In fifth grade I missed approximately twenty-one days of school. The teacher actually read aloud the names from the the list of top 5 miscreants who had ‘skipped out on learning’, and I took second place to someone who had mono. I’d actually been suffering from terribly debilitating allergies, but in that moment, at age ten, I just thought I was 'bad' & 'weak'. So I listened to adults who told me I had to ‘buck up’. (One school nurse actually told me that I wasn’t really sick, I just invented reasons to stay home on the days when the most exciting, Must-See-TV events were happening on General Hospital & Days of Our Lives. I started watching soap operas that year just to find out what she was talking about).
I didn’t have a lot of sick days at my high school for the performing arts. Morning academics were hard as hell and all afternoon, instead of sports, we had kick ass, intense arts classes. Evenings and weekends were spent in rehearsal or studio practice time. Despite double the homework, triple the physical & emotional exhaustion, and quadruple the commitment, nobody complained. We all thought that getting to do what we loved and being taken seriously as artists made us the luckiest kids on earth. Shocker: being happy made me less sick. But of course, one day I did feel yucky. My teacher sent me to the school nurse.
When the nurse clucked and told me I was sensitive, I braced for the 'buck up' lecture. Imagine my surprise when she added: “Being sensitive is lucky. Everyone’s body talks. Sensitive people are more likely to listen. That's how you fix minor issues before they became major. Better to listen to your body’s whispers before they become screams.” Then that incredible medical professional told me: “Take two days off: one sick day to get better and then one mental health day. Take a bath, take a walk, read a non-school book... do something nice for yourself to refill your depleted well, and then get back to work.”
That amazing woman invited me to start learning how to understand messages from my Body-Muse. I wish every young person was given that gift.
I found out my Body-Muse's messages to my sensitive self are very loud and very clear:
If I’m not ‘handling’ a situation that needs to be dealt with, my hands break out in eczema or hives. If I don’t digest my emotions/acknowledge them, I get a stomach ache. If I stop being creative, my ovaries throw fits during moon cycles. I also found out my Body-Muse gives me cravings for food that contain the exact nutrients that she needs to function well (like, when she needs calcium, she nudges me towards cheese. If I need iron, she’ll suggest my fave New England treat: steamed clams (YUM) and suddenly kale needs to be added to every dish I make. I am also grateful to her for suggesting regular walks to and from the library when I lived in NYC, since those library lions eventually found their way into my books!
From the way I've been bouncing in my office chair to the music in my headphones today, I'm pretty sure my Body Muse wants me to go take a dance class ASAP!
What are the ways your Body-Muse inspires you/talks to you?
What does your Body Muse want you to do today?