The human body is a pretty incredible thing. We are built to survive this world and what it has to offer, but what is more is that we are built to thrive in this world. Now, don’t get me wrong, the functional parts of our body sometimes make more sense for when we were hunters and gatherers than in this modern day 2020 world, but that functionality remains if we let it do its job.
This has been on my heart for years. I preach it in sessions when I am talking about emotions. I believe that all of our emotions serve a purpose. That does NOT mean “everything happens for a reason,” but what it does mean is that the emotion you are feeling-it is your body’s way of trying to tell you something. Sure, there are definitely situations in which what the body is telling you maybe does not fit what is happening right in front of you. For example, we often feel anxious in situations that we are actually perfectly safe, but that anxiety is stemming from somewhere and could quite possibly be addressed.
This idea of functionality really came to light for me (I am laughing right now, and you will see why this is funny in a second) when my husband and I recently replaced the windows on our townhouse. Our place is vintage (aka old) and the windows were single pane and did pretty much nothing to block out the Arizona heat and neighborhood noise. So, we replaced them with fancy schmancy double pain glass that we were really sold on when the salesman did that cool trick with the heat lamp and the glass to show us how much heat it would block out (I am easily impressed, what can I say?) So, we decided to replace the windows and with that, also decided that it was time to replace the window dressings that the previous owner had left that we never really liked anyway. But I am quite indecisive when it comes to things like that, so after weeks of searching, we ended up purchasing a plain, white, thin, linen, blind style covering for our windows. We figured that it would give us time to choose something that we really liked instead of rushing to choose something that we were not super in love with. So, we replaced the windows and put up the blinds and went to bed that night. Well, you are probably not surprised by the fact that this plain, white, thin, linen, blind style covering does not block out too much light. And the next day, we woke with the sun as it rose over the mountains near our home. And I was annoyed. It was a weekend and although I had to go to work later in the morning, this sunrise stuff was not on my agenda for the day. But I still couldn’t decide what I wanted to put on those dang windows.
And the next day was the same-up with the sun.
And the next.
And the next.
And the next.
And the next.
Do you feel where I am going here?
It has now been about three weeks of rising with the sun and I realized the other day that (gasp) I like it.
It is not that I am enjoying being up early for the sake of being up early (although I can be kind of productive so that is nice) it is the way that I am waking up that is lovely.
Our bodies are built for survival in this world. And that means our natural clock wants us to rest when it gets dark and rise when it gets light. And the process of waking up slowly as the sun is rising in comparison to the blaring alarm clock that jolts me out of bed in the morning so that I can stumble into my day is nothing short of delightful.
But here is reality: that is not possible all the time and for all people. Many of us have jobs that require us to be up before the sun. At the very least, most of us have jobs that are not okay with us coming in later in the winter just because it is dark longer. So, this particular example? Not always going to be possible. BUT the experience that I am having brought to light (there that pun is again!) how much our modern-day society has created a world that seems to be working against our natural rhythms as opposed to with them.
So, what can I do about that? Honestly, potentially not much depending on the season of life I am in and what my day needs to look like to take care of the business of living. But awareness is half the battle. To recognize that your body is trying to talk to you and to try and listen could go a long way in the concept of taking care of ourselves. And our body is always talking to us if we listen and are intentional about taking care of it. It makes noises when it needs to be fed, it smells bad when it needs to be cleaned, it slows down when it needs to rest. The same is true for our emotions-we experience anxiety when we feel unsafe or unsettled, we experience anger when we feel attacked, we experience sadness when things are not working the way we hoped they would, we experience guilt when we have stepped outside of our own morals and values and we experience shame when we think we don’t fit in with the mold. There are good emotions, too-joy when we feel fulfilled, passion when we feel fueled by something that matters to us and love when we feel connected to people around us. But the bottom line is that our bodies are talking to us. And maybe it is time to start listening.