I ignored my body for a long time.
I have always been athletic and eaten consciously, but I let go of the relationship between my emotions and physical body when my life fell apart. I disconnected from physical sensation after the trauma of my childhood. I observed myself from the outside, and always felt a pride for the way I looked in my appearance but never connected the outer look with the inner sensations.
As a teenager, I pushed myself body into fragile places. I stayed up too late, drank and smoked socially and pushed myself into chronic fatigue. I ate foods that were not supportive of my system and had chronic stomach issues. It seemed that any time I caught a cold it would give me bronchitis or, worse, pneumonia. Soon this became an annual or even semi-annual event. The icing on the cake was when I got shingles at only 26 years old.
The evening that I contracted the shingles I was sitting on the couch with my husband and I told him that my skin hurt. To this day, I can remember the feeling, a mix between burning and itching. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. This was the tipping point. I was young and athletic — why did it feel like my body was wearing out?
Finally, I woke up to the messages of my body. One of my first steps on the road to whole-person wellness was learning about massage. I was a young woman, and still dreamed of accomplishing so much in this lifetime, and yet I was constantly held back by colds and sickness. There was nothing I could do in this world if I was not strong enough to make it happen. I needed to find a way to heal. Receiving and being trained in massage was the start of healing for me.
Not long after, that fateful conversation with my sister-in-law occurred, I found yoga. As I worked towards feeling young and strong again in my body, I also started to acknowledge the emotional struggles in my life, and everything in my life began to improve simultaneously. I woke up to the rhythm of my mind and my feelings, and in turn how they related to my body. It made so much sense now, that when I had an upsetting conversation with a friend how my stomach would ache, or how if I reluctantly compromised myself for others my shoulders, neck and jaw would throb.
Could it be so simple, that it was all related? Yes. It is all interconnected. I learned the hard way, as the fragmented approach I was using to deal with my life put my wellbeing in extreme jeopardy. Remembering the huge health benefits that massage, yoga and healthful eating have offered to me, I always focus on a client’s physical health as the foundation of any treatment.
It’s occurred to me, how important the vitality of the body is in a process of emotional and spiritual growth. Listening to the sensations of the body opens doors to great healing and knowledge.