Part of my journey this year as a woman, mom, wife, herbalist is to take better care of myself and I want to make sure that I really try and take care of myself like I would my kids, my husband or my friends and clients. In the past month, I’ve explored doing for my body. Some of it has been hard and some of it has been easier than I would have dreamed, but it’s all been worth it.
We’ve talked about the way I use food but I want to talk about the way I untie from my body. I know that food can be a great burier of issues, a staller of pain or lubricant of joy but I also just uncheck my body. I think that I listen to it in an observational way. I always know when a sickness is coming on or what I feel like right before my period. I knew super early when I was pregnant, every time but I don’t really converse with it unless something is radically amiss. My new intention is to really listen and talk to my body and to do that, I’ve been experimenting.
So last Fall, I was fortunate to attend a free body healing workshop at what is now my second home, Knoxville Healing Center. It’s cliche to say “life changing” but it was. Years ago, I discovered and fell in love with running. I wasn’t really fast or really good but I loved it and it gave me something I never had before, a confidence and a language with my body. It was an amazing 3 years with a few races and lots of treadmills and parks. Then I bought some super cool, oh so groovy shoes that really weren’t designed for my feet and I started having so much pain in both heels. No matter what I did they hurt. Then I had another set back in the health department and I quit running. I tried many things to heal the heels. I would think they were good and then as soon as I had a running regimen, they would start up again. I switched to Yoga but it wasn’t the same, I wasn’t the same.
ANYWAY, after the Maori session where FOUR people walked and skated on my legs and heels, I could run. I took it slowly but I was able to run a mile in 10 minutes for the first time in 5 years and more importantly I didn’t hurt afterward. Hmmmm, this body work thing seemed like a good idea.
The holidays came and went and I kept thinking and feeling, wondering and running. So as part of my journey to be loving to myself, I debated what would actually show me love. I did the cleanse and stuck to it, so I was loving my body with real food and finding out which food made it feel better and which ones made it not happy. I wanted more, so I had a second Maori healing session with Ana Goncavles. This one did not disappoint. There was tension in my body that I knew was there but thought it was pretty harmless. I wasn’t in pain before the session so I assumed no pain was good enough. After the session, I felt euphoric and I took time for myself to just enjoy that feeling, reside with it and not let it seep into the day but let it seep into me. I came to realize that the lack of feeling pain isn’t necessarily the healthy thing. Sometimes, we just numb ourselves to tension. There wasn’t pain but the tension was blocking other feelings. I liked the unblocked me much better.
A month later, I scheduled myself for a massage with Beth Young. It had been a long month of learning, lots of introspection and self work so I had no idea what to expect. I’ve had massages before, some were just wonderful and some weren’t as special but to paraphrase a semi-old saying- “Massages are like pizza, even if they aren’t that great, hey they’re still pizza!” Let’s just say that Beth’s massage was the pizza that Iron Chef Bobby Flay, The Pioneer Woman and your Grandma made. It was freaking out of this world. I’ve never had an experience quite like it and I really don’t know if it was a one time event but I could more than feel what she was doing. It came with imagery and when I got off the table, I needed more time to “come to” but what I was really doing was coming back into my body, feeling parts that I didn’t feel for such a long time. When I went to bed that night, my back was sore from where she opened up pressure points but instead of wincing in pain I sighed in relief. I was aware of the free space that used to hold so much stress and it bound up my freedom of movement and feeling.
So I’m still processing all of this and getting comfy with my body, listening not just to pain or discomfort but contentment and happiness. Where do they want to occupy space in my body? I know I carry tension in my shoulders and chest but where are my giggles, my breathless awe that comes from compassion or the love that I feel for my family and friends. I don’t want to just “know” these answers, I want to place them and recognize them when they are here with me or not. This is the only way to honor them and myself.