The other night I took a break from a prolonged and fruitless attempt to write a blog post. Nothing was working. I got up and tried dancing, but I wasn’t really centred…so I decided to do my noticing practice. And do you know what I noticed?
I noticed that I was really uncomfortable.
I needed to pee in a way that indicated that I’d needed to pee for quite some time. I was thirsty. I was tired. I was sweaty and sticky. I was sore. My stomach was still over-full from supper. I felt like crap.
UGH. No wonder I wasn’t writing anything.
When I set out to notice my physical experiences, I knew that the practice of noticing would help keep me more present and mindful, but it’s having two side effects that I didn’t expect:
- It’s highlighting how little I listen to my body.
- It’s making it brutally clear that my body is suffering because of this.
This is what happens when you commit to deep work. It grows and develops in ways you can’t anticipate.
And here’s the thing that scares me: what if I feel like this most of the time without noticing it? This isn’t the first time I’ve suddenly realized I felt tired, thirsty, overfull, etc. There have even been times when I’ve gotten dizzy spells because I’d forgotten to breathe.
…what if this one thing, this habit of not-listening, this disembodiment…what if that’s the reason why so many of us are stressed, exhausted, and unhealthy?
How can we know what our bodies need if we spend our entire lives ignoring them? If we feed them and move them and rest them and and give them bathroom breaks based on a wholly artificial schedule, without investigating whether we happen to be hungry or tired, or whether we needed to pee an hour earlier and just never noticed?
For example, why is 11pm bedtime, even if I’m ridiculously tired at 9pm? What is UP with that?
It occurs to me that this process of tuning into the body and listening to what it needs…it could very well be the most important work of my life. It feels like the essence of what I’m here to learn and to share. And noticing could be one of the simplest and most powerful tools in my collection.
Why realizing that I felt like crap was actually a good thing:
Was it fun to notice all this crappy stuff? NO. But—and this is what I keep focusing on—in noticing what exactly was wrong, I gave myself the tools to alleviate a lot of the problems. I went to the bathroom. I had a shower. I drank a big glass of water. I spent a few minutes stretching. And before I knew it, I felt much better (and wrote half of this post).
In discovering the problem, I also found the solution.
I’m making a commitment to myself: to continue with this work of noticing, of tuning in to my physical experience. And I’ll also add a new component: I commit to asking my body what it needs. Getting centred, getting in my body, and then listening to it. You’re invited to try it too!
Our bodies hold infinite wisdom. All we need to do is listen. And the first step to listening is taking time to notice.