Category Archives: Self-care Body

Dear Heidi: connecting with body

Keeping the Peace asks:

“After a massage I feel very connected with my body. Is there anything I can do in between massages to maintain that connection?”

Dear Keeping the Peace,

I love that there are people like you in the world, people who want to feel connected to their bodies.

Connection is about relationship, and since it’s hard to relate to something or someone we don’t notice, that’s where I’ll invite you to start: by noticing.

Practice, whenever and however you can, turning toward, listening, and paying attention to your body.

“But Heidi,” you might be saying, “it’s easy to notice my body when I’m getting a massage, but things are stressful and life is busy off the massage table… Also, I am very easily distracted… And my body often is a source of stress…”

I hear you, Keeping the Peace, and it is exactly there, where you are, that I invite you to start:

Let stress, let discomfort, let disharmony and all the ways those express as tightness and pain in your body be what taps you on the shoulder to notice.

Practically speaking, how to connect with your body

In real life, in the real world, it might play out like this:

The next time you feel that knot creep into your shoulder, that pain settle into your butt, or that ache into your foot, use it as the reminder to turn toward your body and wonder:

How am I?

Let those words hang there for a few beats. Give them a breath, or two, or four.

How am I?

Notice. Don’t hurry to answer. Let the words linger around you like a cartoon bubble.

How am I?

Let your words (or whatever words or way you choose to come in contact with your body) be a soft invitation. You aren’t demanding an answer, you are inviting contact, and waiting and noticing what comes.

How am I?

Notice. There are so many ways to answer that question. The first answer that comes may be wordy, like a kid telling a convoluted story.

How am I?

Notice. Allow your body to answer. Maybe at first it seems like nothing comes or maybe what comes is something very very shy. Notice. And from a place of calm curiosity, watch.

How am I?

Sense down your middle. Invite your throat area, your chest area, your belly area to answer.

How am I?

Keep wondering, keep sensing, keep listening.

Remember your heartfelt intention to connect. You want to know this thing, this collection of cells, this mystery of being — however *you* think of it — that you call “your body.”

Be the space in(to) which your body can answer

Allow your body to tell you whatever, however it is. And keep listening.

The more you listen, the more you will hear. The more you hear, the more you will connect. I promise.

Channel your massage therapist’s table or your massage therapist’s office, if that helps. Channel your very own dear self while receiving a massage. Recall how your breathing, when you are receiving a massage, settles into calm. Be the calm into which anything your body wants to tell you can speak or in some other way be known. Be that calm.

Notice and listen. I think you will be amazed. I always am.

Several years ago I went through a bout of insomnia. Ugh. I kept waking up way before the rest of the world and, try as I might, just couldn’t fall back asleep. Finally it came to me to practice doing onto myself what I do for my clients: to listen, to be with, exactly as it is, whatever might be going on. Those sleepless wee hours of the morning became the tap on my shoulder to stop and listen to my body. I wrote this list-poem during one of those nights:

It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to smooth things out.
It’s hard to listen, to let discomfort be.
It’s hard to listen, to pull up a chair and keep company.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to have an agenda.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to steer things back to before.
It’s hard to listen, to feel it just like it is.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to pretty it up. Or make it worse than it is.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to tell you what to do.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to assume I know what you mean.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easy to jump to conclusions.
It’s hard to listen, it’s hard to realize I don’t know shit.
It’s hard to listen, to feel fragility.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to grip.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to interrupt.
It’s hard to listen, to realize the rain could wash it all away.
It’s hard to listen, and not tell things where to go.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to argue.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to explain.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to pretend.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to justify.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to advocate for the devil.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to defend.
It’s hard to listen, to know that things aren’t mine.
It’s hard to listen, to see people as capable.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to interfere.
It’s hard to listen, it’s easier to be hard.
It’s hard to listen I’m afraid.

Keep the Peace, thank you for being the very first person to “Ask Heidi.” I love your question and I love that you asked.

Heidi

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Letting go. Much easier than you think!

