Gratitude and discernment (what to give up and what to take up, in Buddhist lingo) are my two favourite and main practices these days. Of late, I have been on an interesting excursion with discernment regarding tuning into what my body and mind need in any moment. This discernment for me has been about learning to ‘take up’ - listening to my wise, intuitive ‘best friend’ self for what I need in any moment (the wise one my left shoulder) and what to ‘give-up’ – listening to the punitive, critical task master, (the one on my right shoulder).
As you know in the last couple of blogs I have been exploring this in terms of the body’s basic self-care needs for nutrition, balanced activity and rest. In yoga the energy centre related to our basic self-care needs is the base or Muladhara Chakra or energy centre. The idea is that by taking care of our basic needs for nutrition, balanced non-harmful activity and rest we have a firm base of support, a full tank or a grounded foundation so we can be of benefit to others and have plenty to share. I am not able to be of benefit to anyone if I am tired, malnourished, busy or stressed.
So, with the help of some wise advice from ……….
My favourite ABC practice to tune into the body’s needs
So, in this blog I wanted to share some times this fortnight I have remembered to tune into my wise best friend. In our next blog I will tell you about some times I forgot and I learned that, when I don’t listen to my wise intuitive body sometimes it teaches me a necessary truth (just like a Best Friend would).
It is important to remember to work with our habits, wants and needs with kindness and curiosity. Habits like ………
As I am learning explore my wants and needs with this awareness and curiosity, I am more able to be aware to tune into my body for what is needed rather than be bossed around by the tricky task master who is so often punitive and demanding with its wants. And, as we will explore next blog, if I ignore the body's wisdom it will teach me a necessary truth, just like a best friend would!
As I am continuing to learn, it takes practice to get used to tune into and listen to that best friend who is always has our best interests at heart. So, no need to be punitive, or for blame, or to be judgmental or give ourselves a hard time when we forget.
I am learning to listen to my kind encouraging best friend for guidance. Last blog I explored my morning coffee habit as an example of being aware of my, often unconscious coffee habit and tuning into my body and listening for what it needs, rather than being driven by the unconscious habit of the ego. This fortnight I have been using curiosity to play with my snacking habit.
My snacking habit.
I returned back to work and was close to finished when I thought about having a cup of tea and a snack. I remembered there was a block of chocolate in the pantry. Again, I did my ABC and asked what my body needed. Yes, a cup of tea and a couple of pieces of chocolate was what was needed. A thought came to mind, ‘you could have more of that chocolate!’ Amazingly I remembered to ask again what my body needed – a break was the answer, so I took a 5 minute shavassana instead of eating the rest of the chocolate (which I could have easily done, and felt sick).
This for me is about awareness and discernment, learning to tune into my wise intuitive 'best friend' to direct a healthy choice of what is needed and best for me. So, no need for ‘punitive task master or fake friend’. This discernment or what to ‘take up’ or what to ‘give up’ as healthy habits that promote balanced self-care in order to be available for others, is a work in progress and a practice I am playing with, with curiosity.
And I make lots of so-called mistakes (aka learning opportunities). There are plenty of times I don’t listen to the intuitive needs of my body and go with the unhelpful choice. And that is ok too, as a learner mistakes are necessary learning opportunities. My best friend self is always kind, encouraging and truthful. More about forgetting and learning next blog!
As I said last blog, for me it is well worth the time and effort to tune into my wise, intuitive best friend self in any moment. It is an important way I can look after myself in order to be more available to connect and care for others.
I am feeling very grateful for everything in my life and having finished this blog (with no snacking). I am now off to have some fun in the garden.