“Body symptoms are dreams trying to happen in the body.”Arny Mindell
It’s confusing living in these times. The old paradigms which told us to hand over our problems to an ‘expert’, have them ‘fixed’ and returned, are failing us wholesale. And yet here we are, hovering (teetering maybe) on the edge of those old paradigms, unwilling to fully let go of that false security. Because, what’s next? The unknown. The Great Unknown… (and it is great)!
Back in 2009 I began to realise my health was rapidly declining in myriad ways, and that the medications I was taking religiously (and copiously) were also failing me. So started my foray into “alternative” health: cleaner diets, raw food, digestive science, herbal tinctures, homeopathy, craniosacral sessions, yoga (multiple types), meditation… and so on. At the time I just wanted “fixed” and quickly! I didn’t understand that healing (and overall wellbeing) really is a whole-person job. I still thought that my skin issues were superficial and unrelated to other parts of me, that my depression was “all in my head” and my asthma and allergies just an incredibly annoying but fundamental part of my sensitive make-up. That version of me would have both quailed at and thoroughly disbelieved the notion of body-symptoms as mere messengers! When you’re suffering from something, you want to ease it – that’s the natural means of survival, right?
What I have learned – painstakingly – is that our bodies are beautifully designed ecosystems, deliberately created to rebalance themselves when something is out of kilter. Sadly, this is not what we’ve been told to believe. In the last century, we’ve shut down our embodied sensibilities entirely. We no longer listen to our body’s messages, but seek instead to shush them, to keep them quiet. We drown out these messages with alcohol, food, sex, social media, Netflix binges and – yes – drugs.
As someone who relied upon my asthma inhalers, various allergy tablets and shots, steroid creams and ibuprofen just to keep going each day, I absolutely 100% and compassionately understand how it feels to have a body which is failing you in some way (and that includes the mind/brain). I also understand that frustrated desire to “fix it already!” and yet what I had to go through to rebuild my health from scratch evidenced to me in no uncertain terms that the body is always talking to us. Each and every symptom we experience is a declaration of a current imbalance, and a little plea to address that as soon as is convenient, thank you very much. When your car fuel light announces itself, you understand you’d better get yourself to a petrol station pretty soon. This kind of signal we understand, and yet the body’s similar signals (thirst, constipation, dry skin, fatigue, brain-fog and even depression) we constantly ignore, misunderstand and deny.
What is even more hugely misunderstood, however, is that the body doesn’t merely look out for our survival needs; it also holds space for our dreams. Everything we secretly long for, everything our deepest heart desires: our body knows. If this wasn’t miraculous enough, our body understands what we really, truly need and want, not what our conditioned brain thinks best fits the bill!
So yes, our body’s symptoms are dream-messengers, bent upon taking us towards our most evolved, fulfilled and joyous selves. When we can begin to acknowledge, honour and expand into that truth, everything begins to change. Everything!
I’d love to know what stage you’re currently at. Are you in a place of acknowledgement, honouring your journey, or expanding fully into it? Tell me over on social media @zoekmfoster today.