Body Talk

The symptoms in the body are often the only way that the soul can get our attention.”

— Christine Northrup, MD

What the Body Says:

I’ve been sick for the last few days with a miserable flu/cold – runny nose, sore throat, chills and a cough that racks my body like a thunderous explosion. I’ve been trying to listen to what my body needs and heed its advice. But I feel numb. I’m not sure I can tap into my body knowledge when it’s feeling so disconnected from the rest of me. This is when a quick conversation with my body might help…

Me: I’m just no good at lying in bed. I’m never sick. But this cold has really taken away a lot of my steam. I’m so tired.

Body: Stop fighting me! Listen to what I’m trying to tell you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking it easy today – or even for a few days. Besides, you shouldn’t be around people. You might give them this nasty virus.

Me: You’re right. I need to quarantine myself, drink plenty of fluids and rest. I’ll just climb into bed.

Body: That’s a good start. It would certainly make me feel better.

How often do you listen, really listen, to your body? Not just the stomach growling noises meaning hunger, but the subtle nuances that can be keys to good health? Do you notice when your body is holding tension? Do you feel the tightness across your shoulders or the pain in your stomach? Do you notice changes in your daily functions or your lack of energy when you don’t get a good night’s sleep?

Most of us are not in touch with our bodies. They’ve been good to us over the years so we’re in the habit of assuming they’re not going to change. But there comes a time, when something will change. It may come slowly in the form of an arthritic knee or whack you over the head like a diagnosis of cancer. Either way, it’s time to listen to what your body has to say.  It  can provide valuable clues to your health.

“and the body, what about the body?
Sometimes it is my favorite child,
uncivilized…

And sometimes my body disgusts me.
Filling and emptying it disgusts me…

This long struggle to be at home
In the body, this difficult friendship.”

— Jane Kenyon (From “Cages” in Otherwise: New and Selected Poems 1996)

Writing Prompts

  1. Write a conversation between yourself and your body. Is your body trying to tell you something?
  2. Do you have a “difficult friendship” with your body? What makes this phrase true or false for you?
  3. Pay tribute or complaint to your body.