On Listening to Your Body

After noticing her dog was keeping an eye on us, our host explained, “He knows he gets fed at 8, 12 and 5.  So if it’s near those times, he stays close to me – reminding me it’s time.  It’s amazing how their bodies just know.”

And I thought, “Our bodies know too….we just aren’t taught to listen to them.”  I’ve tried listening more lately.  I’ve learned that I don’t need to eat nearly as much as I do.  That if I listen to my body, she’ll tell me when I’ve had enough.  And she’s always right.  She’ll also tell me when I’m tired and when it’s time to get up.  She dutifully calls me to rise – sans alarm – at 6:55 each morning.  Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.  She also lets me know when I’m doing too much.  And if I don’t listen, she brings some sort of sickness to me to remind me who’s in charge.  However, she’s also kind about bringing on this sickness.  She usually does it over a school break when she knows I can afford to stop without getting too far behind.

She softens my skin in the summertime, then dries it up in the winter.  I can feel when I’m getting sunburn, and in that way she reminds me to put on sunscreen.  She forces me into tears over seemingly nothing at least once a month.  On my morning walks, she shows me all the new life spring brings.  I try to remember to notice it the rest of the day.

“Self-knowledge can, and ought, to apply not only to the soul, but also to the body; the man without insight into the fabric of his body has no knowledge of himself.”

-John Moir, student of anatomy, notes from opening lecture, Anatomical Education in a Scottish University, 1620, as quoted by Bill Hayes in The Anatomist

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