8/14 Hearing your Body Messages for Total Wholeness

 For many people, the outside of their body is more important than understanding what’s going on in the inside.  Our world is determined by the blinders we wear, especially when we view our own lives.  In fact, medical surveys show us that up to 70 or 80% of doctor’s visits are related to the mental emotional health of the patient, known as ‘psycho-somatic’.

One of the keys to healthy living is to be aware and learn from the messages are happening all around you.  We venture into an exercise to help increase your awareness of your surroundings.

Practice Body Awareness

The sensations we experience through our body are meant to make us aware of what is happening in our inner world.  Our mind can be so busy with worries, schedules and concerns.  It is easy for our mind to get lost in what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future.  Many times, there is a chasm between what we are thinking and how our body is reacting to life.

That’s when our body-awareness and breathing can help us to focus on what we are experiencing in the moment. When we take the time to focus, we can become aware of those places where we are “holding onto things”.

We can recognize those places where we are tight, sore or uncomfortable.  It may be our stomach, shoulders, neck or head.  We may not even be aware that we were uncomfortable until we stop and pay attention

What do we do with our awareness?

Stay with the sensation!  Sadly, we have learned to ignore, deny or get distracted from the body’s messages, sometimes out of fear of ‘bad things’ happening.  Allow yourself to be curious about what is happening.  Explore and honour what comes up, even if you are only able to do this as a minute by minute event.  Otherwise we may just condemn ourselves to repeating the same old patterns without resolving anything.

What is your body saying right now?

Find an area of tightness.  Use one of your ‘Notes Page’ and write out where you are feeling your stress, tightness at this minute.  It helps to:

a.  Close your eyes to concentrate.  Start by focusing on the four of your five senses.   List what you are hearing:

b.  What do you smell?

c.  What do you taste?

d.  What are you feeling from your body – tiredness, hard chair, tightness?

How hard was it to get in touch with the body’s messages?

Working with your Stress, tensions and body memories.

Mind and body are a dual system.  Certainly, we all know that we are more than just a body living on this Earth.  We have an inner person, comprised of our personality, our needs and wants, our motivations and drives.  We each one are unique because of our backgrounds and our inherited traits.  When we become more aware of our body’s messages, we can learn to be healthier.

We each one have experienced pains and hurts from the past; we cannot avoid it when we are born into this human body.  As a child we learn to protect those parts of us that are hurt.  This is called ‘body armour’:

                “…..the total pattern of chronic muscular tensions in the body.  They are defined as an armour because they serve to protect an individual against painful and threatening emotional experiences.  They ‘shield’ him from dangerous impulses within his own personality as well as attacks from others”.  (Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen. 1983, pg. 13)

This includes areas of our body that holds long term tension and pain due to perceived threats.  Some unconscious behaviours, like a shoulder shrug, areas of hard, fused knots are other examples.  A little child going through cycles of traumatic events or abuse will have some degree of ‘body armour’. A simple example of this is when your feet develop calluses. 

The body also carries the memories of past abuse, trauma and pain as ‘cellular memories’.  This includes a huge list of things that some people go through: Car accidents, near death experiences, boating accidents, physical abuse, dog attacks, falls and broken bones to list a few.

Sometimes persistent body tension and pain is the body trying to communicate with you about some crisis point that you are not aware of – or that has not been healed.  Are you aware of the physical messages your body is sending you about your personal ‘body armour’?  Can you get in touch with what your body is protecting you from? 

One of the best ways to find your body’s stress points is observing your reactions when you are having a massage.  The areas we hold these chronic tensions seems to be released in practical awareness more through touch and massage.  This increases the ability to be aware of and observe such muscle and tissue memories.  Find a qualified therapist to help you get in touch with the related issues! 

The human skeleton is the framework of the body.  As we add the layers, we add the need for hearing the body’s messages.

If the muscles, joints and ligaments are pulled out of line because of stress of overwork, then the whole skeleton is pulled out of balance. The stomach is upset because of stress as well. 

Body organs are affected, along with glands, hormones and organs.  When all the parts effectively work together, the body is healthy.  One part out of aliment means the whole body suffers.

Look for this body awareness with your next massage.  Try and remain with the tensions of your muscles and tissues long enough to let your body ‘lead you to’ the event.  You may even find exaggerating the sense or feeling to help find the cause.  An example might be agitation in your leg or your foot.  A therapist may help you make that movement stronger, to stomp, kick or walk, until you reach the memory or painful event.

It is not our purpose here to provide the therapy and counselling that goes with getting in touch with body memories and body armouring.  If you find this is an area you would like to find out more about, look for Somatic Therapy’ on your Google search to find qualified therapists who specialise in these areas.

We have set out some exercises as a way to become more aware of your body’s messages.  Continue with the next posts to find out how your body is trying to protect you from the pains and issues of your life.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author



Leave a Comment