Have you ever been going along living life just fine until a bizarre sensation or some random blood test revealed a medical condition had taken residence in your body, and you had no clue at all? Even a simple cold or an unexplained headache can send us off thinking: “How could this be? How could I not know what’s going on in my own body? Isn’t it my body after all?”
If you’ve ever experienced a profound moment such as this, you know. You know the heartbreak. The feeling of trust shattered. The sense of suffocating betrayal. “How could my body do this to me?” you think. “And why?”
The source of these thoughts is an ingrained and thoroughly reinforced belief that who we are is our body. This message is everywhere. Just look at our language constructs, for example. We say, “I’m sick” or “I’m not well today.” But, is this true? Is it who you are that is sick today, or is it your body? (Imagine instead going to the doctor and saying, “My body is sick today, but I’m ok.” The doc might be tempted to call in a psych eval!)
Since you can always count on emotions to reveal the truth of your experience, let’s turn to that indicative sense of betrayal. Isn’t this an emotion that occurs in relationships? Feelings of betrayal show up when we feel that we have been wronged by another, that we placed our trust in someone and the trust has been broken.
So if betrayal arises when we feel that our body has been disloyal to us, it must mean that who we are is in relationship with our body; we are not merely this physical form. Otherwise, how could we feel betrayed? Instead, who we are is something that’s in the most intimate, the absolute closest friendship with this body. Tell me, what is it you plan to do with this one wild and precious companion?
May your friendship with your body be safe, nourishing, and heartening,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
P.S. This blog entry is a deep bow to Mary Oliver's work, and especially her poem "The Summer Day."
P.P.S. Not sure what I mean? Need support with a particularly challenging experience? Contact me for a free phone consultation, schedule a private session, or leave a comment below. I'd truly love to hear from you.
How do you cope with body betrayal?
Shira Oz-Sinai is a spiritual teacher trained in iRest® Yoga Nidra meditation and Soul Lightening Acupressure®, two modalities that share the common principle of noticing what arises in awareness as the foundation to living life with ease and in deep and loving friendship with yourself. These are her musings.