Image by Gerd Altmann
"Wherever I land, something will be there for me.
The destination no longer matters --
the going is all, for everywhere is sacred."
-- Jay Martin, Journey to Heavenly Mountain
So many things happen in life -- in our own life personally and in life in general -- that don't seem to be part of the plan. Whether it involves the end of a job, a relationship, a home, our health, a situation takes place, and we seem to have the rug swept out from under us. We frantically search for something to grab on to, we panic, we fear the worst, but somehow, sooner or later, we end up back on our feet.
Maybe that is the recipe for a happy life -- knowing in the depths of our being, that no matter what happens, it will end up ok. No matter what it looks like, that the infinite possibilities in the Universe will allow one to surface -- the right one.
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In our own limited scope of vision, we don't always realize that what seems like chaos is simply the birth of a new vision; what seems like the wrong solution ends up being the perfect one; and as we all may have experienced, the person who seems to be Ms. or Mr. Right, ends up being not quite perfect after all.
But does something (or someone) not being perfect mean that it is wrong? Does the fact that someone is limping mean they are "faulty"? Does someone's or something's appearance have anything to do with its innate goodness? Of course not.
Do Not Be Fooled by Appearances
One of my favorite fruits is the mamey. Now on the outside a mamey doesn't look like much. It is brown and has a skin texture resembling dark coarse sandpaper. Yet, when you cut into a ripe mamey, what greets you is a wonderful dark orange fruit which is sweet and has a texture like custard. The outside has no resemblance to the inside.
And so it is, in many cases, with the challenges in our life. To continue with our fruit analogies, some of our challenges resemble a coconut -- hard, tough, rough, and with seemingly no way to have anything wonderful about it. Yet, once you crack it open, the "meat" of the coconut, while hard, is sweet. In the same way, the outside of the challenge (the hard part) seems terrible. It makes you want to simply run and leave it there. But if you persevere and get to the center of the challenge, past the hard tough rough exterior, you reach the reward, the fruit. The lesson or the gift of the challenge is usually well worth the challenge.
But what often happens to us, in this world of instant gratification, is that we often don't hang around to get the gift of the challenge. As soon as a relationship is a little rocky, we say "so long". As soon as a little difficulty pops up, we either turn on the TV to ignore it, or go into denial and pretend it doesn't exist. As soon as we get any symptom of pain, we take a pain-killer. As soon as we get a slight feeling of illness, we pop one pill or another. Yet, each challenge comes with a message, with a gift, that we can only discover if we listen to what it has to say.
Recognizing the Messages?
I discovered years back that my body had ways of letting me know when something was good for me or not. The method it has of communicating with me changes with each situation, but let me give you some examples. Perhaps you will recognize these in your own life as well, or perhaps they will lead you to discover what your messages are.
Smell: There are certain times, when I simply pick up a food, smell it, and immediately I feel a reaction in my stomach. Sometimes I will get instant "acid indigestion" and I have only smelled the food -- obviously my body is telling me, stay away, that food will give you acid indigestion. Other foods, while they may smell perfectly OK at any other time, on a particular day will smell unappetizing to me. Some days, I'll smell an apple and it smells great, other days, it doesn't seem to have much appeal, and the pear is what smells better. Again, my body is letting me know which food is right for it -- at that moment.
Reactions: At other times, I'll have a symptom pop up in some weak area of my body to tell me I am out of balance. Recently, this weak spot is a pending abscess on one of my back teeth. Now you might say that I should go and get it fixed, but actually this abscess is proving to be a great indicator in my life. Anytime I'm stressed out, or if I've been eating too much sugar, it swells up -- not painfully, but I feel it swell up. And that's my message to take a look at my life and see where I'm out of balance. Sometimes I realize right away that it was something I ate that had a lot of sugar, other times I know that I've been pushing myself too hard. Regardless of the cause (which I can discover upon reflection), that little abscess swells up to gain my attention -- and if I ignore it, and continue the abusive behavior, it progressively gets more swollen until it starts to hurt.
Headaches: Headaches are often the same thing -- they're an indicator of something which is out of harmony, out of balance. Sometimes, I'll say something negative (or nasty) or get into a foul mood, and I feel a slight tinge of a headache -- not a full blown headache, just like a warning signal. My body is saying "keep on this path, and you'll get a headache".
A great book to help you learn how your body is communicating with you, is Louise Hay's Heal Your Body. She has a list of "conditions or illnesses" and their non-physical causes. It's a mind opener and a great tool to get you thinking in that direction. Another more recent, and much more detailed book, is Jacques Martel's The Complete Dictionary of Ailments and Diseases.
Learning To Trust Your Body & Its Guidance
Our body is our friend even though, many times, we surely don't treat it like a friend. We overwork it, stress it out, feed it chemicals (for food or entertainment), we pollute it (smoking, alcohol, negative thoughts), etc. Yet, through it all, our body still is sending us messages -- this is good for you, this is not, this hurts, this feels good, this turns my stomach, this smells bad, etc. Yet, we have come to trust the "scientific studies", the latest diet fads, the current "hot product", rather than trusting our body and its own innate knowledge.
There are many ways to communicate with your body and find out what it has to say. One is simply by having an ongoing conversation with it -- treat it like an imaginary friend and talk as well as listen. Another way of getting messages from your body is simply by paying attention to it -- how it feels, where there's an ache or discomfort, what makes it feel good or bad.
There are several techniques to use to get responses from your body. One of these is muscle testing. While I can't go into a whole teaching on muscle testing here, it is something that is taught in many classes and books and is easy to use.
Another way of getting answers from your body is to use your body as a pendulum. Simply allow your body to sway gently in a yes or no fashion in response to questions. This takes a little practice and is best done, at first, in a quiet environment where you can really tune in and "feel" the response rather than expect to visually see it. Other people use an actual pendulum and ask it questions, and since the pendulum that you hold is an extension of your hand, that can work, yet I find that using my own self as a pendulum is much simpler, not to say less obvious in public places.
Fine Tuning Your Inner Channel to Pick Up Subtle Messages
The key is always to pay attention to your inner messages and feelings. It can be easy in this world we live in to go on "automatic pilot" -- to simply eat, work, sleep, and fall into a routine and react to things as they come up. The disadvantage of living on "automatic" is that to get your attention, your body has to resort to drastic measures -- cancer, tumors, or other chronic pain or illnesses.
When your body needs to let you know that what you're doing is not in its best interests (or yours), it at first will try subtle ways to reach you. If that doesn't work, it takes out the "big guns". That's when you might wish you had paid attention earlier.
So I encourage you to, at least twice a day (morning and night), do a mental scan of your body. Ask yourself (and your body) how things are. Check from your head down to your toes. Give your body a chance to give you gentle messages, rather than waiting for the cosmic 2 x 4 (for those of you on the metric system, this equates to a hard whack over the head with a hefty piece of lumber).
If you're already at the "being hit over the head" stage, then look for the gift in the challenge. Find out what your body is trying to tell you, and make the needed changes in your life NOW. It's never too late to make changes in your life and have a healthier and happier life. Go for it! It's yours for the asking (and the listening).
InnerSelf Recommended Book:
Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them
by Louise L. Hay.
Louise Hay's "little blue book" is considered the most comprehensive guide to the probable mental causes behind illness in your body.
Info/Order this book. (4th edition, newer cover)
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.