Your Body’s Talking: Are You Listening?

What do you do to relieve persistent physical discomfort, pain, or illness? Do you reach for pills? Supplements? A trip to the chiropractor or massage therapist? Do a cleansing detox? Perhaps you meditate, do some yoga or take a walk? Maybe you’ve had the difficult choice of whether to undergo surgery –or even chemotherapy.

All of these kinds of methods may be a valid part of a total healing regimen at some time in a life. But if you have the inclination to look within, deep inside is a Knowingness about the “heart” of the condition. This core contains the information you need to help you achieve the changes that wellness requires. Tuning in is making the BodyMind connection.

Take Casey*, a client of mine who came in for hypnotherapy after trying a number of alternative therapies to relieve chronic low back pain. As he described his problem and answered questions about his lifestyle and current stresses as a salesman, Casey expressed the fear that his back problem would put him “out of commission” at work, and he’d have nothing to “fall back” on. After two hypnotherapy sessions, it was clear that Casey’s real issue was hating his traveling sales job, and facing his fear of change. He was also in need of nurture and “holding back” emotionally. These metaphors matched his body’s cry for help, spoken in pain–the body’s unique language used when all else fails to get our attention.

As a practicing hypnotherapist and emotional release bodyworker for fifteen years, I learned to speak this special language in ameliorating my own discomforts, as well as those of hundreds of others. I found that giving the “cold shoulder” to an estranged lover could result in an angry flare up of bursitis; that a twisted ankle could match being overly cautious about “watching your step” in a new situation; that throat cancer could mean a terrible stifled cry for the truth of creative spirit to be heard. On the humorous side, a client’s chronic problem with gas proved to be “raising a stink”–passive aggressively–about a spouse’s cooking!

In an “altar”ed (heart-centered) state of awareness, a meditative state, listening intently, you can learn to access intuitive and instinctual information levels; we all are created with this sense-ability, the gift of making a Body to Mind connection, using the heart as interpreter. This system is designed with unfailing integrity, but we don’t’ typically access it. Unfortunately, as we grow up, many factors intercede and interfere with our natural abilities to listen to and play our own bodymind ‘instruments.’

Whether your challenge to wellness is a nagging migraine, high blood pressure or chronic indigestion, your body does not exist in a vacuum. There is a correspondence between your physical condition and what’s going on with your mind, your feelings, your energy body, and your soul. This correspondence is the essence of what is meant by Body-Mind. Making the connection conscious is a boon to living well.

While Ken Dytwald coined the term “bodymind”(in the 70s), it is still a very new concept for western medicine traditions. While alternative practitioners acknowledge it, they usually have a bias: a belief that one of the “bodies”–mental, emotional, or physical – “causes” the problem you are facing. Thus some practitioners argue that the mind causes all bodily symptoms and states, while others argue that toxic emotions are the demon, and still others insist that the physical body determines your mental and emotional states.

My own bias is that all the bodies are simultaneous, interdependent, and equally important to the integrity of the whole that they make up. They may vary individually in degrees of health or balance. At the same time, focusing on one part more than others will seem to make it more important–make it the “cause” of the results we see.

Perhaps in the end, all health crises are spiritual ones: issues about the meaning of our lives, what directions to take, the valuing or reevaluating of ourselves and the preciousness of the love we give and receive. I believe that love comes in a million guises, and awaits us at the heart of pain, stress, disease, and heartache.

Your body is always talking. And so is your subconscious mind, your emotional body, and your heart. Listen well, listen closely. Use all of you as a resource. You are a miracle, and your “conditions” are the precursors of more love and wisdom–even grace. Take the chance to Connect.

* Names and identifying information have been changed.

© Copyright 2007 by By Marcia Singer. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • peg s

    peg s

    October 8th, 2008 at 7:13 AM

    Hello Marcia,
    I believe that I attended a 5 day intensive pain workshop when Ingleside Hospital was in place, and that you were one of the two therapists? Excuse me please if I am wrong about this, but no matter, I don’t often go to the computer as part of my day but I was compelled to look into IFS work that I have recently done, and to check Kip Flocks work. I believe I have seen another article from you… I am so very interested in the emotional/body connection, it was a relief to read your words that I know from my core are so true. I have been having persistant pain in my neck and shoulder and know it links with my past my mom…etc etc. Could you let me know about work you are doing, where and if there are any other therapists in the New England area that might be doing your type of work. Also, what do you think of the internal family systems work? I had a real break though in group work with this work and am able to integrate and “work” with myself or maybe better said ‘understand and communicate with myself better understanding the different “parts” of me, and most of all it is a totally nonshaming system.

  • malcolms

    malcolms

    July 13th, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    Hello. I would like to make an appointment with Marcia, but there is no link for her here. How can I contact her? Thanks.

    Malcolm S

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