My left ear is burning right now. If you were to see it, it would be poker red hot. I haven’t looked at it in a mirror but I know this sensation well. There is also a slight numbness in my jaw and a needle like tension around T2-T3 in my upper back. I feel thick in my head, mouth and throat. I am cold. Wrapped up in a sweater and blanket even though it is a lovely and mild fall day.
So what is up? It sounds like symptoms to some virus coming on. But they’re not. These are all familiar sensations. In fact, they’re not bad at all. They’re very low level anxiety. And they are my body’s way of saying that in this case:
“You know what you have to do. And until you do it, I am going to try to get your attention over and over and over again in all the most unpleasant ways possible. Because, hey Rachel, you don’t actually notice me when I am quiet. You only notice me when I’m cranky so I’ll be as cranky as possible. Until you take care of that thing you have to do.”
To which my mind’s reply is something like:
“Body! I hear you! But I don’t know what the heck I need to do. You say ‘You know what you have to do.’ but I don’t! I don’t know at all!”
This exclamation is actually quite similar to a 2 year old’s tantrum.
And it’s baloney. (I did just search that to ensure I’m spelling it correctly for this context.) I know exactly what I have to do but I don’t like it. I don’t like the discomfort of feeling this way – avoiding the “to do” with all my dig in my heels might – but I don’t want the discomfort that I associate with the “to do” itself either.
I could totally throw up my hands and dig my heels in deeper avoiding THE action. I affectionately call that my “Screw it” response. “If I push through and ignore it then maybe it will go away.” And it might. For a while. But undoubtedly it will be back.
Or I can take a breath, support myself with whatever I need to feel just a tad more ease in that very moment – hot tea, my therapeutic yoga practice, a warm sweater, my husband beside me, talking with a friend, a nidra, meditation, a warm bath, watching the kids play – whatever – and I can then step humbly into “being-within-action.”
In short, when the time is right and I have my feet on the ground, I can have courage. I’ve tested this play over and over and I know the discomfort of pre-action is actually a totally different breed than the discomfort of being-within-action. And I also know that the space on the other side of action…. that space is blessed stillness.
Here I go.