My Body Spoke, but I didn’t Listen… for a very Long Time


By Ingrid Ward, West Auckland, New Zealand 

My body began speaking to me very loudly from an early age with symptoms that included a blocked or runny nose, lots of itching in various parts of my body, and digestive disturbances like diarrhoea and bloating. But I can hardly ever remember these reactions or symptoms being put down to food, except for the hives being blamed on a certain variety of apples and the swelling of my lips and mouth on eating crayfish: when my body spoke that time it was listened to immediately, as the reaction was severe. That was the last time crayfish was eaten, as to eat it again may have had a rather scary outcome.

In the 1950’s when I was growing up, food intolerances or allergies weren’t spoken or written about very often, so there was very little information to help people know about the intricacies of their bodies, and we certainly didn’t get taught much about the body at school. You just ate the food that you were presented with and anything that the body tried to tell you by way of subtle (or not so subtle) messages was likely to be overridden, as most then didn’t understand that food could be the issue behind many of the body’s ills.

So on I went eating what I was given without question and not surprisingly the suffering, along with the messages from my body, continued. I can remember suspecting that milk was the culprit behind the runny nose and excess mucous issues, but milk, in this little country of 10,000 dairy farms, was considered to be liquid gold and essential for the strength of our bones, and to say you didn’t want to drink it was almost sacrilege. Those bottles of warm milk that waited for us at school every day were my worst nightmare with my body speaking so loudly after each one, not just with nose issues, but with headaches as well. With the continual nose issues and sore throats, my tonsils finally gave up and at age eight they were removed, but I continued to drink milk and so my body kept talking. I have a feeling that I slowly began to accept that everything I was going through was actually normal, so I stopped talking about it. 

Then there was the regular Sunday afternoon headache that I know now came from the cream that was placed in huge dollops over the special Sunday dessert. The messages usually began several hours after the ingestion of this eagerly awaited delight, but it was ignored as jelly and cream was too lovely to cast aside.

The digestive issues, including regular bouts of diarrhoea, were more often than not put down to contracting a ‘bug’. The only reason for this that my very puzzled mother could come up with was that I was not washing my hands enough, but having to wash my hands every five minutes was not something that a young child wanted to do, so I didn’t. I know now from the knowledge and wisdom I have acquired over the last 17 years that this digestive reaction came from the gluten in the bread I ate, but that discovery was a long way off.

And the itching! Oh, that continuous scratching until my skin was raw from being raked by my finger nails, itching which my body was trying to tell me was from sugar! But who would want to give up the sweet stuff? After all, everyone else was consuming it so why shouldn’t I? Mind 1 – Body 0!

Looking back, I can see that there were times my body struggled under this continual abuse as I was regularly stopped in my tracks with an illness or disease. That makes sense as it would have been exhausted trying to process products that it couldn’t deal with so it had to stop me somehow to recharge, but sadly its wisdom continued to be overruled by a mind that had its own agenda; a mind with a high IQ that was considered to be a marker of intelligence.

It wasn’t as if the people around me were un-intelligent either. Just like me, they hadn’t been brought up to understand their bodies, just as those before them also hadn’t been. The doctors that I saw regularly were naturally considered to be wise and so we expected them to have all the answers to our questions, but none seemed to know how to decipher what my body was trying to say. In retrospect, that was understandable as the fact that certain foods could cause health issues probably hadn’t been a part of their training.

Over the years I had a moment or two when I began to get a sense of what my body was telling me and took dairy, or bread, and sometimes a little of the sugar out of my diet, but even though I started to feel a whole lot better, it didn’t take long before they found their way back in again, usually as a result of what was going on in my life. The dairy, gluten and sugar-filled food had become a comfort, a way of numbing myself and a way of filling up the emptiness that I was living with and, without the food, I didn’t know how I would be able to exist.

Then at aged 50, I finally got it; I had one of those light bulb moments that turn your life upside down. I came across a book that could have been written by me: the story of a woman’s life that totally mirrored mine, and the moment I finished it, I did not hesitate to change the way I was eating, and what I now know to be my true intelligence, the intelligence of my body, was given full reign. Out went the dairy, the wheat and the sugar, and over the next few months, up went my energy levels and the quality of my health, and slowly, but surely, down went my weight. I could almost hear my body sighing with relief! It was finally being listened to.

