarius almost a year ago (transformer, collective, consciousness, directed, divine, focused) and into Pluto in Capricorn (form, vibration, creation, earth, life, structure) until 2024.
    In your wise opinion…would this shift be a part of why people are becoming more aware of their body messages…because we’re more readily tapped into the grounded, formed earth energy of Pluto in Cap?
    And if so…what would you suggest to help us foster this energy into our greater awareness with Grace and Ease? In other words…
    Any divine tips on how we can get comfortable in our bodies through these magical times?
    Thanks in advance! XO ~Deb

  • Jessica says:

    WOW! One of my favorite subjects and something I’ve been working on… although a challenge right now.
    Debra, I relate to your posts! I “get it”- ding, ding!! I don’t know how much “earth” I have in my chart, but I feel it. My senses and body are so responsive and sensitive! I really enjoy The Resonance Barometer analogy. I look forward to reading more!
    It is interesting how the comments have geared toward listening to (or not) the negative signals. What I’ve learned also is to look for the POSITIVE signals. I can’t describe the wonderful feeling in my chest (heart) when I read/hear or experience something that is aligned and good for my soul!! My heart sort of beats out of my chest when it is really intensely on track for me! Also, have you noticed when you make a choice in alignment with our soul, how our body suddenly feels a relaxation? A feeling of “ahhhhhh”?! Suddenly, a weight is lifted?
    Awhile back I had done a lot of studying and conscious focus on this… and I could have the slightest of twinges, tickles, ringing in the ear, or notice my hair folicles wiggling… I loved being able to use this to help me choose what to do.
    Life got carried away for me and now I am in a place of perpetual pain and trying to sift through what direction to go… this post is such perfect timing and in support of my well being. I can feel my heart open the more comments I read! Thank you SO much everyone!
    I also find it interesting that just last night I was reading a book about using visualization for postural dynamic alignment. It is very research intensive and so a bit “dense” in facts (in a good, fascinating way)… so I was reading about how our cells transport messages from our environment to our brain. The interesting point that jumped out to me: “The nervous system does not supply us with all the information it gathers with its sensors throughout the body. If it did, we would be flooded with information. The brain completes the picture, makes sense of it, gives it meaning.”
    I thought to myself “oh, I must have faulty sensors because I feel as though I am overwhelmed by stimuluses! I feel flooded constantly”. So I wonder if we expand our awareness, we can “read” more of the information gathered. For instance, energy around us, the “vibes” that our consciousness can register. Our subconcious is already getting the information, but our concious mind needs to be able to handle deciphering it all.
    Anyhow, this is book is all about imagery, which although doesn’t speak about manifesting or spiritual in nature, there is a lot that applies when one wants to expand awareness of their body, how to use imagery to bring about change. If one can visualize, then our body will respond, and it gives the scientific explanations why it works!
    It is such a nice link to this topic, and how very timely! I’ve also started this past week, to go back to the study and excercises that I was doing when I was so in tune with my body signals. It is all so connected and I thank you all for your contributions! Wonderful!!! I really needed this! 🙂

  • Erik says:

    Thanks for posting this one Jeannette! It is a very good reminder (that I need at the moment) to take better care of myself.
    Those bodily signs really aren’t to be underestimated. I think, in case of illness or the like, it is always that we did not hear our inner voice. I we deny it, it shows up again, but this time in our bodies. Your body never lies – you can ‘read’ your body like a book that tells you exactly where your change is needed and most of the time you can take it literally.
    Stomach upset? -> Something was not ‘well digested’.
    Backpain (or shoulder pain)? -> Carrying / shouldering too much?
    Breathing problems? -> What takes away your breath / air to live?
    etc etc the list goes on and on 😉
    @Debra: This tuning to our bodily signals is very very worthwhile to do and I must agree: there are so many signals that we discover when we do :).

  • Berta says:

    This is hard to do at times because I feel like I am stepping on other’s toes, even when I am being as diplomatic as I can be. But ultimately, by not speaking up for myself I am doing others a disservice as well as myself. If my intent is to honor my values but speaking up does step on toes, I need to realize that my intent was pure and the other’s response is not my responsibility. Often, they will grow from my honesty. And lastly, by not speaking up I stomp on my own toes knowingly, and then have even more issues for my bodies to revolt against.
    Way easier to preach than practice!

