Body awareness is a new thing for me. I got through most days by doing my best to ignore my body and the pain I was feeling. Having to keep a daily health journal and writing this blog is forcing me to become truly aware of my own body.
I think many people who are chronically ill do the same thing. We ignore the pain, and just push through, and I think that contributes to flare ups and exhaustion.
Knowing I have to be accountable to my daily journalling I wake up now and check in with my body, what hurts, and surprisingly for me, what doesn’t hurt. Today my legs felt shaking and weak and a bit achy, and I noted that, but also realized it wasn’t so bad, and let it go, but as I was checking in with the rest of my body I noticed not only did I feel no pain in my hands, but that they actually felt good. They felt full of energy and wanting to work. I think I may have been so eager to ignore my body because I didn’t want to focus on the pain, and I didn’t want the pain to stop me from living.
After three days of working shows I knew I would need today to rest, but when I checked in with my body what I found was not limitations, but opportunity. Today my hands work great! Today my brain feels clear and strong. Today I made a to do list of all the things I needed and WANTED to get done that I could rest my body while doing and let my mind and hands do the work.
I have a lot of computer work that I need to do for work, I have a painting to finish, some research to do, and some correspondences to follow up on, and appointments to make. Without being so aware of my body this morning I may have had a less productive day, than I now plan on having.
The hard part is to have body awareness without judgement. So I will need to learn to let awareness like “my legs hurt and feel weak” to be just that and not letting it snowball to “my legs hurt because I am a weakling and probably if I wasn’t chubby it would be easier to walk on these stupid, worthless legs”. I can think, “my legs hurt and feel weak” and then plan my day accordingly without guilt or judgement.
I noticed earlier in the week I was in a lot of pain, but I was working so hard to ignore it, all of me ached and I could hardly breath or move. It wasn’t until I took some time and really allowed myself to focus on the pain, and pay attention to my body that I realized one of the factors of my pain was that I had several ribs dislocated and it was impeding my breathing and adding pain to my already angry body. As soon as I realized it I went directly to a Chiropractor who was amazed I had let them get so bad before coming in. After, the rest of my body still hurt, but I could breathe freely and it took the pain level down a notch or two and I found I could think clearer. Who knows how long I could have gone without getting adjusted if I didn’t truly focus and become aware of my body.
I have a Scarlet O’Hara mentality of dealing with stress, “I mustn’t think about it today, I will think about it tomorrow”, and that has apparently fallen into how I deal with my own body and pain. Its time to become aware of how I feel, right now, and respect my bodies limitations and suggestions. Our bodies have message for us, we only need to listen.