An Exercise in Listening

Just because we are in our bodies does not mean we always know what it’s saying.
It can also be easy to push past what our bodies are telling us when we’re at a loss.
Our overwhelming exhaustion can be ignored when we have commitments to meet.
The unsettled feeling in our gut can be explained away as indigestion.
But our bodies are also highly sophisticated machines that can do so much more than we give credit for, often times. So are you listening?

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So let’s do a quick exercise in listening.
Find a quiet spot to sit where you can close your eyes and be at ease.


Take everything out of your hands. Your phone. Your car keys. Anything that might take the slightest bit of attention from you listening.


What do you hear? Birds? The air conditioner? People talking in the distance? Really listen.


How does your body feel? Your limbs and organs aren’t in the habit of sending email updates so it’s up to you to be listening. Is your head heavy? Are you aware of all the muscles that are presently engaged? Do you feel light or sinking? Keep asking yourself simple questions. How do I feel? Why do I feel that way? Is it this? Is it that?

Don’t assume you know the answer. Give your body a chance to respond.
Are your shoulders open and relaxed? Are your sinuses stuffy?
Start at the top of your head and work your way down.


Open your eyes. Consider writing down what you hear. If you’re like most people, something that felt very vibrant and real feels less so an hour, a day, a week later. You may not even remember feeling something at all by the end of the day. Journaling helps you keep track of trends and things that need your attention. For example, seeing several days of feeling exhausted should prompt you to squeeze a nap in somewhere or re-evaluate your schedule on a permanent basis. The next question after that may be why are you overcommitting? Is it that you just need to use your calendar when agreeing to things or is it something deeper like a fear of disappointing someone by saying no? Your body is counting on you to be listening.

So what do you hear it saying?