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2 in 3 part Health and Wellness series...Lets go deeper...

“Staying healthy is about really listening to your mind and body. They will both let you know when you’re doing things the right way for you. And when you’re not. You just need to be honest with yourself and listen to what they’re saying.”

Being a healer, the most common question I receive is without a doubt ‘but how do you just know what my body needs?’ Which I always respond with ‘Your body tells me, and I speak its language.’

The truth is, is not really anything more than that. Your body speaks a language that isn’t English, and I learned it. So, can you, like, right now. The language your body speaks is called, pain. The pain you feel is the language you just haven’t learned to understand yet. It’s the same if you were flown to China, having never been to China or not of Chinese origin, and began listening to the locals communicating. You have no idea what they are saying! If you wanted to communicate, you would have to learn Chinese. If you want to learn how to maintain health and cure yourself, you will have to learn how to speak Pain.

But unlike being dropped in the middle of China without ever hearing or learning a lick of Chinese, you’ve lived your whole life hearing this language; you just didn’t understand what it was trying to say to you.

Engaging the body with its own language is the single most powerful way to activate your own innate self-healing capabilities and strengthen your immune health and maintain healthy cellular activity. The body already knows how to heal itself, in our last blog we already shared the reality of homeostasis, the built-in balancing system the body relies on. It’s just that your mind and your attention are giving it conflicting input on what to do next. The biggest thing to understand about your mind, is that is does not understand the difference between real threat and perceived threat. Your mind will send the exact same fight or flight hormones if you are in the jungle being chased by a lion, or if you are watching an immersive video or movie, watching someone being chased by a lion in the jungle. Your mind fills your body with adrenaline and cortisol to fight off the lion, either way. The way you mindfully stop this inaccurate process from happening is to use your attention to check in with your physical body. To look at your feet or your hands and allow your mind to see the reality; you are safe at home, watching a movie.

Have you ever heard the term ‘monkey mind’? that’s ^ where that comes from. Like a monkey, mind see, mind do. It’s the minds entire job; to analyze input and file it as either new experience or memory reinforcement. It’s a simple organism when compared to the body’s multiple functions and capabilities, and its why mindfulness practice is so very important for optimal health. Your mind, left unchecked, can single handedly cause dis-ease and dysfunction throughout your entire body. It happens every single day. We are a society intent on documenting, complaining and satirizing our entire human experience. The social media and meme culture have thoroughly entertained and damaged our minds version of reality to the point of partial or full psychosis being a normal, daily diagnosis. Every day more and more people are being put onto mind altering drugs because they cannot control what their mind is doing or saying. Your mind is totally overwhelmed and lost due to your constant barrage of pointless and thoughtless communications, notifications, alerts and alarms. So, it’s clear that the first step in listening and communicating with our bodies, is to get the mind in check and quiet enough to do what it was intended to do, which is direct and organize stimuli in a healthy and ordered way.

Meditation has become more accessible and more confusing than ever before in the last decade. With the accessibility of guided meditations, sound meditations, Buddhist chanting, Zen teachings, etc., promise to be a monk amid New York city feels more attainable than ever. For most of us, however, life in Western society is far more complex than just listening to guided meditations daily. While I advise you to use those meditations and don’t find anything wrong with them individually, I do find people increasingly frustrated with themselves that they can’t ‘mediate right’ or they still ‘have racing thoughts’, and they ‘still can’t sleep’. Basically, it just doesn’t stick. Monks in monasteries have the advantage of walking out from their meditation into a valley overlooking the Himalayas or engaging with other monks taken a silent oath. That’s a far cry from the businessman or woman who have their 2 o’clock meeting after their mediation or must pick up the kids from soccer practice. Immediately, in our society, we are met with more reasons we need to meditate after our meditation. So, don’t use a Buddhist monk as your guru when you live in Manhattan and expect your journeys to somehow end in the same instant of enlightenment. It might happen, but more than likely you will just find yourself more frustrated, more think-y, and not in the womb of health and well-being you set out to.

Meditation in the West looks like taking a walk outside without your phone in your pocket or shoes on your feet. When’s the last time you felt the earth on your bare feet? It looks like sitting outside your house and listening to the sounds without using the internal monologue of your mind to go ‘car, bird, horn, firetruck, trash truck’, but just listening to the sounds for their vibrations and tones. Reading a book and hanging onto every word while your mind creates the images its reading. Sitting and doing nothing. Cooking and being totally immersed in your craft. The list goes on. My favorite active meditations involve going into the sauna in my neighborhood, or taking a long solo hike in the hills, or riding my bike around the lake.

Its anytime you aren’t tethered to your phone or device. Anytime you are fully immersed in what you are doing, and you aren’t consumed with what will happen next. True meditation is being with yourself fully, without a reason to get way from yourself. Without the need to distract some of you so that the rest of you can accomplish something. As Americans we have mastered the art of multi-tasking. Meditation asks that you become a novice once again. Mediation begs you to return to the source of yourself and your mind, when it didn’t have all this stuff to do. So, just put the stuff down and breath. Get outside, read, paint, draw, dance, whatever. Just do it. and only it.

Learning to speak to your body is the same as learning a new language, only this language you’ve overheard your family speaking your entire life, you just didn’t understand it. Mindfulness and meditation are your Rosetta stone, they will set the groundwork for your full understanding and immersion into the world of body and health.

“If you listen to your body when it whispers, you will not have to hear it scream.”

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