Tuesday's Attention #10
Rest and Listen to Your Body
I’ve been in the process of working on this week’s newsletter, but in many ways, it’s escaped me. The words I have wanted to write have not come together. My energy has been spread thinner as I've had to focus on my health and new treatments/procedures ahead. I planned to finish the newsletter today, but I honestly didn’t have it in me. So much of this past year has taught me that that’s okay, even though so much of my nature wants to say otherwise. I’m a person of consistency, commitment, and perseverance. However, I’m beginning to learn that perseverance comes in many different forms.
For me, perseverance is no longer pushing myself beyond my limits. It’s listening to my limits. I persevere when I slow down, when I honor my boundaries, and when I believe that I’m still enough even without doing all that I want to do.
So, tonight, I’m resting. I’m writing the words that feel authentic and accessible to me right now and not the ones that feel like a fight to get onto the page.
Growing up, I was a competitive athlete and the girl that always wanted to prove to the boys that she was strong enough to hang. In sports, you’re taught, in some ways, to not listen to your body. You’re taught to push yourself in every aspect- physically and mentally. A strong work ethic is one of the greatest gifts sports gave me, but they failed to teach me that it’s not everything. I never knew when enough was enough. Whether you played sports or not, we’ve all been immersed in a culture that praises over-working far more that boundaries and rest. It’s hard to subvert what’s so ingrained. Yet, it’s become some of the most necessary and healing work I’ve walked in over the past year. My body, though fragile, is wise and gives me no choice but to listen these days, even though I can still often choose to ignore what I hear. It speaks and pretty clearly tells me what I need. But, one must pay attention to hear. I’ve been trying to learn how to hear.
The past few months, I’ve been coaching soccer. I was only able to be there part-time and so I knew my weight of influence wouldn’t be too high. I wanted the girls to take away at least two things from me:
1. I wanted them to know that they were seen and valued both on and off the field. At the end of the day, I cared about them as a human, not just a soccer player.
2. I wanted them to feel empowered to listen to their body and to advocate for it when they need to as well. I didn’t want them to push beyond an injury.
I was the player that played through her concussions and my career ended because of it. I think most players are those players because adrenaline is powerful and when you love something, you want to push through the pain, or you are too afraid of your coach to not push through i. But, we’ve got a threshold and when that threshold is crossed, we prolong the pain and the recovery. It’s so hard to see the long-term impacts of a short-term moment. I did the very same with work too. I pushed myself far beyond my threshold with teaching and because of that I nearly burned out as a first-year teacher. I thought I was doing best for the students, but in the end I was far from as strong as a teacher as I could have been if I rested, modeled boundaries, and didn’t work so hard to prove my worth as a teacher.
I think so many of us have been there and many of us may currently be there.
Breathe, my friend. Breathe.
Rest, my friend. Rest.
Be gentle with yourself, my friend. Be gentle.
And listen to that still small voice of your body as it speaks. Listen and let it lead you to rest. Your body is wiser than you think and fighting for you far more than you can imagine. Lean your attention in there this week.
My Challenges to You
Although I do not have words or my list of attentions this week for you, my challenge to you is to listen and/or read words that are restful for you. Maybe that is a song. Maybe it is a poem. Maybe it is escaping into your favorite fantasy book. Whatever it is, soak in those words, and be. Choose what is life-giving.
My second challenge to you is to create your own list of attention. What more do you see and hear when you rest or give yourself space to honor your boundaries.
And my third challenge to you is to lean into listening to your body. Write a letter of thanks to it for all that it has done and is doing for you.
As you carry on into this week, may your days ahead be filled with words that encourage you, laughter that heals you, and moments of beauty that pull your attention in and bring you to slow down.
May you know that you, yourself, are worth paying attention to.
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Thank you all for continuing to read my words. It is a joy to share this space with you all. I look forward to sharing on dreaming and grieving next week!