But although much happier than it had ever been, my body was still whispering in my ear and it wasn’t until the gluten was finally removed and I began to address the many emotional issues and the exhaustion that were behind my eating patterns that my body’s whispers became less and less. These final pieces of the puzzle were supplied when, in 2005, I began to attend presentations by Serge Benhayon, founder of Universal Medicine.

These presentations contained bucket loads of light bulb moments, as well as many confirmations, especially around the foods that my body had tried for years to tell me that it couldn’t deal with; finally I was listening to what I now know to be true  intelligence, the intelligence of my body.

I know without one iota of doubt that if I had been brought up to know my body as I know it now and how to understand its messages, to respect it as the all-wise and wonderful vessel that it is, my life story would read very differently and that would have been so very welcome. But as the saying goes: “Better late than never.” Now I know that by finally acknowledging the innate wisdom of this amazing body of mine, I no longer allow myself to be led astray by my wayward mind.

With the wisdom of my body leading the way, my mind is brought into line, so that the two may work in harmony as one, allowing space for my soul to express through me as whole body intelligence.

Read more:

  1. Listening to your body. 
  2. Intelligence – is it embodied or embrained? 

 

784 thoughts on “My Body Spoke, but I didn’t Listen… for a very Long Time

  1. The body holds a great wisdom within, and is constantly communicating with us, the problem is we choose not to listen or ignore it, yet there is something magical being offered to us, and it pays to be all ears.

  2. Imagine having a conversation with someone where you shared the answer they were after, but they just ignored it and blathered on for 20 years or so while you just stood there! This is in effect how we tend to be with our body. But it’s never to late to stop and hear in full what it has to say.

    1. I love the analogy Joseph, it simply makes sense, but at the same time it almost makes me cringe for that is exactly what I did, what so many of us do. When I think of the time I spent ignoring my body it doesn’t make any sense at all but to have finally come to understand how it is endlessly ‘talking’ to me and that I can actually do something about the messages brings common sense firmly back into my health equation.

  3. The power of what is seen to be ‘normal’ and healthy in the best interests of society oozes here. There is a quiet force that comes at you when something that is part of the beliefs of society are challenged. The wisdom of the body holds all we are as precious and with its wisdom will support us toward whole health. I love what you have written here Ingrid and how you have exposed the ‘accepted’ ways of the past.

    1. And it is that “power of what is seen to be ‘normal’” in society that comes straight at you when choosing to make a change in the way you are eating, drinking and living. And for me it came from those closest to me which at the time really puzzled me as I was making the changes to improve my health and well-being. Looking back now I can see that they were simply being challenged, uncomfortably so, as to how they were living.

  4. Our bodies are the wisest and most wonderful friends we will ever have. They are so very worth listening to for what they have to say is priceless beyond measure.

  5. Yes Ingrid, the presentations of Serge Benhayon offer many light bulb moments and confirmations, I too have experienced them and they are literally life changing.

  6. ‘ My body spoke, but I didn’t listen… for a very long time ‘ yet it is incredible how when we do start to listen the body soon responds and says thank you.. I have found.

  7. Although for a long time I would feel an impatience with myself for experiencing reactions in my body I would usually try to convince myself from my mind that I could get away with eating something until my body protested so loudly that I was forced to listen. Now I am learning to listen to what my body is clearly communicating and appreciate how these reactions and messages from my body are actually supporting me to make far more loving choices and it is lovely to feel how much my body responds and feels nurtured the more tender and caring I am.

  8. There are so many books and philosophies in this world that seem to be beneficial – but none that make listening to your body’s sensitivities no.1, unlike Universal Medicine. Then you wonder why you thought other approaches would ever work – when your body is designed for you to listen and to read it. The body’s philosophy is beautiful but uncomfortable at times to receive.

    1. I so agree Joseph that “The body’s philosophy is beautiful but uncomfortable at times to receive.” And once upon a time I would have tried to avoid the uncomfortableness at all cost as I didn’t want to make the changes I could feel were being called for. But finally, I have come to understand the immense wisdom and the healing that is being offered in these situations and instead of ignoring the messages I now listen intently. I mightn’t always understand the message straight away but with patience and my deep commitment to my body eventually I know I will get the answer.

