THE FIRST WEEK IN LENT
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Listening With All Our Strength
by Scott Stoner
Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts. —Bessel van der Kolk
Continuing our week’s focus on listening to ourselves, we now turn to the Strength section of the Living Compass, focusing on Care for the Body and Stress Resilience.
Most of us are familiar with the idea of body language. For example, if someone folds their arms and moves back, it could mean they are not open to hearing what we are saying. Whereas, on the other hand, if they lean and seem interested, it often means they want to listen. In this reflec-tion, we will focus on our own bodies and how to be open to hearing what they might be saying to us.
Our bodies always tell the truth. If we get sick repeatedly, for instance, our bodies may be trying to warn us about the amount of stress in our lives, the current choices we are making around diet, sleep, and exercise.
If we don’t regularly listen to our bodies when they are quietly whisper-ing to us, we may eventually find them impossible to ignore when they “shout” at us to get our attention. Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., author of the best-selling book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, reminds us that our bodies internalize and hold on to stress and unresolved hurt. If ignored, our stresses and hurts will gradually build up until they demand to be heard.
Learning to listen to what our bodies are telling us with curiosity, instead of fear or judgment, is the first step in healing and resolving any stress or hurt we may be experiencing.
Making It Personal: What do you think of the idea that our bodies always tell the truth? Are you aware of a time when you resisted a mes-sage your body was trying to give to you? Take a few moments right now and listen compassionately to your body, being curious about what it might be quietly, or not so quietly, telling you.