Building the Best Relationship of My Life
By the time you’re finished reading this I will share with you what I do to be successful in keeping the lines of communication open with my body, and how it’s some of the greatest relationship building I’ve ever done. But first, we need to talk.
Could you imagine how ridiculous it would be if we felt shame for asking for a band aid any time we scraped our knees as a kid? Or for a blanket when we were cold? Or for food when we were hungry?
I can’t even imagine if we grew up in a world that made us feel shame for the natural things our bodies just do and need.
Oh wait. Yea, I can.
How many of us as young girls cried when we got our period? Not just because it hurt but because we were nervous about what other kids would think.
How many of us wanted to use a tampon and not pads because we thought tampons were “cooler”? And we didn’t want other girls to think we were like babies wearing a diaper.
How many of us hid our tampons and pads because we didn’t want anyone to know we got our periods? How many of us still hide them?
We, as women, get our periods. That’s just how it goes. So where did it all start that we felt shame and sadness for something our bodies do as naturally as get cold when we are cold and hungry when we are hungry?
I can remember lying to my teachers and friends about why I needed to go to the nurse because I didn’t want anyone to know I got my period. I can remember ghosting a guy I really liked after a date not 3 years ago because I was ashamed I bled in his shorts I borrowed. I hid them in his closet and left 5 minutes later because I had used my last tampon and didn’t want him to know.
I know that might sound silly at 26 years old but to me, this was just a thing that you hid. It made you vulnerable, different, and I believe we are taught… especially as women, to survive we have to be just as strong as the boys. At least, this is my experience.
What I can not imagine is going through these changes, feeling the shame that I felt, and having pain so unbearable I can’t walk or sit up straight on top of it. Having to miss school because the war going on inside of me was inconsolable. This is the experience for so many who struggle with endometriosis. This is the story of my guest on yesterday’s podcast episode, “The Journey with Endometriosis with Loren Studivant”. She tells her story in such detail and her struggle to be heard. From a girl who was told painful periods were normal, and growing into an adult that had to sacrifice so much because this shame and silence kept her small for so long. The problem is because there is so much that is not talked about with our cycles from such a young age that when we do finally speak up we are often dismissed or misdiagnosed. Young girls and grown ass women alike are silently suffering through gut wrenchingly painful cycles, nausea, bloating, and exhaustion so far beyond normality because we were taught this was normal. How much pain is too much then? That’s not a question I can personally answer for all of you but when my quality of life is being compromised because I can not function in the way I want to, with any type of pain, that’s when I seek help. This should be no different just because some uncomfortability is “normal”.
If this feels like something you can relate to, seek help. Don’t stop until you find peace.
Our bodies are ours. There is no one out there that knows our bodies like we know our bodies. The way my skin gets really dry in certain areas but turns into an oil slick in others. The way my tinea versicolor flares up relentlessly the second week of June every year. The way I bloat after I’ve eaten that third slice of pizza, or forth (let’s be honest). Or the way I feel alive like no other, and I can take on the world five minutes after I take my first sip of coffee in the morning.
What we are told does not make it our truth, and I’ve learned through countless personal interrogations is that nothing is final until I decide it is or I die.
Harsh reality but a real one nonetheless.
Now that I know better about my body, I do better for my body. Today I give you my three steps I use when I feel out of communication with my body and why it’s been the most beautiful relationship I’ve worked at to date.
+Moving my body.
This does not mean scaling Mt. Everest or running a marathon or taking that new spin class that just opened down the street. This means stretch it out, take a walk, hop up and down. But do this for atleast 5-10 minutes so blood is flowing to all the areas of your vessel.
+Scanning my body.
Nope, not an MRI. I mean after that 5-10 minutes of movement, I want you to consciously think about your toes,close your eyes, wiggle them a bit and keep everything else still. Can you picture yourself like Ms. Frizzle and her magic school bus landing on the tip of your toes? No? Here’s a GIF for reference. If you don’t know, stay with me anyway. Haha.
Start at the tip of your toes and slowly think about the top of your foot, maybe you notice your right ankle feels a tiny bit achy. Don’t try to fix it, just notice it does. Then your shins, maybe you notice your calf muscles feel stiff. Don’t try to fix it, just notice. Move up to your knees, how do they feel? Up your thighs, into your lower belly. Are you a bit bloated? Do this all the way up your body. Notice the tips of your fingers, the space between where your back meets your neck, your shoulder blades, all of it. Keeping your breathing normal the whole way.
+Collecting My New Knowledge.
The spot right under my right shoulder blade is mad at me. My feet are cold. I have a small headache right behind my left ear. Does this new knowledge empower you to seek help? Is it disrupting the daily function you want to have? Is it rude interrupting your daily function with it’s incessant nagging, no matter how much you try to ignore it?
*For instance, I know I’m recovering from a knee injury and I worked out yesterday. My knee is feeling a bit sore and maybe slightly swollen. Is this knowledge something I wish to do anything about? I’m going to ice it and rest it today. If the problem persists I will go see a doctor because long term pain is a disruption to my mental state. Like a small trickle of water that slowly erodes the boulder it winds itself across over time, your pain will subconsciously do that too. It’s not all at once, and you may not even notice, until the day you do and you have probably suffered much longer than you would have if you had taken the time to notice and take inventory on a regular basis.
I do this every time I think about it to be honest, I feel like that’s my intuition’s way of pulling at my consciousness like a little kid pulling on a shirt sleeve asking me to drop into being present. Even if I can’t spend the total 5-10 minutes moving. I sit at my desk and stretch my arms and legs out, wiggle my toes and scan my body. If I’m noticing a spike in my emotional extremes. Like I’m frustrated or sad or overflowing with joy or excitement, I drop into this practice because I want to notice how it actually physically feels to be present with this. The more I have been intentional about doing this practice the more I have rewired my brain to notice my body when I’m not doing the practice. This helps me to stay super present and in-tune with my intuition or peak self when I’m accomplishing tasks, setting goals, or being present for people. I’ll notice that little metaphorical shirt tug and think, “huh. What is my body trying to say?” And that’s all it takes to notice where the poke inside of me is happening.
When you develop this open line of communication with your body, or I’ve called it here also “vessel” I’ve noticed I spend a lot more time operating from my higher self. Everything I do when functioning from that place always feels more in alignment, more progressive, more productive, and I’m generally a much happier person.
Isn’t that what we are all looking for anyway?
Let me know what you think about these practices and what you are doing to drop into your body and open those lines of communication?
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