Fifty One: Clenched

“As her analyst had told her: the deeper buried the distress, the further into the body it went.”  – Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come

Over the last week or so, I have been noticed that I’ve been rubbing my tongue along the back of my front teeth. It’s not a dramatic act, but the repetition of it throughout the day takes a toll on my gums and leaves my teeth and jaw sore. It got my attention. I went to see Dr. Google, and found a page on The Experience Project that clearly showed through users’ comments that similar behavior was linked to stress.

Am I stressed? I honestly had to stop and ask myself because things are going swimmingly for me. So I took a closer look at my life to see if I was pushing something down or just not acknowledging a more subtle source of tension altogether. The only difference I could see was that January was filled with non-stop fitness: workouts, walking, aerobics, stretches. Then illness took my focus quite dramatically and suddenly away from this, my routine was thrown off, and I didn’t really have an outlet for what I  perceive as all this male or yang energy I’d been stirring up.

I started to pay more attention to my body, and what I was finding was that I had a hard time bringing energy down or as some say “grounding myself”. In my work with Qi Gong, I have learned to renew my energy stores and flush out stale energy by bringing energy up from the earth and letting it flow through my body and back down to the ground. Something felt stuck. I was reluctant to even do yoga without slippers on, and that’s just plain silly.

I’ve been doing a number of things to ground myself. One, I’ve been walking. It’s easy to do and to get others to do with me. When I walk, I don’t feel stressed at all. I feel my body’s connection to the earth and I feel that bodily sense of comfort and joy. I’ve been doing basic facial massage to relax my jaw and mouth muscles; this too, relaxes my entire body and brings more awareness to how much stress I can really hold in my jaw area. Being with friends and family has saved me this week; conversation and attention brings me out of my own thoughts and helps to create a social balance in my life.

It is a concrete lesson in listening to my body and intuition, and responding immediately to bring balance into my life.

How do you respond to imbalance in your life?


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