I recently finished reading Redefining Realness, a powerful memoir by Janet Mock about her journey of self-discovery as a young trans woman. The book courageously documents all of the struggles of having a body in a world that often diminishes, questions, and disrupts anything that does not fit a stereotype or predetermined-role. The writing continuously brought Mock’s life experiences back to the experience of her physical body, never denying the important role that it plays. I was forced to recognize all of the ways in which my physical self can sometimes get separated from who I am, and how I sometimes treat my body as something separate, something non-existent from what I am experiencing in life. Janet Mock’s words reaffirmed for me that our physical bodies are so closely tied to who we are, at our core, that denying our bodies and how they feel disrupts our chance for empowerment, peace, and joy for not only ourselves, but for others in our lives. All that we experience we experience through our bodies, and to not take that seriously and care for our bodies with extreme love and compassion is to ignore a part of who we are. Our thoughts, our emotions, and our trauma lives in our bodies, no matter what that body looks like.
Trauma attaches to us, and we often try to ignore it to get the work done. We may feel like we don’t have the time to stop and notice what our bodies are feeling because there is too much to do. This way of being, as you can imagine, does not work indefinitely. There comes a time when the body is forced to the forefront of our attention, often through illness, and we have no choice but to pay attention and commit to a period of self-care.
What holiday breaks can afford us is a space to be present for our bodies, to listen to what our bodies have to say, if you choose to listen. We are starting a new year and it is the perfect opportunity to check in with your body and your current self-care habits. Do you pay attention to your body as much as your thoughts and emotions? Do you listen to your body as much as you listen to your loved ones? Do you take the time to take care of your body like you take care of your career? Try to take some time over break to commit acts of self-care that are purely for the body. Take a bath, exercise or try self-massage. Eat healing foods and relax! Your body carries everything you experience. It needs a chance to let go and move into a better state of being. Make it a goal to take the steps needed to pay attention to your body and listen carefully to what it needs. Not only will you feel better, this will have an impact on all aspects of your life.
Below is a tea recipe based in Avurvedic medicine that is a general detoxifying tea. This tea can help to remove excess toxins and mucus from the body, and it is a great tool to help your body along on this journey of letting go and reseting for the new year.
Honor your body this new year and listen to what it has to say. Please share any other self-care tips you may have!