“If you will notice the word LISTEN and the word SILENT are spelled with the very same letters.” Alfred Brendel
So after some of you read our previous blog “Are You Listening” your question to us is …. “HOW do we learn to listen to our bodies?”
That is a very good question. In this world of noise and chaos, of obligations and family, of work and rushing around, how do we quiet ourselves enough to listen to our bodies, to HEAR what it is saying to us, to be still, to close our eyes and…. BREEEEATHE?
Well, that’s the key…BREATHING. It’s as simple as that. Just BREATHE.
Maybe you are lucky enough to have some spare time and a space to retreat to, a room or a quiet place in nature where you can sit and relax. But in today’s world more than likely you have very little time to yourself. Maybe you are stuck in rush hour traffic with no air conditioning or maybe you are sitting in the middle of the bleachers at your kids soccer game or rushing through the grocery store after work. No time? No matter, just simply close your eyes wherever you are and take a deep breath. Hold it. Exhale slowly. Then take another, in through your nose. Hold it. Exhale slowly, out through your mouth. In this moment be completely aware of your breathing and be mindful of how it makes you feel. Does your heart rate slow? Do your shoulders relax? Just BE with your breathing for this moment. It may only be for one moment. Next time try to make it a bit longer. Like anything worth learning this is a process that is ongoing, not a quick fix. It is an exercise in patience as well. The goal is to quiet your mind and quiet your body no matter where you are or what else is going on.
Now practice this every chance you get. If you have to “take” a moment…or even steal it….do it! In the moments before you get out of bed in the morning lay quietly and do some mindful breathing. At night right before you go to sleep take this time as your own … Breathe. Relax. Breathe. Just BE with your breath and feel what your body is saying to you. Is it a little bit sore in your lower back, then go there in your mind and gently soothe that area with a deep breath inward and as your exhale allow the lower back to relax. Listen to your body because your body is always listening to you.
Ok…so that’s it. Now you know the secret. The key is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE being conscious of your breath. The more you do it the easier it will become and soon you will be able to do it any where at any time.
********OH NO! But what is this???? Just when you thought you had it down. There it goes again…your mind is racing, your thoughts keep curling back around to the anxiety, the lists of things you must do, the replaying of your day, the anticipation of tomorrow. The shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of our lives. These racing thoughts that cease to go quiet is what we lovingly call our CHIHUAHUA. He shows up right on cue and wants our attention, and he wants it NOW! This chihuahua will be a challenge in getting to that place of mindful breathing and listening. Using a bit of imagination close your eyes and visualize picking up this darling Chihuahua and carrying him to another room or outside and ask him to play quietly for a bit as you return to your mindful breathing. He may try to sneak back in…lovingly pick him up and put him back out again. Keep doing this until he realizes that this moment is not a good time for racing around, barking or distracting your from your quiet state of being. With practice he will stop demanding your attention and your energy. Let your Chihuahua (thoughts) know you are the one in control, not the other way around.
So go now….just BREATHE…and listen…and train that chihuahua!