• Denny Balish

Tending to Body and Soul

I had promised myself a year ago, in an attempt to better manage a chronic illness, to practice excellent self-care. I planned to stick to an optimal diet, exercise regularly, meditate daily, and de-stressing as often as possible.


Well, I fell short. Way short. This happened because I’m really good at taking care of everyone and everything else and not so good at taking care of me. It’s a habit I pick up a long, long time ago. A habit that proved incredibly difficult to break.


But life has a funny way of working itself out, albeit sometimes through rather unpleasant means.


One day last fall, I woke up feeling like someone had hijacked my brain. I couldn’t put a single coherent thought together no matter how hard I tried. It was awful. I walked around in a zombie-like daze. This went on for weeks. I got very frustrated, then discouraged. My energy tanked and my outlook on life turned an ugly shade of gray.

Clearly, my body was speaking to me and at this point, I had no other choice but to listen.

As I listened, I realized just how much I had been ignoring my body, pushing through discomfort because I had “more important” things to do first.


I ignored my body until my body wouldn’t let me anymore.


I had to change.


I’ve heard it said that people don’t change until the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same. This proved to be true in my case.


Trust me, change is a pain but it’s a whole lot better than the alternative.


Making myself top priority didn’t come easy but the more I did it, the easier it got. I learned to set limits by saying “no” to things that I really didn’t want to do, and tending with gentle hand to my physical needs by listening to my body’s wisdom with great respect. Over time, I started to improve.


Recently, when conveying my story to a friend, she noted, “In symptom lays soul.”

That got me thinking.


I was listening better to my body and giving it what it needed (most of the time) but what about my soul? Was I listening to it?


No, not really.


So, I got still and quiet. And listened. And listened some more.


Soul listening requires patience. A lot of patience. It requires putting aside expectations and staying open to what wants to emerge. This takes courage because sometimes what emerges isn’t so pretty.


As I listened, what emerged were impressions, images, and quite murmurs pointing to what mattered most—love, belonging, creativity, and higher purpose.

I made some important connections between my soul’s needs and my body’s symptoms. I noticed that as I tended to my soul, some of my body’s discomfort began to subside.


I feel such deep gratitude for the illness that took up residence in my body because it has not only shown me what matters most and how utterly vital it is to practice self-care.


So dear reader, what about you? What is your body saying? What about your soul? I invite you to pause for a moment and listen…and listen some more.


Drop me a line and let me know what emerged…I have ears to hear.

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© 2020 by Denny Balish