November 15, 2013

Listening practice, another step toward caring for self

If I can sum up my goals for this upcoming year in just one word, it is: LISTEN

I'm really good at following the lead of my kids, observing them, listening and validating their needs, trusting them, and mothering them in ways that respect who they are. 

I'm really good at following the lead of my mama clients in birth, observing them, listening to their needs, trusting their bodies, and supporting them in ways that respect and facilitate their priorities and their process. 

I believe that little bodies and birthing bodies have innate intuition, insight, and guidance. Yet, in order to be heard there needs to be someone present and willing to listen. 

Despite how ingrained TRUST IN BODY is for me, I've had a slow realization that in some very basic ways I've lost touch with my own inner knowing. Over time, and with a lot of practice, I've become accustomed to ignoring and overriding the voice that signals hunger, fullness, a need for sleep, or time to rest. I've lost trust in my own body to tell me what it needs. 

I don't mean to imply that I have an inherent flaw, I'm referring to the subtleties of : 
  • over-committing my person or my time to activities that I know aren't the best use of my limited resources. 
  • choosing to stay up late watching another episode of my favorite show instead of listening to my exhausted body and going to bed to refuel with adequate sleep. 
  • Eating lunch at noon just because it's "lunchtime", even though I'm not hungry.
  • Ignoring hunger for hours because I'm immersed in writing or running errands, or think I'll eat less overall if I can just hold off. 
  • knowing that what I really need now is to read a book, or take a yoga class, or chat with a friend, or take a nap, and instead of honoring those requests I feel compelled to check social media accounts, run 5 miles, check off items from my work to-dos, or stay awake to tidy the house. 
Do you know what I mean? 

I used to make these little decisions as a result of a lack of awareness, but lately it has been in spite of a rather well developed one. I'm switching gears from ignoring and overriding what I feel, to cultivating a generally quieter and less stressful lifestyle more conducive to hearing even the softest calls, listening for them, hearing them without judgement, trusting that there is some wisdom present, and then choosing to care for myself.

So, this week the kids have been sick with Fall colds, and I have had a lingering migraine that served as my first cue that I was probably next in line for a scratchy throat and sinus congestion. I've been dragging all week, just tired, and grumpy.

Instead of using the time that I generally rely on to get my work done and to write, and to keep home, I chose to spend most of it sleeping or laying about. It's a hard thing to do, to choose self care over productivity, but I have to start somewhere, and this week while my list of to-dos remains lengthy, it feels really good to practice listening.

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