Listen to the body – Food Pharmacy

Helena Önneby

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Listen to the body

You are not a body, you have a body. It carries wisdom and wants to communicate with you all the time. Are you listening?

It is a balancing act, being close to the body, taking care of it and listening to its signals, without over-identifying with it. I think it’s important to distinguish between being ill and having an unbalance in the body or believing that just because your body has challenges right now, there is something wrong with you. The body is our tool to experience, express and create in this world. Thus, of course, extremely important. But you are not your body, you are the one who expresses yourself through your body. The one who observes your body.

And since the body is our vessel and our home here on earth, we need to get to know it and listen to what it is trying to communicate to us. What is your body trying to tell you?

In this context, I think it’s important to remember that, just as you are not your body, so are you not your thoughts. You have them. And we don’t always need the help of the mind to listen to the body. There is a wisdom, we can call that intuition, beyond the mind and body, who you are. If you listened to the body from that place, what information would you get then?

Because the body is also an animal, like so many other animals, it can sometimes react instinctively. It’s frightened by a sudden sound or creates and reacts to the hormones that move in your system. It signals hunger, need for sleep or going to the bathroom. It’s your primitive body and its needs are vital for you to be able to be here on earth.

But the body also signals through emotions. For a long time, I was so identified with my emotions that I thought they lived in my head and that I could think or talk my way through them. But emotions are energy. The energy is built up by thoughts, experiences or other triggers and wants to move through your system. Like a wave that comes and washes over and then flows away. If the built-up energy is blocked, out of fear, resistance or because it’s simply inappropriate to express it in the moment, it gets stuck. An emotional knot that over time creates tension and blockages in the body. Sooner or later, it will either explode or create major imbalances in the system (which can sometimes manifest as disease).

I was recently in such a place, when too many emotions, energies, have been fought against for too long. I felt it through a pressure over my chest that came and went. Crowded throat. A general feeling of heaviness. And above all, an overactive mind, which struggled to create control over things it could not control. Like the meaning of my life, or what will happen in the future.

I was helped, by life, to get to a place and a context where I could no longer resist and where it was safe to let go of the pressure. I simply laid down and let the emotional waves wash over and through me. Without thoughts, without stories, without an understanding of which one was which and where they all came from. Without resistance, intuition can guide the body to let go, to healing at all levels. And afterwards, many waves later, everything feels different. Inexplicable and completely obvious.

As children, it’s only natural for us to listen to and express the body’s needs, including all the emotions that need to move through. This is not something we need to learn; we just need to remember what we knew and practiced as children. Peel off the layers we put on to protect, to fit in, to live the way we think we should live. But underneath, all the programming that no longer serves you, there is a wisdom as obvious as the breath. Are you listening?



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