I have been feeling very tired and depleted lately. My back has been crabby and my right foot hurts. I was noticing all this the other day, and feeling very angry at my body. Then a thought appeared in my mind…what if my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing to ensure my survival? What if it wasn’t just broken and causing me trouble, but rather, saving my life?
What if the fatigue was telling me I had been doing too much for too long, taking care of everyone else and neglecting my own needs? What if my back was telling me I was carrying too much and that I should be paying attention to that? What if my sore foot was telling me to stop running, slow down and pay attention?
Our culture doesn’t encourage this perspective. We are encouraged to self medicate at the first sign of discomfort, and if that doesn’t work, to contact our doctor and request that drug we saw on TV. Pills have been developed to take care of nearly every symptom resulting from modern day life, from headache to heartburn, anxiety to erectile dysfunction.
Once I realized this different way of looking at my experience of these phenomena, something shifted for me. I began to practice gratitude for my aches and pains, appreciating that they were messengers from my inner wisdom. I was able to open to them and listen deeply, rather than pushing them away and ignoring them. I could slow down and give myself permission to acknowledge my needs, and tend to them. I wasn’t after a quick fix – I wanted a more lasting resolution that got at the root cause of the problem, not the superficial “cause.”
Upon reflection I find myself blessed with these reminders to wake up, to stay awake, even when it is difficult to do so.
If you are seeking professional mental health counseling services, please contact Linda Oxford at (248) 930-0004 or send an e-mail .