  9. What I have come to appreciate is that without our body clearly communicating to us when something is out of sync we would carry on disregarding and harming our body without questioning or discerning if something was truly supportive for us or not. The more we listen to and appreciate the wisdom of our body the more we are guided to align ourselves back to a truer quality of being.

  10. The mind can be a dominant force over the body if we allow it to be, and that’s the point: it’s always our choice to decide what we give our focus to: the mind or the body? Both are constantly communicating: the body has the whole of our interests at heart, whereas the mind, a useful tool when we use it in the right way – so often overrides the body.

    1. I have come to realise how powerful and very deceitful our mind is, always trying to convince me to eat something that I don’t want to and the tools it uses are my favourite foods of the past, foods that no longer have a place in my diet. But my awareness of this trickery is very high these days and there is no way that I will subject my wonderful body to the stresses and strains I use to put it through on a regular basis, and in return my body thanks me in many ways.

  11. We talk more and more these days about the fact that listening is an essential part of the full cycle of communication. Our bodies ‘speak’ very clearly to us… all we have to do is refine our listening and response skills.

    1. It’s definitely first all about the listening Matilda, and I know that I for one had developed a very selective hearing. It was like I was hearing the messages from my body but there was a huge barrier between hearing the messages and then making the choice to respond to them. Once I realised this was what I was doing the next choice was to address the barrier. That has taken a little longer but it is one work in progress that I am fully committed to and block by block the barrier is being dismantled.

  12. It is extraordinary the lies we have been told about milk and the industry that has developed around those lies. As more and more people recognise that dairy is not good for their bodies the industry will slowly decline. Already small farmers are being overwhelmed by large conglomerates and making less endless profits as they compete with prices. They are putting a lot of effort into producing something that our bodies don’t actually need.

  13. This article is a great reminder for how there are so many cases and situations where it seems the right and natural thing to refer to an expert about how our bodies are behaving – often in ways that are contra to how we would like them to behave – and so there can be a seeking for help to get back on track. But what I often find in these situations, and how you have beautifully explained, is how there can be an assumption that the expert has everything all figured out, when the reality may be that they are knowledgeable yes, but do not have all the answers. And as much as another person can be helpful and offer support, ultimately and at the end of the day, our bodies are our own responsibility and in that comes our willingness to listen to its communications.

    1. It has taken a while but finally I know that I have the most trusted expert at my fingertips, and that expert is my body. The wisdom this wonderful vehicle of mine is always sharing is endless, although at times it takes a while to understand what it is saying. But I have also learned that with the commitment to listening and a lot of patience the answer is eventually revealed.

  14. Giving up gluten and dairy was a hard thing. I really didn’t think I could live without them so much did I love bread and cheese etc, but it was one of the best things that I have ever done for my body and I didn’t really miss any of the items that I didn’t think I could survive without. Once I came to realise that my body simply could not process gluten or dairy and so it had to store it somewhere to try to deal with later, it became a simple choice.

  15. There still is this attitude that food intolerance and allergy needs to be cured, that somehow there is something wrong with us to be showing some kind of reaction, and that we have to eat anything that gets fed to us to show our appreciation. The body is not being afforded the care and regards it deserves from its own perspective. We keep trying to control it when its intelligence far surpasses our reasoning mind. It is so much simpler to just listen to what it has got to say.

  16. Thank you Ingrid – every time I re-read this blog there is a deeper awareness of the ‘light bulb moments’ of where things can be refined and re-defined through new choices.

  17. Yes those tantalising feelings in our mouth can be so seductive, easily leading us away from the fact that this particular food or drink is not what our body is wanting. These days I ask myself whether 10 seconds of pleasure in my mouth is worth two days of feeling miserable and most of the time the answer is no. If it is yes I know that something in my life is needing to be looked at, and usually it is the fact that I am tired. That is one eating trigger that I am still working on.

  18. This is a brilliant sharing because I’m sure we can all relate to what has been written.
    And how often do we ignore the messages from our bodies and over ride because the offending food or liquid to our bodies tastes so delicious in our mouths that for the relatively few seconds that we can taste it in our mouths we are willing to put up with our bodies telling us clearly that it is intolerant to the substance or liquid just eaten. I know it has taken me a while to accept this.

    1. Thanks Johanne, I hadn’t though of it like that,
      but it really does – each time we listen to and act upon what our body needs, we’re building trust with ourselves. It can be basic self care stuff, but whenever we listen to and actually act on what we’re feeling, we’re giving ourselves a strong message that we’re worth taking care of.

