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Rituals that honor the body

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by fern, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. fern

    fern Well known member

    I'm having trouble thinking of the right search terms for this, so I thought I'd start a new thread. If there is already a thread about this, links are welcome!

    I'd like to develop some rituals or habits that remind me of how much I love my body (not the shape of it, but the work it does to keep me experiencing this world). I think a lot of us TMSers tend to give so much psychological weight to the fear and pain moments in our bodies, and I'd love to learn some habits to counter-balance that. Not approaches to the pain, but approaches to simple pleasures and moments of ease that we tend to ignore or give less weight to.

    So. What are your body-honoring rituals and habits? No matter how simple or quick or complicated or involved. Even little things that you don't do intentionally but that have the result of bringing you a moment of joy or ease in your body. I'm not necessarily talking about powerful, transient pleasures or sensations, but just giving psychological weight and attention to the everyday, constant hum of aliveness in our bodies where we are at ease.

    How do you honor and love your body? How about we make a list here that we can all refer to when we notice that we're approaching our bodies from a habit of fear instead of ease?
    westb and Sita like this.
  2. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    Good topic.

    In my case, I like the following:

    - Qigong;
    - Stretching;
    - Walking outside (I live near an eucalyptus forest);
    - taking a long shower/bath;
    - doing yoga;
    - I also use positive affirmations for the body;
    - having a clean diet and fasting (limited calories) twice a week.
    Dorado likes this.
  3. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Honoring my consciousness is a big part of honoring my body. I like to meditate by breathing in a calm rhythm and visualizing myself in a very peaceful state, connecting with the world around me in a loving way. This makes me feel so good physically and mentally.

    And when I'm not honoring my body, I remember this public letter I read back in the day:

    There's something about this that makes me feel so deeply connected with myself, appreciative and loving toward my mind, body, and spirit.

    I also like to engage in anything that helps relax me physically, including long walks and listening to uplifting music. Eating healthily (with some treats!) helps as well.
    Sita likes this.
  4. westb

    westb Well known member

    What a good topic:

    Self massage with oil (hands and forearms, face, tummy)
    Walking in nature
    Shopping in my small town on a sunny day
    Healthy eating (it's a joy, not a burden)
    Warm shower
    Washing my hair
    Listening to guided mindfulness meditations (these relax me so much)
    Singing around the house
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
    Sita likes this.
  5. rain

    rain New Member

    Great topic as this is something I've also been thinking and doing a lot of.

    I started a post on this a while ago (http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/daily-regimen-for-soothing-parasympathetic-nervous-system.19018/#post-100584 (Daily regimen for soothing parasympathetic nervous system)), but since then I've added these things to the list:
    physical --
    hiking: I like hiking. That's what makes me happy, especially on nice sunny warm days. So that's what I'm trying to do a lot these days. Sometimes I end up in more pain than I started with, but it's usually worth it to me. It helps reinforce my faith and trust in my body. Like Steve Ozanich said - exhaust yourself physically, not mentally. I almost always listen to music while hiking as that helps take my mind off thoughts about pain, and, of course, it's just fun.
    concerts: I love live concerts, especially Afro-cuban and Latin music. I did a fair amount of that this summer with friends. Music makes me happy!
    yoga: I've dabbled in this a few times but have mostly been afraid of hurting myself. Recently (few weeks ago), I resumed some gentle yoga poses with the sole intention of doing it because it makes me feel physically and mentally good, not necessarily for healing purposes. I think the intention matters, as that's a signal you're sending your body: this is physiological and I'm doing this to make ourselves feel good and happy.

    emotional --
    develop a relationship with my body: I find this to be a very important aspect of the healing process and over the course of these past 5 weeks (since I started the TMS program), I've learnt so much about how important it is to be kind, honest, appreciative, intuitive and genuine with my body. I do a 10-minute variation on the relaxation response (that I referenced in the link above) where I take time to thank my body and tell it that I respect it and that I trust it for all that it does for me. It started off with me just repeating those phrases matter-of-factly, but over time, it became genuine and true.

