We are much more than the total sum of our flesh, bones, and blood. We are not our bodies, but rather we inhabit our bodies in order to experience life, manifest, and consciously evolve. Created to operate seamlessly, our physical bodies are the most miraculous technological devices. However, we often endure disease, illness, and chronic pain when we don’t listen to the emotional and mental conversations happening inside them.
The mind-body connection
Emotions are a natural response to our thoughts, feelings, and physiological experiences. They are intended to be encountered, digested, and processed through our body and mind, ultimately dissolving into the ether. Although this may seem easy enough, many struggle with their emotions and endure feelings of sadness, regret, shame, fear, or anger.
Many people grapple with releasing the past and surrendering to the magical unfolding of life. Some are so repelled by emotions that they bury them deep inside without realizing that emotions do not just disappear. When we do not reconcile our feelings or allow them to be expressed, they become trapped within our mind and body, causing us to expend enormous amounts of energy. In turn, this repressed energy obstructs the flow of information and depletes our vitality.
When we get sick or experience pain, our bodies are actually communicating with us, which can provide great insight into the emotional challenges we have in our lives. We have the incredible ability to heal just by understanding these messages to know how to move forward. Our bodies are talking to us all the time, and if we pay attention, we can consciously choose to translate and interpret the guidance being offered.
Rather than placing a Band-Aid on the symptom or swallowing a pill, consider learning to spend time nurturing a relationship between your mind and body. Looking at ourselves holistically allows us to see there is no separation between our emotions and cellular makeup.
The mind-body lessons I learned the hard way
For 15 years, I was a competitive and professional dancer. My entire identity was centered around being a performer. My family had made financial sacrifices and invested countless hours to support my talent and undeniable dedication. At the age of 17, however, I began to feel the immense pressures around sustaining a certain body type as well as pushing myself athletically beyond my physical limits.
I suffered from stress fractures, had an eating disorder, and more than anything, I wasn’t happy. What’s worse, I was too afraid to share my concerns with anyone, primarily and most significantly with myself. I was in absolute denial. I knew that to be transparent and authentic would mean admitting failure and denying myself the opportunity to make my dreams come true. Everything I had ever really worked for would be for nothing… At least this is what I believed.
By the time I was 20 years old and entering my final year as a dance major at the University of California, Los Angeles, I had a deep understanding that I no longer wanted to pursue life as a professional dancer and performer. The passion I once felt was no longer strong, and to dance professionally, this was imperative. My body felt depleted and broken, and I had a desire to expand my horizons and explore other professional avenues. The only problem was I had no idea how to broach the subject, and as a result, my body “gifted” me with physical symptoms that forced my immediate resignation from dance, a change in my university major, and new career pursuits.
On my routine walk to dance class one day, my heart began beating rapidly and pounding out of my chest. Several times, I stopped in my tracks as the palpitations were that intense. By the time I got to the studio, I was shaking and unable to stand. I thought I was having a heart attack. Around that time, I had lost an incredible amount of weight, was losing my hair, and was suffering from insomnia, night sweats, and mood swings. After seeking emergency medical intervention and numerous lab tests and screenings, I learned I had Graves’ disease, a severe hyperthyroid autoimmune disorder.
As I was unable to communicate and express my emotions and thoughts, my throat chakra was blocked, and disease manifested in that part of my body. It wasn’t until I began my healing work many years later that I came to understand this was my body’s way of screaming at me to clear out the trapped toxicity and speak my truth.
My illness was the catalyst for me to make rapid life changes. Strangely, my diagnosis was a relief. I was grateful for the legitimate reason to stop dancing and release the incredible stress I was feeling. I no longer had to live a lie.
Tapping into your inner dialogue and working through emotions
When you feel a symptom, such as a stomachache, back pain, a headache, or a skin rash, ask your body what message it is attempting to deliver to you. Describe the symptoms to yourself. What does it feel like? Listen to your body and have an honest conversation with it. For example, if I had a sore throat, I might feel a tight, burning restriction. What do you use your throat for? Communication. Therefore, you could ask yourself, “What am I feeling restricted to communicate? What am I burning to share?”
If I had a pain in my hip that was aching and my mobility was limited, I would ask myself, “What are my hips good for?” My answer may be movement. Therefore, I could ask, “Where in my life am I having difficulty moving forward? Where do I feel limited? What may be holding me back?” Each part of our body represents a different message, and if we fail to listen, it will eventually result in something serious enough that medical intervention may be the only way forward.
If we are able to acknowledge the messages our bodies are attempting to communicate with us, we most likely could avoid life-threatening illnesses. Imagine you were trying to communicate a message to someone who could not hear you or who was ignoring you. You would likely repeat the message multiple times; eventually, you would get louder and louder. This is exactly how our bodies work.
The good news is that no matter how long we have been accumulating emotional pain, our essential nature is to be in balance, feel whole, and experience limitless potential. As we let go of the residue of past experiences, healing can occur.