“Our biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”   I saw this quote the other day and couldn’t help but reflect on it. Sure, it makes sense for the daily conversations we have with each other everyday; practicing the art of staying present and attentive - leading with the intention to understand and learn - instead of impress, persuade, or fix.  But I think we also need to learn how to apply this practice to our own bodies.  We are constantly bombarded with the message “listen to your body” but are rarely taught how to hold a dialogue with its language. To rephrase that, we are rarely taught how to be with it. Hold space for our body instead of trying to solve all of its ailments and judge it for its imperfections.  I am no exception to this sentiment. For years, as I struggled to maintain my health, I believed I became an active participant in the conversation with my body. I would listen to every whisper and leap to action with every sensation. Interpreting every symptom and categorizing it as good or bad, positive or negative, then quickly following with a protocol. A next move. A new solution.  Problem was, I continued to get sicker, sending myself deeper into the surface level discussion, pleading with my body to speak to me. Tell me what it needs so I can provide it. Solve it.  Eventually, I was so ill I couldn’t respond. I fell silent and was forced to be with my body. Really listen. And when it spoke, I tried to understand instead of respond. Let it be seen, heard, and appreciated for the work it was doing instead of judging it or correcting it.  Only then did it start to speak to me in new ways.  It didn’t need my salvation, it needed my presence. It needed my full attention and my compassion. My understanding.  Once we began to understand each other, like any good conversation between two lovers or old friends, our dialogue grew richer. I started to listen between the lines and hear what wasn’t being said. I started to ask the right questions.  My body relaxed in relief. It held the answers all along. I just needed to listen.

“Our biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

I saw this quote the other day and couldn’t help but reflect on it. Sure, it makes sense for the daily conversations we have with each other everyday; practicing the art of staying present and attentive - leading with the intention to understand and learn - instead of impress, persuade, or fix.

But I think we also need to learn how to apply this practice to our own bodies.

We are constantly bombarded with the message “listen to your body” but are rarely taught how to hold a dialogue with its language. To rephrase that, we are rarely taught how to be with it. Hold space for our body instead of trying to solve all of its ailments and judge it for its imperfections.

I am no exception to this sentiment. For years, as I struggled to maintain my health, I believed I became an active participant in the conversation with my body. I would listen to every whisper and leap to action with every sensation. Interpreting every symptom and categorizing it as good or bad, positive or negative, then quickly following with a protocol. A next move. A new solution.

Problem was, I continued to get sicker, sending myself deeper into the surface level discussion, pleading with my body to speak to me. Tell me what it needs so I can provide it. Solve it.

Eventually, I was so ill I couldn’t respond. I fell silent and was forced to be with my body. Really listen. And when it spoke, I tried to understand instead of respond. Let it be seen, heard, and appreciated for the work it was doing instead of judging it or correcting it.

Only then did it start to speak to me in new ways.

It didn’t need my salvation, it needed my presence. It needed my full attention and my compassion. My understanding.

Once we began to understand each other, like any good conversation between two lovers or old friends, our dialogue grew richer. I started to listen between the lines and hear what wasn’t being said. I started to ask the right questions.

My body relaxed in relief. It held the answers all along. I just needed to listen.

Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.