Updated: Feb 10, 2020
I'm a firm believer that the Universe is always teaching us a lesson. Daily, I seem to have these experiences that amaze me at how much you can learn from yourself, when you really start to listen.
Last week, I woke up to a planned workout "in my head" of a nice, long, challenging run. It all sounded great the night before. I would get up early, go for my run, be in the sun, then get some work done when I got home and be proud of myself before noon. But there was just one little problem. I felt like crap that morning. I woke up to a sore throat and a feeling of fatigue in my body. But still, I got dressed and headed outside to be in the sun, as I knew that being in nature would likely shift my dull energy. So, for a few moments, without really listening to what my body was telling me, I started to run. What I noticed, was that I was breathing a lot heavier than normal and I was instantly even more fatigued within the first 5 minutes of the run. I stopped, slowed down, began to walk and talk to myself to get a sense of what was going on. (Yes... I do this a lot). I said, "hmm, ok, I definitely don't feel well enough to run right now. So what WOULD feel good in my body?" I asked myself this, because time after time, I've realized (usually the hard way), the importance of actually listening to my body, even when I don't want to or it inconveniences me. There have been many times where I want to do the tough workout because I'm just focused on "getting results," or because I think that's what "I should be doing." But, that's not always what my body needs, especially if I'm feeling a bit under the weather and experiencing low energy.
So, after a few minutes of irritation and a conversation with myself, I took a step back and decided that overdoing it with a challenging run was not in the cards for me that morning. It suddenly hit me, that I really needed to honor exactly what my body wanted in that moment (which was a leisurely walk with the sun on my face) and just be grateful that I had a moving body at all.
I think it can be hard when we have expectations for ourselves (in any area of life) to recognize that we cannot do it all. Sometimes, we have to be kind to ourselves. Sometimes, we have to understand that achieving the goal will actually cause more burnout. With exercise specifically, I believe this is a process of building your own intuitive awareness to your body and its needs. And it's a process I am learning all of the time and constantly being forced to pay attention to.
Now here's the real talk: When I was able to make the decision to do the walk over the run, there was a big guilty voice that popped up inside my head. It sounded a lot like this, "If I don't get this workout in, then I'm going to feel off all week," and "I really wanted to get this accomplished this morning and it's so annoying that I don't feel my best," and "I carved out this time specifically to get this workout done and now I feel lazy for not just getting it done." This goes on for a few minutes or a few hours, depending on what kind of day I'm having. However, one thing I know for sure is that: Guilt will never solve your problems. It will only perpetuate them. And guilt never creates feelings of stability, it always creates feelings of inadequacy.
So in these moments, it's crucial to understand, that the Universe is teaching you a lesson. And it was crucial for me to understand that it was more important for me to listen to my body and take it easy, than it was for me to check off a box on my to-do list.
After I finished my walk, I actually felt a bit more energized. Why? Because I LISTENED to what my body needed and actually delivered. I didn't force it to run because I wanted to look good in my summer clothes or swimsuit. I chose to be more cautious about what it needed to feel good in the long-term, not only physically, but emotionally. This isn't always an easy practice, but I think it's one that needs to be talked about more. The practice of intuitively listening to our bodies is overlooked, at best. Especially as women, we are forced to live up to expectations of what we should look like and are constantly feeling pressure to have a certain appearance and conform to the next best "thing" that will make us look a certain way. Exercise can be one of those brainwashing topics where women get confused and often participate for all the wrong reasons. Not because they want to, but because they think they have to. And while I'm all for body movement, I'm also an advocate for intuitively building an awareness around which types of movement are right for ME.
The fascinating part to this converstaion, is that every individual body on the planet is unique, with its own needs. And because of our individuality, it's especially important to remember that all bodies need different types of movement, just like they need different types of food and nourishment. And for me, that awareness has been one of the most liberating ways to take care of myself. Why? Because, when I empower myself to listen to what my body needs, then I empower myself to be the creator of my life. Because ultimately, I'm learning to listen to my inner intuition and there is endless power in doing that. Deep down, we all have an intuitive voice. And this voice is begging to be listened to at all times. But we must create a relationship to the voice and allow it space to speak up. Consciously, we need to give that voice more attention and understand that it has a purpose and it has power. When you listen to that intuitive voice, the one that will tell you to slow down when you're moving too fast, you start to gain traction over your life. You start to show up in the world as the authentic version of yourself. You start to feel more connected to not only your body, but your mind and your emotional states. You personal power lives within you and it's up to you to access it, by listening to this voice.
Not sure how to even start a relationship with your inner intuition? Here are a few tips to get you more connected to your body moving forward:
1.) Become aware that you have an inner intuitive voice that's constantly trying to talk to you. Ever get a little inkling of a feeling about something? Like an immediate gut reaction, or a sudden vibe? That's your intuition. That's your inner connection to your higher power, God, energy, whatever you want to call it... trying to talk to you. It's an inner "knowing" about yourself that radiates love, authenticity and is a representation of who you truly are. Just becoming a tiny bit aware of this intuition is more powerful than can be verbally explained. But let me try to do so here-- Connecting to your intuition helps you start to navigate your life with a sense of ease, flow and decisiveness. It allows you to step into a role that feels more confident, more calm and more sure. Only good things can happen when you connect to your intuition. I know that if you start to just simply build awareness around this inner voice, that you will start to gain information about yourself that you didn't know prior.
2.) Be willing to listen. This means you must get quiet. Start asking yourself: "What would feel good for my body right now?" Then get quiet so any sense of an answer can flood into your awareness. And yes, listening may feel like the hardest part, but once you listen to this intuitive voice, in ALL areas of your life, you will be guided to every single place, person, experience and workout that you need to become your higher self. And learning to listen to this inner voice might drastically change the relationship you have with your body to a more at ease feeling around how you view the skin you're in and how you feel about it.
3.) Be willing to MOVE your body. Sometimes, messages from our bodies are stagnant until we move the old and sometimes stuck energy up and out. Start doing some form of movement everyday and if you get a message from your body saying "nope," then that's your cue to make a different choice. Notice that message, then empower yourself by deciding you're going to choose another activity, workout, exercise, etc., that feels more supportive in that moment. By doing this, you're taking control of your body and what it needs to feel good, nourished and in flow with your intuition.
By now, I hope you can see some evidence that our bodies are constantly sending us messages and that we are continuously being asked to listen to. However, whether or not we pay attention is up to us. Ultimately, I feel that listening to your intuition is a form of self-respect. Or at least, that's what I believe the Universe has been teaching me lately...
As always, sending you all so much love. Until next time, keep striving to step into your personal power and to get your mind organized.