Your tight chest. The crink in your neck. A swollen knee. The rash. A persistent longing for life to change. Sadness swelling in your heart every afternoon.
These symptoms are the way in to the story of your bodies best attempt at communication and healing.
We react to our symptoms, we constrict around them, we run from them, we berate them and complain of them. We take them to the doctors and hope they will eradicate them. When we are hurting this is understandable. And it is what we’ve been taught and told to do with our symptoms. And of course sometimes we seriously need medical attention—this is what our symptoms are telling us!
But not only do these approaches often not work—our symptoms just keep coming back, or simply shape shift into new symptoms—but we miss out on the opportunity to be present. to listen. to learn from and experience the healing force inherent in the pain.
We miss out on the story seeking resolution in our being.
Your symptoms might not all be painful. Laughter when you’re with your friend. Joy when the sun streams in across the counter in the morning. Your belly soft and open. The way your lover’s touch takes care of you. A sense of purpose in your feet. Listen to these symptoms also. Soak in them. Stay present with them.
They are your home of healing, your center of aliveness, your best details in the novel of your life.
Listening to our symptoms takes time, takes practice, takes infinite gentleness, courage, and patience. Go slow. Give as much attention to what feels good and is comfortable as what doesn’t.