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The Body Keeps Score

The pain in my shoulder was excruciating. I hadn’t pulled a muscle but it felt like I did and no amount of stretching would make the sharp ache ease up. Even the massage therapist saw that it was a problem and after an hour of intense focus on the throbbing pain, there was minimal improvement.  It got to the point that it was uncomfortable to sleep and I just chalked it up to a wave I would have to ride until…until something changed. However, I wasn’t sure exactly what that “change” needed to be.

It was 6am in the morning after an Obatala appeasement that I received direction. Iya Oloruntomi walked me through a series of exercises that were nowhere near as involved as the child poses and back stretches that I had been doing. In fact, the exercises were so simple, yet so intense that I saw immediate relief in a matter of minutes. “That pain in your shoulder is a disconnect that you have in your Ori,” Iya informed me, “Your shoulder is holding all the blockages that can’t get to your head. You’re going to have to work through that and it’s going to require that you lean into the pain and flush whatever comes up.” 

It made sense. I have a tendency to hold onto thoughts and emotions and bypass extensive processing for extended periods of time. I don’t like being too uncomfortable. I don’t like admitting that I still have anxieties, however small, with past or present situations. But, my not wanting to be uncomfortable meant that my body was collecting and harboring a lot more things than I was releasing. My body was keeping score even if my mind didn’t want to deal with the seemingly small issues. 

That night, I forced myself to lean into the pain. My shoulder throbbed, my arm tingled, and my fingers went numb. Forty-four minutes of slow, intentional meditative movement felt like an eternity, but it unlocked old things I did not know I was holding onto. 

There was that trip overseas that I got so triggered that my skin broke out. There was guilt lingering from not speaking up when I felt I had been wronged at work, and there were old conversations and expectations that I simply suppressed over time that bubbled and boiled to the surface. 

I followed Iya’s instruction to not engage with things that were old, to listen, and to observe what was brought up. I breathed as deeply as I could and released only when the pain became so unbearable that I had to clench my teeth or hold my breath, and after a short break, I went back into the pain. Despite being extremely uncomfortable, I couldn’t escape the pain. I mean, I could but it would be to my own detriment. My body needed me to pay attention.

I realized that my body was disconnected from my Ori. When I lightly glazed over things because I considered them to be “no big deal” or because I did not want to face a particular worry or anxiety, I was slowly but surely building a wall between myself and my Ori. I was cutting myself off from divine communication because I just wanted to get over the mental and emotional hurdles without feeling them. While I could mentally trick myself into believing that things were copasetic, my body showed me otherwise and it was time to listen.

I am learning a valuable lesson of what it means to listen to my body long before my body forces me to sit down. There is a healthy balance that can exist when determining what to spend extensive time processing and what simply needs to be acknowledged and accepted. Oftentimes I exist in either extreme: either I overanalyze everything or I don’t process anything at all. This experience is a great reminder that my body gives me a great deal of communication. 

As I enter into the new year, I recognize that there are many pains that I will still experience. But instead of running away from those aches, I am encouraging myself to lean. Even if I claim not to feel anything emotionally, my body is a tool that will tell me the truth. All I need to do is to lean into it and listen. My body has stories both beautiful and heartbreaking, and all of them create the human existence that God allows. My body will tell me where the score lies and if I lean into it long enough, it will tell me how to work through any discomfort and pain and connect to my divine intelligence. 


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