Just because its 40º, and not 20º, doesn’t mean its warm. But on the streets people were rejoicing. Weather reporters proclaimed it was balmy, gorgeous, delightful. NYC hasn’t seen 40º since January 5. Our internal compass has been pointing toward cold for so long, the slightest relief from it has us thinking its Spring. 40º is not Spring, its actually average temps for February. We just forgot because its been 20s for so long.
People are so thrilled its not 20º, they are out running in shorts and tee-shirts. 40º is not warm. I’m going to set my kitchen timer on this one - in 10 days, those runners will be sick.
Have you ever been injured - physically or emotionally - and didn’t realize how much pain you were in until it fades a bit? Such relief. But if you listen to your body/mind carefully, you may not be healed quite yet. You might feel better, but not back to balance. Your compass is not pointing toward health yet.
Sometimes our internal compass, knowing when your body/mind is in- or out-of-balance, can become uncalibrated. Of course balance changes as we do, constantly. When it comes to mind/body health, balance is not a place, its a process.
The skill of pausing to listen to your body/mind - to calibrating your compass - is an essential tool for physical and emotional health. We all have it. Is this challenging or easy? A need or a want? Nutritious or deleterious? Does it feel good or bad? Am I hungry or satiated?
I recently had brunch plans with a great friend who cancelled last minute. Her daughter was cranky. “She must be getting sick and I should keep her out of the cold”. A mother, listening to her daughters compass. Her child was out of balance, getting sick.
Sometimes we have to ignore our compass - a work deadline preventing sleep or an airport meal. That is the right choice. Dancers and Athletes do this all the time. They ignore the pain for art and beauty.
Is it worth the risk to get off balance? Your compass is different than mine. I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie. I generally tend to choose safety and ‘the right thing’. I’m a slow skier and I’d rather take a languid hike, than a vertical one. I agonize over a restaurant menu - get what I want or what I’m supposed to eat. When I teach Yoga class and in my own practice, I tend to favor repetition over pushing. Perhaps I’m emotionally brave - willing to risk my heart and ego. Public speaking or volunteering to read my essay in front of the whole class is never an issue. My authentic emotions are usually obvious. Now ask me to ride a bike through NYC streets. Nope, not happening!
Occasionally we need to push ourselves out of the comfort zone and let our compass point away from balance. The conscious choice to do something uncomfortable. The risk of pushing boundaries can lead to injury, illness and hurt. But it can also lead to the reward of expansion, improvement, empowerment.
Listen to your body. Its always telling you something. Listen, then choose.