We have been taught to ignore the language of our bodies. To dismiss the sinking feeling when a name flashes across our phone screen and pick up anyway. The uncomfortable clothes, stiff backed chairs, painful shoes. We have grown accustomed to denying our true needs. Choosing the comfort of others over our own. To be polite in the meetings, to go along with the status quo. Then maybe go home and drink, eat or smoke the complicated feelings away.
Last Friday, I enjoyed myself so much I practically levitated. For five whole hours I told my story, first to an extraordinary new friend at a marathon lunch date, then again in an interview with a trailblazer in Australia who you will hear more about in the next few weeks. As I led us through the rocky terrain of my first book, Scrappy, we laughed, cried and spoke way above casual conversation volume. I knocked a glass of wine clear across the table. It was nuts. At day’s end, I was emotionally raw but fulfilled in a way that comes only from being truly seen.
By the time the Aussie interview ended, it was 7:00 pm and we had no plan for dinner. Mark and I needed to get our evening together quick so I could get to bed for an early run the next day. We improvised a meal and selected an acclaimed indie drama over a comedy.
As we settled on the couch, I felt a bit dazed. I had leapt from a big deal day to sofa and screen at whiplash pace. The show didn’t hold my attention. I checked my phone repeatedly for I don’t know what. My mind drifted back to these two soul stirring conversations and did this day really happen oh my God. Sharing my story, being truly heard by these two amazing people had been magical. Later, I awoke to rolling credits as Mark slid his keys off the table to go pick up our youngest son.
Still feeling unsettled, I poked my head in the pantry to forage for sugar. Bingo. An unopened bag of Tate’s Gluten Free Coconut cookies. I plopped back down on the couch and flipped on the last SNL with Maya Rudolph. Funny shows only make me laugh when I watch with someone else. I ate a few cookies, not laughing. Then I ate a few more. I lost count of how many. A lot.
My body had needed to process the big feelings—I’d received plenty of signs. I could have gone on a walk with Mark, jumped on the trampoline or even just cried a few tears of joy. Yes, I felt seen which was amazing. My story has some parts that cause me fear of being judged though too.
This way of managing hard emotions has been a habit for me. I run away. As a kid, sweets were carefully rationed in my home, as was affection. After I feel exposed, my instinct is to self soothe with something forbidden because I can. When a quick scan of my body identifies a vulnerable spot, my instinct is to make it go away. Medicate with something sweet or salty. I have some unlearning to do around big feelings.
Our culture has conditioned us, as author and life coach Martha Beck says, that it’s better to be good than to be free. I chose to ignore what my body needed and go with my tidy evening schedule. Being good. To cry and run down the street—free. I’m gonna try that for my next vulnerability hangover.
So how do we get better about heeding the signals of our body? This week Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed her bestie Martha about her new book. The conversation revealed so much about their deeply connected friendship. “Have friends who want you to be your bravest, strongest and truest self,” she said of her friend Marty who she credits with preventing her from becoming “a husk of a human.” Martha coached her through a time of crisis and helped her choose her true self over cultural conditioning. When society has trained us to ignore the clear signs our body sends, we can help each other find our truth again.
WE ARE ALL JUST WALKING EACH OTHER HOME. -Ram Dass
Martha Beck suggests that creating a supportive community can help you find your true path. She gets an AMEN from me on that. From the time I began writing, I have been on a mission to find other truth seekers who can help guide my way home. My two new friends are a welcomed addition to my growing family.
And that is what led me to invite Kyra Montagu @kiraholisticliving to my Instagram Live series Tell Me All About It TODAY, April 16 at 1:30 pm. We met in the Dominican Republic where she lives in radical honesty every day. Kyra is a naturopathic doctor specializing in ayurveda, yoga, herbal medicine, nutrition and holistic healing and living practices. Born to British parents, Kyra was raised in the DR and remains deeply committed to preserving its natural beauty for future generations. She runs a holistic retreat center at her family home on the coast of La Romana where guests are offered natural therapies and workshops in a lush tropical oasis. (http://ki-ra.com) You can do as much or as little as you wish, the mission being to reconnect with your own natural rhythms. Check out Kyra’s TEDx Talk in Santo Domingo to hear more about her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlMJnYy37OY&feature=youtu.be
Kyra was featured at the last Anahata Eco Yoga Retreat in Barahona and she will be welcomed again at the next one on May 11-15. A couple of spots are still open if you can disappear into paradise for a few days. https://anahataecoyogaretreats.com.
What are we going to talk about on Instagram today? Kyra will light the path home for us all. She is deeply connected to herself, to nature and to her purpose. She believes that abundant health begins with discovering your innate nature, accepting it and living in accordance with it. Our constitution shifts to deal with the circumstances of our lives. Once we return to who we truly are, we can live in devotion to our truest essence. Kyra believes that the body is designed to heal itself. She will talk about how to listen when the body offers information. Of all the questions I have for her, the most intriguing is this: Kyra spends one entire day a week in SILENCE with her five children and husband. How does that work exactly? That is number one on the hit parade for today.
When we find ourselves again and accept our true nature, our bodies deliver the message that it’s all going to be okay.
WRITING PROMPT: What messages is your body sending you? Do you listen? What has happened as a result? Do your friends and family support your true nature?
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