You know that you need to change something, you know that something isn't right. You may be getting ill all the time or exhausted, you may be unhappy with your weight or just feeling out of balance.
So what do you do? Well I used to reach for the nearest book, I'd go onto amazon and have a spending spree of all the self help, self care books I could get my hands on regarding the thing I wanted to change, I'd fill up on knowledge and then start the new diet, new regime that the book, latest media, friends told me was going to save me.
This was the start of my self care journey but it never worked, each thing I tried didn't last very long and I never really felt much improvement, maybe in the short term there was a rush of excitement that this was going to fix me, I was going to feel and look amazing again. But slowly as the initial rush wore off I'd return back to the normal cycle of illness and wellness, high energy and low energy.
But the thing is, those things were probably working to some degree, and when I say I just didn't feel them working, if I'm honest is because I wasn't feeling anything at all. I was numb. I hated my body for letting me down, I hated the fact that I couldn't be a super human all of the time and I hated that I wasn't an open and shut case, here take this pill and you'll be fixed.
I was trying everything, saying to everyone all I want to do is be well, but what I wasn't doing was delving deep enough, I wasn't connected.
How can you know if something is or isn't working when you don't even know how your body feels at the subtle level, when you only really feel or here it when it screams? I couldn't hear the whispers, I had no idea there were whispers, I just reacted to the screams, and if I didn't react to the screams I was knocked down with the punch.
So the first step of healing, of mending, of change is to tune in. To reconnect with yourself, there is no point, literally no point in trying any new thing until you are living back in your body no matter how uncomfortable that body is.
If you can't feel yourself, the subtle shifts inside then you can't know what's made a difference. It was only when I truly learnt to live inside my body, when I truly connected to my body and felt it all, was when I was able to start to piece the puzzle together of what was going on and how I could start to make it better.
And I mean really feel, like knowing when your breath shortens a tiny bit, understanding when a small muscle in your face starts to twitch, feeling when your energy drops a level and not ten.
The thing that prompted this post was my last 24 hours, yesterday at lunch I had a baked potato and the place didn't have anything I could fill it with that wasn't dairy or meat other than baked beans. So I 'risked' it, I remember vaguely that baked beans didn't make me feel to good the last time I'd had them, but also logic of the ingredients says that they should be fine.
Within 30 mins of me eating these beans I was starting to feel sluggish, a slowness starting to enter my body, an undertone of sickness was starting to settle in and I took myself home, my mind was becoming foggy, and a small twitch was starting to flicker in my eye, my breath was short and tight and a subtle heart palpitation was rising. My body ached, I was exhausted and all I craved was some carbohydrates....PAUSE...
rewind a few years and these subtle symptoms would have gone unnoticed, I would have been so busy in my head and stressed in my body I wouldn't have heard the whispers, the only thing that I would have been aware of was needing sugar, or energy. I would have written this off as end of the day lull in energy and grabbed myself something carb based and sugar laden to keep me going....but I'd have been wrong...and that carb based sugar laden treat probably with dairy in it and probably stacked full of gluten would have sent my body into a spiral. the symptoms I have just outlined would have become worse, and if I was lucky I would have felt them that evening, but depending on how busy I was I may have missed them for a few days, loading up on sugar, gluten and coffee to keep myself functioning until the symptoms broke through the noise of the busy brain and I couldn't do anything but acknowledge I was ill. I would have announced I'm having an ME relapse and taken to my bed for a while until I had recovered.
Back to today....instead because I'm tuned in now I did hear the whispers, and to me they no longer feel like whispers, these subtle energy changes feel like massive screams within my body, they are so obvious its hard to believe there was a time I'd have missed them. So I satisfy my carb craving with some white rice and chill, this morning still feeling rough there's a brief moment as I wake up where I ask myself why do I feel so yuk, I have a moment of, am I getting ill again, and then I remember baked beans! So I drink water, cleanse my body with no food for the morning and for lunch I have some potatoes, its now 4pm in the afternoon and I can feel my energy returning, I can feel the symptoms subsiding and I know that by this evening I will be ok.
All from a couple of spoons of baked beans, but its the ability to tune in and listen that tells me that it was the baked beans and that I shall never eat them again. It was my body connection that allowed me to understand what was happening and jump on it quickly.
So when you are trying to understand something inside you, trying to heal or repair something that's out of balance, the first thing I'd advise you to do is to tune in. Get comfortable with being in your body, learn you natural rhythms, you breathing, how your heart feels, your fatigue levels and when in the day you feel them, learn when you go to the toilet and what it looks like, all of it, learn all of you. Not just the bits you want to work on, but every part of you, as its in the small changes within the not so obvious places can we start to see and feel if something is working or not.