Listening to the Body

In the mornings, my body is like an old locomotive steam-driven train creeping like molasses in winter. In the evenings, prior to my body’s starting gun firing to begin my exercise routine, my body sluggishly goes to the starting spot. Sometimes, my “Things To Do” lists remain incomplete because of an infection of the virus of procrastination. Other times, the temperature of my sexual desires breaks the summer heat records. Then there’s the feeling of elated joy at the reception of an unexpected WhatsApp message. 

Where am I going? Well, I was gifted with a dance concept called Gaga, developed by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. Gaga is a movement language intended to help practitioners raise physical awareness by focusing or listening to the rhythm of their bodies, letting them direct their movement and the pleasure that movement brings. Dancers uses Gaga to prepare the body for rehearsal and performances. The director describes it as “listening to the body before you tell the body what to do.” In a word, becoming aware of the body.

After receiving the Gaga gift package, I went to retrieve another gift from Anthony de Mello that I had half opened in the book called Stop Fixing Yourself: Wake up, All is Well. He writes:

The trouble with most people is that they’re busy trying to fix things in themselves that they really don’t understand . . . Stop fixing yourself. . . Simply watch . . .These things in you that you struggle to fix just need to be understood. If you understood them, they would change.”

Listen to the body before you tell the body what to do.

Our daily challenge is that we give permission to our emotions to make decisions. The result is that our decisions become erratic because emotions work like a pendulum. Circumstances trigger different emotions in any one day. I am learning not to abdicate responsibility to the emotions of the pendulum, but simply to be aware – listen to my body before telling it what to do. If we do, we would be more gentle, persuasive and instructive with what we tell our bodies to do.

Is this what Jesus may have done in the mornings when he rose early and went to a quiet place to pray? Was he only listening to the Father?  Was he also listening his own body before telling it what to do for the day? 

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