reading the body
I adore secondhand bookstores. And libraries. In fact, anywhere that books recline and bide their time until someone picks them up, thumbs through their pages and checks them out.
I used to think it was just my imagination that my body felt distinctly different in those spaces. Surrounded by wall-to-wall books, the whispers of other quiet explorer-readers and the unhurried time to wander, my body settles naturally. My jaw relaxes. The muscles around my eyes get soft. My core unclenches and my exhale is long and refreshing.
On the other hand, when I’m in spaces that are bright, noisy with lots of people, aggression or pressure to perform, my body contracts. It steels itself against the torment of over-stimulation.
In a world of multi-tasking and navigating so much information, my body constantly sends me messages that my mind misses.
Since stress is stored in our body, paying attention to its messages instead of relying solely on our thoughts and stories makes some good sense.
What if you paused right now for one minute and scanned your body for its messages to you? Can you notice what is tense? What is relaxed? And what is neither and is simply neutral?
The body is like a book on the shelf. Waiting for you to check it out.