Healing Begins with Listening
Written by Kael Balizer, owner of Life In Balance
It is natural to look for the answer when we are dealing with a physical or emotional health issue.
If you are dealing with a health concern you may find yourself spending a lot of time looking for the quick answer. Staying up late searching the internet looking for the right doctor, herb, lotion or potion that is going to fix what is wrong with you. There is so much information out there that we can find ourselves overwhelmed, jumping from one thing to next. I have been in this this exact place.
But in our searching, the thing that gets missed is what the body is really asking for. Discomfort is our bodies way of telling us to stop and listen, to pay attention. Instead, in our frenzy to find the answer, we can move further away, looking for answers outside ourselves.
The problem with this strategy for healing is that it doesn’t work. Not that you shouldn’t find supportive health partners to support you along your healing path; I think a healing team is essential, but where you are coming from makes all the difference. Coming from fear, (fix me or something is wrong with me) can lead you on a wild goose chase, never trusting any approach. Trusting and listening to your inner guidance (the body’s voice) can direct you to supportive practitioners that will work in partnership with you and your body.
Hand-In-Hand Parenting, a philosophy I appreciate for raising children, shares that misbehaving or “off-track behavior” is a symptom of the child feeling disconnected from themselves and the parent. When children are displaying “off-track behavior”, the initial impulse might be to discipline them or scold them to get them to behave and act better. But, based on this thinking, instead of berating, punishing or separating ourselves, we need to move in closer to find connection. When children are feeling good and connected, they are naturally cooperative and helpful.
Same goes for our body. Our bodies naturally want to find balance, harmony, and ease – co-operate and play nice with the whole system. When our bodies are “off track”, what if, instead of blaming, shaming, ignoring, or moving away to find the answer, we moved in closer to re-establish that connection?
In Ayurveda, the word for healing is swasthya, which ultimately means to return to ourselves. The first step in returning to ourselves is slowing down and listening. We need to listen to our bodies first and foremost. There is a very particular type of listening that is needed.
Returning to the analogy of the child: I know for me, if I am listening to my children from an agenda, such as what is wrong, worry or fixing them, they all but shut down and won’t share. The same goes for our bodies – when we are listening from a place of fear, lack of trust, agenda, fixing it, or a time line, our bodies aren’t free to communicate with us or find a safe space to heal. This listening is a full body surrender.
Listening is the most powerful healing tool. Over the years, I have witnessed the extraordinary benefits of listening to my clients in consultation. I have also experienced the benefits in my own life being listened to. Being able to share our pain, fear and judgement from a place of acceptance is transformational. When we feel safe, deep relaxation takes place. Stress hormones decrease and the body is bathed in feel-good hormones, creating the foundation for healing.
When we are relaxed, safe to share and be ok as we are, another amazing thing happens – we can think about what we need and respond to our bodies signals to slow down, stop, breath etc. Our intelligence is liberated. We are the most brilliant healers for our own bodies when we listen.
I want to share a quick example of a client I worked with this week. He was dealing with a shoulder injury. We started by doing some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping on his feelings around his shoulder.
We began with, “Even though I’m worried about not being able to play tennis again, I love and accept myself and I love and accept my body (tap-tap-tap…).” He then realized that he actually knew he was going to get better, but he felt impatient. I guided him in tapping on the feelings of impatience around his healing. After a couple rounds of tapping, he was feeling more relaxed around the healing process.
Then, I had him close his eyes and take a moment to connect and dialogue with his shoulder. He asked his shoulder, “What do you want to tell me, what do you need?” The shoulder replied, “I don’t like being abused and want you to pay attention and look after your whole body and not take it for granted.” Some tears started to flow (ahhh… more feel-good hormones being released). We tapped in this new information and he made a commitment to his body, to care for it. At the end of the session he was amazed at how much better his shoulder felt!
This practice of connecting and listening to the body is something you can do anytime, on your own. Right now, take a moment to stop and check in with your body. Is there a place that is drawing your attention? It might be experienced as pain, a place where the breath isn’t moving or an underlying emotion waiting to get acknowledged.
Begin by putting your hand or awareness on this area, connect with your breath, and start a conversation with your body. “Hi sweet body. How are you doing? I’m sorry you are hurting. Is there anything you want to share with me? What do you need?” Allow the conversation to unfold without an agenda.
If you can really be with your body in a present, compassionate way and let go of the resistance, the path to healing may be a lot simpler and sweeter than you know. May you discover many jewels of wisdom on your journey.
If you have had a healing experience of listening to your body previously or in doing this practice today, please share your insights and inspire us all to be our own best healer.