Two years ago one of my teeth got a bit loose. My dentist asked me, if I ground my teeth in my sleep. I had no clue. She said that I had to clench my jaw at least because I was clearly destroying my teeth. She made me a mouth guard for the night. She said I would probably mind it at the beginning but my teeth would relax. My whole being did relax!
How come had I not noticed anything before?
I started to think of my life. I recalled that when I was single, either I had a very active period (solving many things at the same time, running at the full speed at work, did sports, went out, painted my flat…) or a much more relaxed one (when I did all what was needed, just at a much more relaxed pace: I took time for a relaxing bath, allowed myself to sit on the sofa and read, solving nothing).
With a more responsible work, marriage… I started to get a new experience. I was excited: having a family, a good job, doing music, trainings, travelling, seing friends. I felt fulfilled and efficient. I believed that if I need to relax, I just change the activity.
I lived a life I had always longed for. However, I began to sleep less. I often stayed up too late: I loved the time when my beloved ones slept peacefully, while I kept the home fire burning and had space to think, create and dream.
Mornings were hard: to get kids ready, be on time to work… In other words, I did feel something. In addition, I often felt tensed during the day, I crossed my arms and kept my jaw tight when thinking hard. I did not pay attention to it.
I took for granted that my body would function well when I need it: when I have an important deadline, a concert, a long journey, while doing sports… Why should it function well, if I do not respect it myself?
Art of saying “enough”
I did not see that not all what made me happy was good for me. Namely, staying regularly up very late was exhausting for me. My mind would go on without stopping. I have many interests, I am used to do several things at the same time. I am never bored. However, this is not a reason to cause a damage to my body.
If I suppress what I feel, I will need a stronger signal by which my body will communicate to me that I am out of balance. My body needs to rest in order to be able to regulate all the physiological processes and keep the internal states steady and balanced. I want to be healthy. In addition, the body needs time to process new experiences and information. It often literally needs to sleep on them.
Finally, thanks to my body I can access information that I would never think out. I would have hardly given birth to my kids without the guidance of my body (its experience from the evolution and from its bloodline). Or when I make a very logical conclusion but it simply feels wrong (or the other way round).
And even if not everything — what my body wants — is good for me either (for example wanting to eat the whole cake that I just took out from the oven), in my case I need to listen to myself much more than I am used to.
It is not easy to change my everyday routines, especially if, on the one hand, my inner voice says “I can’t anymore”, “We haven’t eaten yet”…, and, on the other hand, “Now I am really on it”, “If I do not finish it now, I won’t have time tomorrow”… In every situation I need to consider what is more important. However, I also need to look at it more broadly, not only what I need in that very situation.
At work, with my family, with my friends and through all other activities I gain important experiences. Balancing them in the right proportion helps me recharge my batteries, enjoy my life and get inspired. But sometimes I just need to switch off.
I thought that results mattered more than listening to myself. Giving myself, time to time, a pleasant break was a plus. However, my body talks to me all the time, even if I ignore it. It starts with subtle signals, so that I can solve my problems without pain. If I ignore them, it is me who (consciously or subconsciously) decides that I need a more serious problem in order to learn my lesson.
I have changed my perspective because of a wobbling tooth. Since then I have certainly made a lot of progress. Last week I had to leave urgently for Slovakia which meant for me the whole day drive. Having been rested, I have enjoyed my journey both mentally and physically.
However, it is a never ending process: switch on / switch off, being active / relax,… It is very important for keeping myself in balance. That is why I share my experience with you today.