by Leigh Matson, London, UK
Recently I have been looking at my expectations, about myself, others, life and situations and what I have been finding is that these expectations directly have an impact on my health.
One such example is that I called work today to say I would not be in due to a viral illness and while I was on hold waiting to speak to my manager, all sorts of thoughts came flooding in. Expectations of ‘I need to be apologetic,’ ‘I need to show that I will be back into work tomorrow, no wasting time ‘being ill,’’ ‘I can’t be ill because work won’t be able to manage without me’ etc. As well as the judgments of ‘you should feel bad because now you’ve placed more work on people’ …you get the idea. All in the space of being on hold on the phone, and in my body my heart was racing at a thousand miles an hour. This made me feel even more drained and worse than I did before.
Over time I have built a relationship with my thoughts in that I question their quality and relate it back to the way my body is feeling after certain trains of thought. Like for example, if I am thinking about a worrying situation often my heart will race. So in this particular moment I clocked how all these worries were affecting my body that was already feeling unwell due to the viral illness. I then paused for a moment and came back to my body and the warmth that I know is there to support me and as soon as I did the thoughts stopped!
I can still feel the illness, but if I push myself to meet these expectations I am now more aware of the impact that such a push creates in the body through discomfort, aches and pains. These messages from the body have always been there, but now there is a responsiveness on my part that has learnt to listen to these signals and if I don’t, then the consequence is more ill health.
As I have taken the time to pause and be with these expectations, I get to feel their quality and firmly state ‘No’. The more I repeat this, the more obvious these expectations are should I fall back into them, because I am now more aware of the reaction in the body that acting out such expectations causes.
There is such a negative view and relationship with illness and disease in the world today, such that if you say you are ill or have a condition it can bring up responses or reactions in others such as ‘That’s life,’ ‘Poor you,’ ‘That sucks’ etc. But when I give myself the chance to pause and feel how my body relates to ill health, all that heavy emotional loading is not there, it is simply a moment which I can learn from. For example: when there is a cold sensation in my hands, often there are cold, hard thoughts in my head and the illness is no different in that it is showing me (without all the drama) that the body needs some extra care in this moment and it is not a failure.
These learnings have come about through my involvement with Universal Medicine and the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom as presented by Serge Benhayon. A way of life that brings a focus back to the body that we live with every day and not just remaining in one’s mind or headspace, as we have been taught and educated from young to believe is the way to be in life. Instead the body is given a far greater presence in life and its communications and responses to human life are vital, if not a basic key to true health, well-being and vitality. This has certainly been my experience thus far.
Another teaching is that ‘the body is our marker of truth’ and from here everything and anything can be understood, should we choose to take the time to connect and listen to our bodies, I have found this is a constantly expanding process. However, there are socially acceptable behaviours and ways of relating to the body that have impacted my relationship with my body, for example, that the body is there to allow us to party, to pick apart in the mirror, to get us from A to B, to just function and so I have had to gradually re-learn how to listen to my body’s messages.
This initially started with going to the bathroom when needed, such a simple task, but at first it was not so easy as there were so many things that I had placed ahead of even basic bodily functions, whereby I would hold it in for hours on end. Those outer expectations are still around today, but now I can say that the body is being given more input as to whether those impulses to perform certain behaviours are true or not. What I have learnt is that the body would never willingly put itself into a situation whereby it would become ill or diseased. Listening to the body when all around me there is the inclination, if not downright use of force, to ignore this innate inner wisdom is something that I am developing.
This experience has got me wondering – how much of our illnesses and diseases could be alleviated, or supported to not be as dire, if we were to take off the weight of our expectations and reactions towards the process of illness and disease? And is it actually the illness or our perceptions of illness that make it the heavy, burdensome, depressing or downright loathsome situation it can be? This was certainly my experience in the past, whereby I thought myself a failure for getting ill, and pushing myself through the pain to ‘fight the illness’ was seen as a good thing. You wouldn’t drive a car with flat tyres, so why do we continue to push our bodies, making matters worse by expecting it to function as normal when it’s calling for rest and care due to illness?