  19. A great sharing Ingrid. If only we were taught to truly honour and listen to our bodies from a young age we would be living in a totally different world. How did we miss this very vital connection to true health – our bodies have always been the vessels of truth which we have conveniently ignored.

  20. We have so many symptoms going on in our body and often just do not pay attention to them, (I speak for myself here) it completely undermines our health and wellbeing to discount the signs our bodies share with us, bloating, brittle nails, headaches, sinus issues etc…are not normal they are saying something…are we listening?

  21. I was having this conversation with my neighbour in the lift this morning he has recently been recovering from a bad back and we talked about not listening to the little signs our body gives us, we both noted that these little signs can often be ignored – we came to he conclusion if you ignore the smaller signs it sets us up for a bigger sign at a later date – in conclusion it is always far better we listen now!

    1. I found it was those little signs that were easier to ignore, probably because I was hoping they would go away. Unfortunately that wasn’t always the case; they only got bigger until they couldn’t be ignored any longer. So how amazing it would be to raise our young ones to take instant notice of these little but very important signs, to share what they are feeling with us and for us to honour what they are sharing. How their lives would be very different as they grew, supported by this foundation of body awareness.

  22. Food is not our enemy, ever, knowing ourselves and being willing to understand what causes us to eat foods that affect our body is the only true way to begin to change old habits.

    1. Very true Leigh, we can blame the chocolate or ice-cream, we even cut out foods from our diet but does these movements truly support the body or are we coming from a form of control to make us feel better? I have certainly disciplined myself to not eat certain foods because my mind has thought they were harming but I have found that this way of being has been equally as abusive to eating the foods in the first place! The control may look good on the outside but what is actually going on in the inside? Unless I address with absolute honesty how, why and what I am feeling when I eat especially certain foods in my diet that I know are harming then there is never going to be any true healing that will support my body.

      1. I love your reply to Leigh, Caroline, and I can totally relate to what you have written. What stands out for me is the fact that unless we address, in total honesty, exactly what is happening in our body nothing will change. I know that I became a master at ignoring the messages that my body was giving me as the thought of giving up certain foods seemed way too hard. But I too have learned that if there is no honesty there is no space for the healing the body is asking for.

    2. Well pointed out Leigh, it’s interesting how we make food the issue but it’s the thoughts, behaviour, and momentum before we actually put hand to mouth and actually what type of food we choose to put into the hand to feed ourselves, e.g., comfort food, numbing food, that pairs up with whatever momentum we may be in. Address this and food doesn’t become the issue.

  23. To keep speaking to an audience that has made itself deaf is indeed an act of love. Such love is in every particle of our body – a reminder of who we are and where we come from.

  24. I love how our bodies are always there giving us reminders to return to living the love that we are. Slowly these nudges get bigger and more extreme until we stop and listen. Or we can choose to bury them further and ignore them. But as soon as we open up to the possibility and fact that we are indeed love then the body shows us where we are not being love and so is a great friend, one we live with 24/7 if we so choose for it to be, and even when we fight it, it never gives up on us!

    1. Yes we can bury `these nudges` really deeply and ignore them but the reality is, they never go away. In fact they will often get bigger and more impactful on our body. I have the ‘scars’ from many issues in my body that I ignored for a long which are still having an impact on my health today. I can’t turn back the clock and begin again but at least I can bring the deepest care to my body now, nourishing and nurturing it with the quality of care it deserves.

      1. The beauty is we do not need to turn back the clock. I have had so many times I wished I could do that rather than face and accept the consequences of my actions. But the more I embrace them, the more I see they are there to show me where I have not been loving and so will not make the same choices again. It is like I am constantly given moments to assess all areas of my life and say no to old patterns and choices and yes to the love I know and feel within.

  25. Boy Ingrid, your blog brings back many not so pleasant memories of similar digestive distress I willingly endured as a child eating copious amounts of milk, bread, cheese and ice cream, growing up in dairy farm country myself. Looking back on it I can feel just how much my lack of self worth at the time contributed to me almost accepting the pain and agony of how my body responded to these foods as the norm, or even worse, that I deserved it. I can thank Serge Benhayon for inspiring me to deal with these emotional issues and now listen to my body’s messages much more attentively.