  • Debra says:

    HAH! Just read Susan’s brilliant one sentence answer to your question, Jeannette: “Could body/somatic messages be the tangible component of inner guidance? The ‘Hey, Pay Attention’ indicator?”
    Brevity is such magic. (One day it may be mine…??) LOL
    Yup! The ‘Hey, Pay Attention!’ indicator = The Resonance Barometer! 🙂

  • Debra says:

    Still tuned in…yes! (albeit several hours later… 😉 )
    I love your questions:
    “… what do you see as the difference – or is there any distinction? – between body and inner guidance? Is it all the same? Or IS there a difference?”
    I feel this is about relationship/symbiosis with some distinction much more than it being about difference.
    The body works in tandem with inner guidance. The body is the reading of the inner messaging, much like our feelings are.
    When one gets super attuned to the bodies signals it’s downright fascinating how many signs are there! (Right down to shifts in pulse rate…and strange tastes in the mouth…or suddenly feeling itchy!)
    I liken this scenario to that of a barometer. If the inner workings of the barometer measure the pressure…the needle is responsible for registering the measurement so we can see/read it.
    It’s the same with our inner guidance and our bodies. Our inner guidance system measures (discerns, feels, relates, etc.) the message and the body responsibly registers the measurement so we can ‘see/read’ it.
    We’ve mostly touched on how our bodies respond with trauma, pain, injury or disease here…as a result of our not paying attention or giving awareness to the inner messages we’ve been receiving…and our inattention to what we really need.
    The thing is, this system is ALWAYS working. When we’re feeling good, full of energy, healthy, vibrant, alive…even coordinated, agile, etc…it’s because our body is responding/registering the reflection message of self care/self love.
    Our body is in constant response to our inner guidance. We just tend to recognize (and give credit to) the yucky stuff more than the good stuff sometimes. **Another key area to give our attention to: Appreciating the ‘in-order-ness’ of what I like to call our “Resonance Barometer” at ALL times…good and seemingly otherwise.
    The more we work on the attuning process (becoming more aware of the subtleties as well as the biggies) the more readily we recognize what we really need in every given moment.
    I can’t begin to tell you how HUGE this has been for me! ‘Life changing’ is a gross understatement!
    How does that feel for you? Does it register? 🙂
    Thanks for the questions…and for the opportunity to explore this great topic more deeply with you. (It feels good.)
    Love ya! ~Deb
    PS~ I wrote a post about our ‘Resonance Barometers’ some time back…here’s a link for those with further curiosity:

  • Janette says:

    Having spent most of 2009 dealing with a painfully dodgy elbow, I am NOW LISTENING!!
    The elbow was the final baseball bat that the Universe needed to wield in order to get me to listen – because despite the advice of true experts (including you, Jeannette, and many others) I was still putting everyone else first.
    Of course, in my job I would spend my days telling other people how important it is for them to look after themselves and not overwork.
    *headdesk again*
    But I’m changing. I’ve been practising on family and friends, asking for help when I need it, declining requests for me to do things I don’t want to do and generally prioritising my own needs. I have left organisations, removed Facebook “friends”, unsubscribed from needy e-mail newsletters. I’ve become way more conscious of the distinction between working to achieve something positive and fighting against something negative.
    And I am having so much fun! Yes, there are times I forget — but I’m even learning not to beat myself up for those.
    Now that the arm is on its way to recovery, I am even beginning to look forward to returning to work, so that I can model my shiny new way of operating in the world. After all, who was going to listen to me advising them on self-care in the workplace when I was setting such a bad example?!
    I know that some of my colleagues will be shocked — ooh, hear the old story? Well, who knows how they will feel. However they react to the new me is none of my business, right? And boy does that feel good!