    I also find it helpful to ask your body what it needs and feels like. Often, there are times when I find it hard to make a decision (like should I wear orthotics or not? should I see this doctor or not? should I massage or not?). Asking my body for its input can be valuable. Sometimes I get a clear answer, other times I don't. But I realized that I need to at-least consult my body about it. Would we ever make decisions on someone else's behalf w/o asking them?

    separating the two arrows meditation: http://mindfulness-solution.com/Min...ons - MP3 Files/Separating the Two Arrows.mp3 . I do this about once a day and find it to be helpful in developing a closer relationship with pain, learning to accept it and not fight it.

    FAT, Stay: I thought of this one day when I was relaxing on a chair in a beautiful summer cabin out in the mountains. I was in a lot of pain and wasn't sure what to do, so I started a conversation with myself (you probably realized that by now...). I asked myself how it felt, what was bothering it. The unequivocal and quick response I got was something along the lines of: Fear (will this pain be bad? how bad?), Anxiety (how long will this last?), Tiredness (mentally tired of this chronic pain) - keep FAT away from me. I can sort of deal with the pain, but I don't need FAT and I don't like FAT. I looked around the cabin and found a few trees. I picked three trees and gave them names: Fear, Anxiety, Tiredness. My goal was/is to think of them anytime I feel fear/anxiety/tiredness. Having a physical manifestation of those three emotions helped convey a visual of keeping them away from me. Now, they don't always need to be those 3 trees - they can be anything: it can be 3 dumpsters, 3 milestones, 3 glasses - as long as they're helping me keep those emotions away from myself. I don't need to deny those emotions, but I also don't need to indulge them endlessly. I'm not as good at this as I would like to, but it's a work in progress :)
    Sita and westb like this.
  6. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    A great idea for a thread @fern :)

    Here are my rituals:

    Qigong - in particular the movements/exercises in this book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Qigong-Wor...4&sr=8-2&keywords=qigong+workbook+for+anxiety. Even doing only a few repetitions of just one of the movements/exercises a day feels really good for my body.

    Yoga nidra every day - I use this book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daring-Res...swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1536616575&sr=8-4 and these recorded scripts that accompany the book https://www.soundstrue.com/store/daringtorest/yoganidrameditations (Daring to Rest: Yoga Nidra)

    Self-massaging my back using a Theracane https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thera-Cane-Co-Denver-JMAS5000/dp/B000PRMCJU

    Lightly stroking/caressing around my own face and head and then pulling my earlobes down gently between my thumbs and forefingers - which all feels remarkably good and comforting.

    Cupping my eyes qigong style, i.e. rubbing the palms of the hands together for a while and then gently cupping them over my closed eyes for a few minutes rest and peace.

    Visualizing the feeling of my body being gently massaged all over but especially in the areas that hurt - I am imagine being massaged inside and out.

    Visualizing a soothing liquid - usually the consistency of runny honey - being gently poured all over my body and onto and into the areas on my body where I hurt...I choose the temperature of the liquid each time - sometimes I imagine the liquid as being cooling and other times warming, depending on how I feel.

    Peter Levine's self-holding exercise - as described in part 1 here http://www.new-synapse.com/aps/wordpress/?p=207 (Peter Levine’s Self Holding Exercises for Sufferers of PTSD – PART 1 – The Art of Healing Trauma) and part 2 here http://www.new-synapse.com/aps/wordpress/?p=234 (Peter Levine’s Self Holding Exercises for Sufferers of PTSD – PART 2 – The Art of Healing Trauma)

    At the end of the day, just as I'm getting into bed, I mentally note and acknowledge all the little things that my body has allowed me to do that day, despite all the discomfort and pain; it usually achieves a lot more than I think it has...And then I tell my body that it can just rest now and, as I sink into my memory foam mattress, I indulge in a deep sigh or two.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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