The idea of ‘health’ is not a new topic of discussion. And there is no end to the opinions and variety of ways to be ‘healthy’. As I navigate my own questions regarding health I am committed to discovering more about what my body may (or may not) know. And what I am learning is that my body knows a lot….if I can develop my listening skills.
As people navigate their busy schedules and the overwhelming amount of information about health….I wanted to explore some basic connections around our personal wisdom and intuition. For me, there is no ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to this and we need to find balance between what we read and what we learn from our own bodies.
With the internet and shelves packed with books we have an abundant and growing access to information. At times it can be a tiring process to discern what is helpful for our own needs. And this is where my own intuition (body wisdom) comes critically into play. It becomes my internal compass to navigate these waters and steer me towards arenas perhaps most fruitful for exploring.
So, the place I ‘begin’ is with my own intuition or ‘gut’ feeling. All external information, no matter how compelling, needs to be in balance with the wisdom of my body as a dynamic entity. I have a pragmatist within me but due to the fact that the world (and our bodies) are ever evolving and there are always infinite (and sometimes inexplicable) possibilities…..I feel a clear need to live in balance between my developed intuitive sense and research/data. I also have discovered that there is no concrete ‘right or wrong’, ‘black or white’ when it comes to ‘health’ and living our diverse lives.
So, with all the abundance of information and without pointing the finger in one direction for anybody…..I would like to propose we each discover for ourselves what our body may (or may not) already know. This practice will help reconnect us to our sense of ‘intuition’ by developing our awareness.
This is of course a life long journey but every journey begins with at least 1 small (and perhaps simple) step.
Here are some basic starting points to consider…
1) The first thing that seems important is an interest in learning. Regardless of why….. try to develop an interest and/or investment in your own health and nourishment.
2) Open to the possibility of change or being outside your comfort zone….even for a moment or two.
3) Open to the idea that there is no ‘right or wrong’/ ‘black or white’ way to approach this. Discover what works for you. This may or may not look similar to what worked for somebody/everybody else.
4) Meet this experience without judging yourself or the things you observe. Respect at all times, as challenging as it might be, is a key piece of the puzzle.
These 4 points are fairly straightforward as a springboard for yourself or as little reminders.
(And you might also discover a few others that work for you.)
I find them to be a great support for this practice of cultivating awareness/intuition while keeping in mind it will look different for each person.
To get started, here are a few suggestions to help get the ‘ball rolling’. They are by no means the only possibilities to begin developing your awareness…. just there if you need them as you find what works for you.
~Try taking a few moments when you first wake up to notice if you feel ‘rested’ or any other sensations that present themselves.
~Take note during your day of any physical sensations (fatigue, bursts of energy,lethargy, clear thinking, headache, any acute pains). Don’t dismiss anything. Think of it like a treasure hunt and that there are ‘clues’ everywhere.
~ Notice how you feel before, during and after meals. Also notice how you feel about eating and your approach. Is it fast on the ‘go’ or do you sit down and relax etc?
~ Notice how you feel when you spend time with different friends, time alone, watching television, being outside and so on.
~Take note of any shifts in your emotional states during the day or the week. Are there situations that stir particular emotions for you? What are they? (even if it seems like something as obvious as ‘I am happy spending time with my friends’ etc)
Remember, a critical piece in noticing is to not judge any of it. To not diminish or inflate any of the observations. Start with a commitment of 1 week (or every other day if a week seems like too much right now). You will need to discover your own dance with this….perhaps you will write things down or find a schedule for your observations. Whatever works for you to actually engage this practice is perfect.
Without being ‘goal’ oriented allow yourself, over time, to integrate this practice of awareness into your days. Keep re-visiting it for set amounts of time until you find it’s happening with less effort and feeling more ‘natural’.
I realize that we are a culture that has gotten used to quick fixes/gratification and that you might feel disappointed that there is no ‘answer’ (per se) here. It is more akin to answering a question with a question.
But intuition truly comes through the vehicle of awareness and these first steps of observation are the path to rebuild this vital foundation of awareness. I feel that developing this is critical for understanding our own health and well being.
Explaining the specifics of why this might be ‘true’ isn’t a straightforward answer. In many ways it is like wisdom that comes to you through a ‘back door’…..when you least expect it. And that’s why I suggest letting go of any ‘goal oriented’ approach.
Our reclaiming of intuition through awareness is more of a circular journey with intentions than a direct shortcut to an answer. And certainly it is one of curiosity, trust, peripheral vision and unexpected discoveries.
I want to also offer a quick addition here to help ‘de-mystify’ intuition. Over time I find more people have forgotten how to access their intuition and consider it in the realm of the mystical or ‘special’ abilities. Science has actually been studying intuition and discovering that it is a noteworthy function of the brain/body. They have some theories and studies but of course they have no definitive ‘answer’ about it. And that is where I think we get hung up. When something is without measure it must be ‘mystical’….so basically, how can we trust it? I think over time we can truly re-develop our intuition as a resource to our wisdom and (among other things) it can be a dependable guide balancing our journey in ‘health’.
This short piece of writing can only perhaps scratch the surface or offer a ‘spark’. I am always delighted to correspond with people to help with creating personalized practices.