It’s been a long time since I’ve heard my stomach growling.
And that could be for many reasons such as I am often drinking plenty of water and that I tend to graze instead of having meals on days I’m working from home. Yet, it might actually be that I’ve been distant from my body.
I got to thinking about this in a dream while dozing. Some years ago, I took a second job at Target to supplement my income and fill plenty of hours I usually spent alone, lonely at home. While there, folding clothes and rearranging hanging racks, I became acquainted with several young women who were deeply interested in fashion. These young ladies were taking alternative routes to education, for whatever life reasons got in their way, and working at Target was a stepping stone to have some pocket money as well as gain experience in retail.But the biggest thing I remember about these girls is that I would often hear them saying things like, “I skipped lunch because I’m getting too fat. Sorry if you can hear my stomach growling.” And that always impressed me. I was never one to be able to deal with a growling tummy for long. I found it uncomfortable and upsetting. I had to put something in it, no matter how small, because it really disturbed me. Maybe that’s a result of my working-poor background, but I just couldn’t endure long periods of empty stomach rumbling.As I think about it now, I feel that this fear was most likely a fear of scarcity. That grumbly noise was the very clear sign that there was not enough food, and that was something, through choices I was hoping would lead to a more abundant life, that I could leave in my past.
But remembering these girls makes me think of two things. On one hand, it’s impressive how much discomfort one can bear in the effort of avoiding the big bad fear of being fat. And on the other hand, how I have recently not been in touch with my body.
If I’m honest with myself, and with you, dear reader, I can say that I have been really afraid of exercise since my surgery back in September. The recovery has gone pretty well and it seems that all systems are go, but there are still days where I feel certain movements that require usage of my lower abdominal muscles are difficult. I’m not talking about Roman chair sit-ups or anything, I’m talking about movements you have probably done ten times today already.
Sure, it dances through my mind that I should renew my yoga practice when I feel the weakness, but immediately on the heels of that thought, I experience the flash of an abstract, yet graphic picture of torn, ripping abdominal muscles. And when I feel this way, I tend to panic just a little bit. Maybe more than a little bit. And then I brush it off, vow to take it easy, and recommence ignoring the signals given by the body I’ve been saying I need to listen to in order to have a healthy recovery.
And that’s the problem.
Noticing that I haven’t heard my stomach growl is simply a sign that I have not been in my body. My body has been sending signals that it is ready for movement, and even missing it, that I have been too in my head to heed. It’s time for me to unroll my mat and get back to my body. We can ease ourselves into it, no need to jump in head first. Just getting onto the mat might be enough of a first step if I truly listen to my body and let her lead.
Movement isn’t just about fitness, it is a communion you make with the body that you are apart of. It is the way you stay connected. Take some time out to reacquaint yourself with your body today. I guarantee you’ll discover something new.
What about you? What’s your body saying that your mind may be ignoring?