Last night I decided to have a hot bath. Me + wine + bath = perfect. Really I was meant to have a girls night out, but alas I really had a severe headache and a friend of mine was under the weather too, so that got moved to today.
I wanted to cure my headache, so I poured a bath.
Now, I kind of think a lot of illness is caused, or affected by, thoughts. I grew up with a lot of asthma and I know what it’s like to be sick a lot. I always say I don’t need to take drugs because I’ve had enough fever hallucinations to meet my subconscious.
When I contracted RSI in my hands was the first time I really came to understand the relationship between your thoughts and illness though. I’d known for a long time that emotions can trigger disease. Think about heart attacks, stomach ulcers, muscle knots, asthma attacks triggered by emotions and high blood pressure, for example. However, no matter how much I searched my mind I couldn’t figure out my RSI – I could see triggers for when it started, but I still didn’t cure it. Then I read Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno of New York University and a few days later I was typing again. The book not only said thoughts can trigger emotions; it showed how and once you know you can take control over it.
For the first time since I was three and contracted asthma, I felt in charge of my body. Before that I used to think my body was deceptive and would turn on me.
I’ve been on a mission this year to take responsibility for my life, open up emotionally and generally get back on the spiritual path. That’s kind of why I’m suddenly blubbering over on this blog and the Huff Post, because I have so much to process and when I process something I write. This determination to shift things has led to an amazing shift in my level of happiness and on a physical plane things are shifting too. That doesn’t mean it’s always comfortable though and I guess my head had sort of had it when combined with not being able to sleep properly due to my boy’s fear of ghost and nightly escapades. So last night I decided to have a bath to relax my muscles.
I love hot baths and even more so hot tubs. I get cold easily and it’s so nice to be warm. It makes me feel free. I also believe in detoxing through the skin and putting myself through discomfort to reach another level of strength though, so when I have hot baths I often push myself way beyond my comfort level (i.e. turn up the heat as much as I can take). I believe it’s good training; the same as pushing yourself to run when you feel like giving up. What’s more, I believe that it helps you face your thoughts in a similar manner to when you have a fever; you hang with the tension; with the discomfort in the body and face discomfortable thoughts which are lodged in the body.
So sometimes when I’m in a bath I basically practice hanging out with thoughts that unsettle me. I also tend to solve business issues and the likes in the bath, which I was doing too last night. All my unpleasant thoughts served up and dissected till I find my way to a path that works. Until I’m centered. Until I feel like I’m on the path I need to walk and hit a level of peace. Of groundedness. Of connection. Of passion for my life, or the part of my life I’m contemplating.
What I find interesting as well is that those things you’re supposed to do, like all the five million breathing exercises I learned in drama school in voice and yoga classes, happen naturally when I do this kind of purging of thoughts in a too hot bath. Because you fucking have to get rid of the energy somehow.
Likewise, I sometimes do stretching sessions, when I literally feel my body letting go of stress. I do these sessions intuitively and let my body stretch as it wants to stretch, which is also when you suddenly start doing the breathing exercises. I do dancing sessions too, where I feel I let go of things – led by my body. It’s a very connected process, yet it’s free.
I have no real clue what I’m trying to say with this blog – at this stage I think it sounds like I was a hot wet mess last night and that’s about it; I’m a lunatic with a love of water and a penchant for sexual metaphors and innuendo. But my real point I guess is that thoughts are lodged in the body and the body, likewise, affects the mind. When we purge our body, we purge our mind and when we purge our mind, we purge our body. I think the interaction between the two is important though – it’s important we pay attention to our mind when we do something with our body and vice versa.
When was the last time you really scrubbed down every inch of your body whilst thinking about how you really feel when doing it? When was the last time you stretched your entire body and looked at the thoughts that came up whilst doing it? When was the last time you danced and worked through your emotions with each step? And when was the last time you did something to push your body through its comfort zone, be it through exercise, a hot bath, or a sauna?
I did it last night and for me, well let’s just say it was an interesting experience. It was also an experience in loving and looking after myself.
I highly recommend reading Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno – it changed my life.
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