Letting go. Much easier than you think!

On the occasion of it being the beautiful-est of all days, Today, and this being the grandest of all hours, Now, we are gathered in this holiest and magical-est of all places, Here, to witness the most marvelous of all people, You, receiving the magnificent-est of all honorary degrees, an Le.G. (in Letting Go!), summa cum laude, no less!, from this here oldest and most revered institution of highest learning, Life!

[Crowd goes crazy cheering, blowing trumpets, throwing hats.]

Here to present you with your degree, I am delighted to introduce you to your most faithful companion, in good times and in bad, in wealth and in not-so-wealth, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, your Body.

[Wave upon wave of roaring applause.]

~ * ~

Many people think they are terrible at letting go but I am here to tell you that quite the opposite is true. Every day, all the time, you are letting go.

by doodle master David Cohen

Take breathing. You exhale every few seconds, at least several times a minute. You don’t have to make it happen. It happens. And in this very basic way, letting go happens on its own, in its time, every time, all the time. And, as Life would have it, we don’t even have to think about it. Whew! We inhale what we need, we exhale what we don’t. Whether we cry our breath or sigh our breath, laugh, dance or whisper our breath, it happens. Hurrah!

You may be shrugging this all off: “What of it? I exhale. Big deal.” OK. I see your point. But in addition to highlighting the no-effort-ness of what happens already, I want to show you a simple but powerful trick.



You’re going to exhale, no matter what, right? Even if you don’t notice, you will. And even if you fight it and hold your breath like the best of 3-year-olds, eventually you will, right? But showing up with your awareness and noticing it while it happens can be like hitching a ride on a mighty and gorgeous wave.

Another way to think of it is piggybacking on the exhale. Remember how fun it was (or is!) to climb on someone’s back and have them carry you around? Sometimes, when my clients come to me very stressed out and very much struggling to relax, I invite them to, rather than trying to make themselves relax (if that sounds like a whole lot of effort, that’s because it is) to instead simply notice their breathing and hitch a ride on the back of their next exhale. Ahhhh…

The next wave will happen whether you notice it or not. So will that sunset and summer storm. And so will that whatever-it-is-that-comes-next. But oh the possibility when you show up and notice. Riding a wave involves ease and strength. Good thing you have both! How do I know? You just exhaled.

See you surfing! See you piggybacking! And, if you’re in the Boston area, maybe I’ll see you on my table. Hope so!

xo
Heidi

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Delish and Easy Peasy

Food. So necessary yet always a wee bit of an issue with me in some way. Much MUCH better than used to be but still–

Living alone I find that I often don’t plan meals and then end up eating pretty much the white and the brown food groups—those’d be bread and chocolate. And yes, those’d be the ones that aren’t very good friends with my intestines. Or they wear out their welcome pretty quickly. So there’s all that.

But today? JOY! And it was green. And easy.

I like broccoli but always find the little bitty tips annoying. Like they get stuck in my tonsils or something. But today: Problem sol-véd.

Enter Broccoli puree. Which could just as easily be called Sparkly Forest Satin. Or Green Velvet.

Here’s what I did:

  • I steamed fresh broccoli in a bit of water with salt.
  • I let it cool a bit (don’t throw away the water) and into the blender.
  • Added a pat of butter and a handful of fresh cilantro and salt. (And yes, that’s twice with the salt. I grew up in Chile. Cilantro and salt make everything better. But you could add another fresh herb, I’m sure. Basil might be fantastic. Or parsley).
  • Pureed, using water from cooking to adjust consistency.

Can I tell you it is the creamiest most delicious and beautiful thing I’ve eaten in days?

I’m posting this in case others, like me, need jolts of good food inspiration.

Mmmmmmmm….

xo
heidi

P.S. Would ADORE your ideas for simple, delicious and good-for-you. Especially with the vegetables.

P.P.S. My broccoli puree was inspired by my sister’s story of serving her kids mashed cauliflower with Parmesan, made in much the same way as my broccoli.

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