  • MissyB says:

    I often wonder if that’s why I had an accident – because I didn’t pay attention to rest. So something really big happened – and hey I had to rest. Now pain tells me I need to rest, and so I do. Pain gives me the utmost respect for my body (if only I could feed it well with that in mind).
    Now I listen with one ear on I need to rest and one ear with I need to push myself a little further otherwise I’ll never push my boundries of getting fully fit again.
    I do wonder how many of us fully rest. I am sat here, resting as such, but the tv is on and I’m busy typing away to you guys. Either one could be considered as restful but perhaps not both at the same time ! I loved Tia, for whatever reason, she turned the pc off for a day or so. Wow what a release that feeling is. So much so, I’ll be doing it again.

  • Pure Potential says:

    Could body/somatic messages be the tangible component of inner guidance? The ‘Hey, Pay Attention’ indicator?

  • Brilliant, Susan!! That makes perfect sense.
    Appreciate your bringing clarity to it for me!

  • Pure Potential says:

    Love – Selflessness as a character flaw!!! Starting the needlepoint pillow with that phrase immediately!! LOL

  • Tia, I think we play this game a lot! Shows how aligned we are!
    Speaking of, I tried DMing you earlier on twitter – no go. More tweetdeck challenges?

  • Oh and did you read my last post about my mid week time out :)? Practicing what I preach, baby!

  • So THAT’S how you got so good at this, Debra .. ha!
    And what another fabulous example of it. You know, we get these “little” moments down like having the balls (pardon my french) to say “I don’t like smoke, let’s move” and then we get that much better at being able to say, “You know, I don’t like being treated like crap. Let’s divorce.”
    Debra, I hope you’re still tuned in here, because I think you can answer this question that I’ve been tossing around …
    … what do you see as the difference – or is there any distinction? – between body and inner guidance? Is it all the same? Or IS there a difference?

  • No wayyyyyyyyy!! I have a half written post about listening to our bodies from about a week ago lying in my drafts folder… get out of my head Ms J! :O
    What my upcoming post is about: Everytime my life needs a big change and I ignore it, I injure myself. This time around, I started off with small injuries an quickly realised what was going on, made some changes (back in Sept) and averted the big one!
    You’ll have to read the post for more. And stop living in my head 😉 lol

  • Debra says:

    Mmm-hmm…me too. I feel like I wrote the book on this one.
    I’m the girl who’s 98% earth & water in her chart. I’m the one who feels EVERYTHING in her body…and up until the last 7 years didn’t understand the messages.
    After much learning the hard way (manifesting everything from horrific female issues that led to a hysterectomy to chronic digestive yuck to skin issues all as a result of stuffed emotion & un-awareness on my part); I gracefully began to realize the power of Self Love, Self Care…Self Attention.
    The more I began to love myself and listen to my body…the better I felt…the less physical challenges that came my way.
    I guess this is why I’m sort of the blog-poster-girl (self-given label) for Self Love…living your JOY…feeling your Bliss…shining your Brilliance.
    From first hand experience, I know the power. And as a result…out of my appreciation…it’s my gift of service to the world to take care of myself so I can shine brightly and encourage others to do the same.
    Do I still encounter reminders? Absolutely! But now the response time is proactive more than reactive…and I can get there in nano-seconds compared to before.
    …like last week when I had to meet a credit card guy to set up service so I could receive payment by credit card at the salon I’m now working at a couple days a week.
    He set the appointment & location. I met him there and discovered there are still some places that allow smoking inside!! (No disrespect to smokers, your choice…it’s just my choice not to be in the same environment w/the smoke)
    I sat there w/him listening kindly for 5 minutes (felt like an hour) while cigarette smoke encircled my freshly showered, sensitive self. I have no idea what he was telling me ’cause all I was thinking was, “I can’t believe I’m sitting in a smokey cafe!?! This is so offensive… blah, blah, blah…” I kept telling myself, “say something, this isn’t worth it…it’s gorgeous outside, you can do this out there.”
    Finally after those 5 minutes of me choosing to be (what I thought was) kind to this nice gentleman instead of honoring my needs, I expressed my desire to finish our work outside due to my sensitivity to cigarette smoke.
    He looked relieved. He’d been thinking the same thing, has an utter distaste for smoke himself and was having a hard time focusing on our business together.
    Sheesh! After just 5 minutes my Self Love was being honored (unconsciously gave another permission to do the same) and we were outside enjoying fresh air!
    Seems like nothing…but add a bunch of these little seemingly insignificant things together while you sit kindly ignoring your body’s request…and watch what happens.
    Nope, not me. I’m listening. I’m much to ‘worth it’ to turn my attention the other way. (And so are YOU!)
    Thanks Jeannette…brilliant as always! Here’s to honoring the messages our bodies deliver…and to deepening the Self Love.