  26. It is widely accepted now that food could be the issue behind many of the body’s ills – and it has become big business especially in the gluten and dairy free sector, however with the huge sugar content still in these alternatives it is clear the willingness of the individual to listen to the body’s messages (and the willingness of the food industry to cater for this!) is not really there yet, revealing our widespread, ongoing tussle with what we like to put in our mouths, and how we want our bodies to feel.

    1. There are so many companies that have jumped on the “gluten free, dairy free” bandwagon in an attempt to keep up with public demand but the products that many of them are producing are usually full of a great deal of sugar, and a lot of the time chocolate, making the product not in the least healthy. Consumers need to become so aware of reading labels because sugar is being hidden under so many different names which is very confusing to most – and so the addiction to sugar continues to be fed.

      1. From personal experience I know how ‘addictive’ sugar is and how utterly squiffy it sends my entire system, body and thoughts totally out of whack and unable to hold a steadiness that I now naturally know to be my true state.

  27. “With the wisdom of my body leading the way, my mind is brought into line, so that the two may work in harmony as one, allowing space for my soul to express through me as whole body intelligence.”
    Beautiful and well said, the more I am learning to listen to my body, the more honouring and sensitive I allow myself to feel and the appreciation that comes from this is very well worth living.

  28. In my teenage years, I never liked drinking beer but liked spirits. Or, more accurately, I retrained my body to accept the burning feeling of the differently flavoured alcohols as something that was enjoyable. I managed my self-abuse to my body for 30 years. It is never too late to listen to our bodies, no matter how long our sabbatical was.

    1. I can totally confirm that it is ‘never too late to listen to our bodies’ but of course beginning to listen in the early years of our lives would save us a whole lot of pain and discomfort. And the most wonderful thing is, you don’t have to make huge changes in your diet to make huge changes in your life. Once you make the first choice to take an honest look at how and what you are eating your body is there supporting you, unconditionally, all the way.

  29. That the body speaks is not part of our education or of our understanding of life. Yet, we have to be careful here. It speaks when something is obviously bad for it and it lets you know it. Yet, even if the body does not react against otherwise bad things, the body certainly thanks you when you let them go. So, the body speaks in more than one way.

  30. Our body gives us such clear messages. It’s strange how we mainly override them and choose differently. It’s almost like we are programmed to self abuse. And then we pretend we don’t know the cause of an illness when we get sick. It’s a really big game.

    1. Yes, it is strange Rebecca, in fact, it simply doesn’t make sense but that’s how I, and the majority of humanity have lived for so long. And yes again, it does seem like we are ‘programmed to self-abuse’, consistently so. That’s when the question – I wonder why? – needs to be asked and to be carefully considered. It will only be when we start to understand the why that our health and our lives will begin to heal.

  31. Our body has no problem communicating. It is the most consistent and persistent reflection of that honest level of communication in our lives! Yet we over-ride its communication with equal consistency which when you look back is completely illogical because the changes to mental and physical health once the communication is listened and responded to are life changing.

  32. I now find even if I eat a little too much (which I do quite often because when I eat I find I go into spirit, or my mind takes over) I feel really bloated and not nice even though I eat a lot less than I used to. My body these days is a lot quicker in letting me know when I have been listening to my thoughts instead of listening to my body.

  33. I have come to know my body as a true friend who always has the best interest of all at heart. Even though I ignored it for a very long time it waited lovingly and patiently for me to reconnect with it, and since listening to and heeding its guidance my life has become far more harmonious and joyful.

    1. Yes I agree that our body is our “true friend”, a fact that every child ought to be introduced to from a very early age. When you think about it honestly, we normally treat our best friends with love and care, but for some inexplicable reason we do not treat our precious body in the same way and then we wonder why it begins to gently ‘complain’. If we were to treat our body in a very loving way I have a feeling this loving care will also flow naturally into the way we treat our friends and family. Definitely a win-win situation.

  34. So often we make it about the food, but this line cracks that open, “and I began to address the many emotional issues and the exhaustion that were behind my eating patterns that my body’s whispers became less and less.” This is where the real gold is.

    1. Yes Sarah, this is when I could really feel that I was finally beginning to understand the ‘why’. And as I delved deeper into the why the more the truth was revealed, not that pleasant to see at times, but oh so valuable and definitely not to be ignored.

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