Monday, April 19, 2010


Listening is an active and indispensable part of communication. I admit, that it is often the point of breakdown in communication between my mind and body. I have been trying very hard the last few years to listen to what my body has to say, but I still find my opinionated mind not willing to listen. Even when it does pretend to listen, does it really hear, understand and make the appropriate judgement?

It is not all my mind's fault. My body is not always very direct and easy to understand. It has been known to ramble around and not really get to a point- if there even is a point. Perhaps, if instead of intermittent nagging about my shoulder in February it had made a more concise point, I might have not taken four weeks to admit I had an injury. My mind is not all at fault for shutting down and ignoring the nagging, ask any husband, it is a necessary life skill!

Understanding what the body is trying to convey is even more difficult. In therapeutic communication we are taught to paraphrase back what we have heard in order to verify comprehension. Last week, my body was telling my mind it was tired. Super tired was more like it. It was sleeping up to 10 hours a night and insisting on cat naps during the day. I felt sleepy all the time, well almost all the time. I felt fabulous during my workouts. When I was moving I was great, as soon as I stopped I was wiped out. This presented my mind quite the conundrum. Was my body saying, keep moving never stop? Or, sleep all the time? My mind deduced that the body couldn't be too tired if it felt great during workouts but needed it rests none the less. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and sleep while moving. But not while driving, never while driving!

When all is said and done, the mind reserves the right to final judgement. I am not saying that my mind always gets it right when it over rides my body. If it did, I wouldn't need to work on my listening skills! There are times when the mind has to tell the body to shut up and suck it up and there are times when the body needs to SCREAM in order to be heard.

'Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.' -Dogen 1200-1253  (if the voice inside of you is telling you that you are God and you should take off your clothes and run down the freeway, don't listen to that voice!)

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