If you’re the kind of person who feels everything (and chances are, if you have ever had fibromyalgia or similar, that’s you) then its time to appreciate the gift and the message in your own super-sensitivity. Fibro is a right-hemispherical health challenge; it’s all about feeling sooooo much that your body tips over into overwhelm or even switches off altogether. But the converse is also true; when you’re one of those people who feel all the minute subtleties going on in your environment, both inside and out of your body, then you already have the breadcrumb trail for leading you “out” of your illness.
Amongst other things, yoga has done this for me…that is, helping me to appreciate how minutely I feel, well, everything. Having reached the point where I can feel individual muscles glide in my back as I gently inhail-exhail, can notice the ballerina dance of free-moving fascia and the slight elastic spring in ligaments as I rotate or stretch my neck or shoulders, my well-limbered wrists and oh-so responsive fingers…my propensity to feel all the minutiae has become one of the great thrills so of my life. What it is to live inside a well-honed body, one that works just a little bit more beautifully every day; this is one of the major things giving me traction to a new place of health this year. I don’t know when I ever felt this well put-together although I recognise the ghost of a feeling from years ago, when I was so much younger and cycled many miles every day. Even then, there wasn’t this all round, joined-together, synergistic feeling of a body that knows how to work as a team; where each and every part feels like its getting use and attention….my attention….and not because I’m in pain.
There’s a tendency for the overwhelmed body to cushion itself; to build up layers of fat and vast tracts of territory that become (at the sub-conscious level) deliberately stodgy through dis-use to ensure that nobody goes there any more…”nobody” being the nerves that have been reporting far too many sensations for all too many years. I know this all-too well from personal experience. A person that feels more than average, who can tell you what other people are thinking, whether someone’s mobile is switched on, that there’s a slight hint of chemical in the air, perhaps mould at the back of the cupboard…all these things and countless more….so often builds up layers of meat made up of stuck fascia, car-parked toxins, unshiftable weight and worn out misfiring organs and glands that are like chairs piled up against the door of life. A life that is overwhelming; but then, isn’t that most lives these days so to look for the solution in that is to await a solution that never arrives. Thus, oh irony, the nervous system is left working overtime, its messengers running around trying to feel even more than ever so that it can continue to be the early warning system of life; so as the body becomes misfiring stodge, the nerves become the hot-bed of pain and on the illness goes.
This is the blockade I’ve spent years dismantling, through diet, saunas, mindfulness, emotional release and many many more techniques that have made up the substance of this blog. Many people who live with pain start to tell themselves that to heal is to head towards a place of feeling less….and yet it is the biggest turning point of all when this trait to feel everything, to feel more than average, becomes the deliverer of a level of joy that makes the whole of the journey come together. Having done the mindfulness, having done what you can to make your own life the zone of conscious choice, not the car-crash of accidental circumstance, you can set about taking those chairs down from the door and letting life back in. For me, no longer blocking life but welcoming the ability to feel it all, to notice and appreciate the softest tickling breeze on legs as I walk across a room, to experience profoundest pleasure from the subtlest aroma or sensation, to be able to detect a discrete change in atmosphere and know what is coming, to feel another person’s presence before they even say a word, to read the vibration of food before it reaches my mouth, to have a zillion things going on inside and out while eyes are closed or notice layers of experience that so many other people seem to miss…these are joys I heartily welcome now, having done the work. They offer the gift of a whole other level of experiencing life that turns it up to brightest Technicolor.
But then (cap that) to fully claim my physicality….to not want to escape it, shrugging it off like an outfit I didn’t choose but, rather, to feel the delight and exhilaration of it, daily, like a child that notices everything and never fails to marvel at how beautifully it all works…there are no adequate words. I would go through the whole of the journey again to have reached this point and know what I do about every square inch of this beautiful organic playground of me and how to operate it like never before, relishing its symphony of experiences and the delight of knowing how I chose to have them. It is in this overspilling love for the human bodily experience that the healing of just so many people (certainly mine) can be found and if, in any way, my experiences help to end the stalemate that has been perpetuated for just so long, between those who feel they have struggled with their own body and that they are at logger heads with it, then these words will have been worthwhile.