Signs

All morning I wanted to be somewhere else — anywhere else.  My feet were ready to roam, and I thought of a number of interesting things I could do, useful things, fun things.  I pottered around the house, playing on the internet, doing a little spinning, playing with yarn and beads, and thought about going somewhere else.

It’s not that I need a break, though.  I just had a field trip yesterday, going out for lunch, then to a cafe to do some writing, then to find a bead shop and get some beads suitable for adding to a couple of knitting projects, then to choir.  It was a lovely day out, and I don’t think I need another one.  I was itchy to do something, but the things I was thinking about weren’t really the right things.  About lunchtime I realized that what I needed to do is sit down and write, get to work and produce something.  The itchy feeling I had was pushing me to be active, but I was misinterpreting it, trying to find an easier way to soothe it than the harder work I really need to engage.  Sometimes field trips are good, but it’s work that’s really satisfying.

I’ve been thinking about this too lately, how I misinterpret signs.  I mistook my need to “do something” as an excuse to run off and play for the afternoon.  I mistake physical cues all the time.  I think I’m feeling grumpy, but really I’m hungry, or have a mild headache.  It’s like the wires are crossed somehow, signals don’t come through in the way I expect, so I try to fix the wrong thing or miss the signals entirely.  I don’t give my body what it needs, so the problem gets worse, and maybe starts spawning new problems.

One of the hardest things I find to deal with here is just admitting the depths of my own cluelessness.  I mean, how can you just not notice being hungry?  That’s the stomach’s job to speak up about, isn’t it?  Sometimes it does, so how come sometimes it doesn’t?  How come I sometimes have to wait on something else to tip me off that I’ve forgotten to feed and water myself again?  It doesn’t seem like it “ought” to be that way, so I don’t make a point of trying to feel what I’m really feeling physically, or make plans to manage the stuff that I just plain struggle with.

Misunderstanding signs is another kind of block, another thing that holds me back in life, if only from not taking care of myself well enough to support doing my best work.  So I’m trying to pay closer attention to what I really need, to figure out what my body and subconscious are really telling me, and finding ways to manage the things I perpetually get wrong.  Taiji is helping; spending blocks of time focused on my body as I practice taiji is fostering a greater awareness of my body at other times too, I’m more likely to notice now if I’m sitting or standing poorly or tensing some part of my body for no reason at all (something I tend to do frequently, I’m discovering).  Just taking a moment to think about what I’m doing, what I want to do, what time it is, what I’ve done so far in the day can also help — have I eaten breakfast?  How about lunch?  Have I been drinking water?  Have I been writing or knitting or in some other way focusing for a long time, and need to take a break?  Remembering to stop and be aware makes a difference, when I remember to do it!

Some signals are becoming clearer.  Today I feel parched, and I realize that not only do I need to drink more water, but also I’ve been eating too many processed foods lately, too much salt and preservatives.  I’m craving fresh stuff, fruit and vegetables and good, simple dishes.  That’s a problem I can fix properly with some planning and a trip to the grocery store, now that I’ve recognized it.  I hope that paying more attention to the rest of me will help that kind of awareness spread through the daily things I do.

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1 comment so far

  1. Lab Cat on

    Relearning to listen to your body is very hard. Sometimes you just have to sit quietly and see what it is saying. Over time you will know what you want and recognize your body’s cues.


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