Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Listening to our bodies

I wanted to give an example of the way that our bodies have wisdom for us to thrive but we need to listen. We need to communicate between our mind and body so that we can understand what we are feeling and then how to "feed" ourselves to move through the emotions. 

On Sunday I woke up like any other day. But as the morning progressed, I felt like I was in a mild funk. Nothing huge, just not feeling like myself. Maybe it was something I ate or not enough sleep. But as the morning moved on, I also felt a slight heaviness in my chest. I stopped when I got a chance, put my hand on my heart, closed my eyes and took a few breaths. I then directed the breath into my heartspace and sat quietly to see what arose. I soon felt a few tears and the heaviness started to feel like it was rising up. It quickly dawned on me that I was feeling sad about something that happened the day before.

We had been having a lovely family day, enjoying the warm spring weather. In the evening, we went to a beach in town and sat, played in the sand, and relaxed. When it was time to go, I brought the car around to pick up the kids and my husband. They were crossing the street to get to my car when Zubin fell flat, on his face, on the hard concrete of the street. I immediately heard wailing and realized what had happend. He had some pretty bad scrapes on both kness, one elbow and his thumb. Since he is prone to fractures, we were concerned he had broken something. It may sound like a common occurence, a child falling.

But this is different for us. Zubin has been falling much more. He just doesn't have the strength to recover when he trips. And in this instance, he was holding his sister's hand who was holding my husbands hand. And their gait was too swift for him, causing him to trip and not recover. He turned out okay, other then the pain and cuts, and although my husband and I acknowledged why the concern went further than it would for one of our other children falling, we tried to move on with the evening and just attend to what he needed. 

But here I was, the morning after, not consciously thinking about it, but clearly affected. I felt down and literally weighted down in my heart. I opened my eyes and felt the tears flow. I allowed myself to feel all the sadness of that moment. And then I stepped away from my mind and tried to witness what was happening, to see what stories I was telling myself. 

I had storied of how he would just keep falling. How this was an omen of his steady decline. How I was worried for him to be alone anytime without us there to watch him closely. The stories rolled and rolled and I just watched them. Then I closed my eyes and started the process of moving through this sadness. 

First, reminding myself of the absolute truth of the moment. The only truth was that I am a mother who is scared for my child and sad for his suffering. All of the other fears I was contemplating had not happenned and were future fears. The only truth was the tears flowing at that moment. Then I tried to see all of the workings of my mind as stories. Although my son has a critical disease that has a known fate, I still don't and can't predict what will happen. None of us know the future and fearing it has no purpose. All of my fears were based on stories I was spinning and not on things that were actually happening. All I could do was sit in the present with what was actually happening right there. I did this for a while and then I proceeded to use movement to let what I was actually feeling right then flow through me. Not to "get rid of it," just to allow it to flow. The mind stays stuck in one place if the body does as well. And so I went for a walk. I focused on the walk itself, what was around me, and allowed my mind to settle. 

None of this means I am happy about my son falling. It does not mean I deny the diagnosis and condition he has. All it means is that I need to sit in the present every day. It is all and everything I can do. If I sit in the past or future, I will wallow in stories for my mind to cycle through. And it means my body has deep, wise messages for me...if I just listen.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dr. Sethi,
    I am a Chicago-based journalist turned acupuncturist/herbalist who heard you speak last week at the health conference in Seattle (veganism and ayurveda!) . Do you have an email address where I can contact you further? I would love to touch base!
    Thanks kindly,
    Giselle Wasfie