  • Pure Potential says:

    This post is the examplar of the opportunity of my life. I spent ~10 years suffering over bodily pain and creating mental anguish in the process. Until, I understand that pain was the mechanism for me to learn to ask for assistance even when I did not think I needed it. And, to learn to accept- assistance with grace.
    Voila! Eureka! As soon as I gave up anger and frustration over being ‘needy’, all suffering disappeared – a manner similar to realizing that the sky has cleared and the sun is shining.
    Recent self care choices – leaving a dinner party when I was ready to go instead of thinking about when it would be ‘appropriate’ to leave.
    Staying in my business and out of a family drama
    Saying no to requests for back to back appointments
    And, of course, looking forward to more opportunities for self care.
    Many thanks for a wonderful topic, Jeannette

  • You know, Rhonda, that’s just the kind of smack upside the head Universe will give us when we get REALLY stubborn about ignoring that inner guidance! (re your friend’s example)
    (Note to Michael, Kathryn, Koren, myself, and many other fabulous people who have yet to embrace selfishness as a virtue!)
    Speaking of, wouldn’t it be liberating to start thinking of selflessness as a character flaw? he he
    One that we have TONS of resources for helping to remedy? lol
    That one feels kind of giggly to me.
    And you’re right, Rhonda – no need to worry about doing it consciously or not ourselves. Because if we don’t do it, Universe/our higher selves/inner guidance will see to it eventually.
    Ahhh … another good reason to relax, huh?
    Thanks for posting, Rhonda!!

  • Rhonda says:

    I love this post!
    I learned the hard way. I now know that the Universe is not only my buddy and best friend but will also give me what I absolutely need even if I haven’t consiously asked for it. The problem with that is, if you do not ask in a consious way yourself, you will get what you absolutely need in the most expeditious way the universe can deliver and you may not like the results.
    Example: A few years ago, I was in a very stressful job in a company that was undergoing drastic changes. After much political upheaval and many crisis’ averted, I felt it was a good time to ask for 3 days off to recover because I was emotionally and physically drained. I knew I needed this but instead of asking the universe, I made the horrible mistake of asking my Boss who said no. Because time away from this organization was critical to my mental well being, I manifested (unconsciously) pneumonia which then enabled me to step away and rest for a couple of weeks. Had I done this consciously, it would of worked out much differently!
    Example 2: A friend has been burning candle at both ends and has a belief system that you have to work very, very hard to be successful (we all know this is not true). Due to beliefs and not taking a break which her body was telling her to do for quite some time, she is enjoying downtime AFTER MASSIVE KIDNEY FAILURE AND A SUBSEQUENT KIDNEY TRANSPLANT.
    So, you can do this yourself consciously and with parameters or the universe will do it for you without your input. However, it will be done.

  • Nice one, Susan! (Leaving when you wanted to instead of when it was “appropriate” to!)
    (Actually – that probably IS the successful creator’s definition of appropriate, huh? What’s APPROPRIATE is whatever we want!)
    Great examples of how easy this is to practice in every day life.
    Thanks for chiming in, girlfriend! 🙂

  • Okay, how am I currently pulling a “Russell”?
    Hmm, well … I did a great job not booking anything this morning, knowing I might be rolling into town late last night. I get good credit for that.
    (Always nice to acknowledge what we’re doing RIGHT, right?)
    And I also did a decent job of not overbooking myself on a week where there’s lots of potential catchup with client sessions.
    But where I have room for improvement:
    – relaxing about a couple of deadlines for this week’s Money Mojo ebook launch might be a good idea. 🙂
    – saying no to several requests for phone calls that would add stress or pressure to the day/week
    – going to the acupuncturist I’ve been meaning to see for over three weeks now!
    THAT would feel like nice self-care.
    Here I go to practice what I preach. 🙂
    Your turn!

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