Cambrian: Opinion

Responding when your body tries to get your attention

Editor’s note: After 14 years, columnist Dianne Brooke, perhaps better known as Lady Tie Di to so many folks on the Central Coast, has changed the name of her column. The new tagline better reflects her intent to offer readers ways to live a more independent, creative and joyous life, she says.

The experience of birth brought physical sensation, touch and emotion into existence for us. We needed to eat when we were hungry. We expressed our distaste of a wet bottom by crying. If we were scared, we expressed it by crying as well. Happy, we cooed and laughed.

At what point did it become unacceptable to express ourselves any more? “Children should be seen and not heard” was probably one of the single most destructive directives to come out of “civilized times.” “Don’t cry! It’s all right!” How do you know it is? How can you feel what that person is feeling?

I say all this as I have become acutely aware of the mind-body connection lately. Yes, I’ve been exercising more strenuously than I have in quite some time, but I know that is not the entire reason for my back pain.

A couple of weeks ago, I was trying not to grind my teeth over the discomfort when I decided to sit on the curb in the sun and push up with my arms to let my back dangle, more or less. “Huh, this feels good decompression. ” For some reason, it hit me: “What is weighing me down? What is compressing my body emotionally that I need to address?”

While I’m massaging a client’s shoulder and the person remarks on the sensation of pain in the opposite side of the body, I remind my client, “Your body will do whatever it takes to remain in balance. Pain, colds, dysfunction are all means of getting your attention, to get you to do something about it.” Like crying when your parents left you in the crib and you still needed to be held.

Sitting there on the street, when I asked myself that question, I was suddenly aware of exactly what was weighing me down. That realization alone began relieving the pain! I did a technique called “Tapping” and further worked through the baggage I was obviously lugging around my low back. Within minutes, it was reduced to the simple ache of doing an exercise improperly — manageable.

Think about — OK, I think about — how many times I may have said things to my kids or partners that may have sounded like I was disregarding their feelings. Sometimes I may do so thinking I’m going to give them a more positive outlook. It doesn’t usually feel that way when you’re getting told, “Well, all dogs die. Get over it.” (No, I never said that!)

For some reason, we get trained that we need to disconnect from our emotions, that it’s wrong to let them have much influence on our lives. Then we suffer from the stress of that suppression.

Try this: Take/make 5 minutes to just sit and listen to the story in your head at that given time. Trouble at work? Beautiful sunset? Kids driving you crazy? Delicious meal? Argument with your spouse?

Notice where in your body you are feeling it. Acknowledge it fully. If it’s a good feeling, let it spread to other places in your body. If it’s negative, breathe. Allow yourself to feel it. Acknowledge it, where it resides physically and you may be surprised that you’ve diminished some of its control over you! It did for me!