I work with people everyday who have symptoms of some kind that they want to get rid of. The symptoms could be anything; back pain, headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, depression and more. In these situations I find it helpful to consider that the symptoms they wish would just go away may be guiding them to the very action that is needed.
In the spirit of addressing the root cause of a symptom I am going to share an example from my own life of how paying attention to the signals, the signs that your body is giving you can lead to the resolution you seek. What follows is a partial transcription one of my Health and wellness calls.
I have dealt with a craving, a love, of coffee for years. It’s an on-and-off thing. I go on it because I love it, it makes me feel good (at least while I’m drinking it) and it tastes great. But the truth is that I am one of those people who have a lot of adverse reactions to it: insomnia if it’s too late in the day, jitters, and feeling un-grounded and dehydrated. I also notice it bothers my gallbladder and my kidney contributing to bloating and back pain. All of this occurs if I have coffee daily – just one cup daily. So, clearly, not a good thing for me. But sometimes all of these symptoms are not enough to keep me away from it because there’s that moment of drinking it, that “Ahh, that feels great”, or it tastes great, or it’s just fun at a social event to get a cup of coffee.
There’s another symptom that I’ve had that is related – it’s a heaviness in my head that feels like it’s pulling me down. It feels like a fogginess, a mental fog. The real reason I am drawn to drink coffee is that I’m always trying to burst through that mental fog, I’m seeking out clarity, I’m seeking out more energy, and this heaviness feels like just the opposite, it feels like it pulls me into a cloud where there’s less clarity and where there’s heaviness and fatigue.
At some point I again hit that tipping point where the effects of the coffee were too much and I had to stop. That heaviness in my head became very apparent and I couldn’t use my normal way of dealing with it, which was to drink coffee – which never really dealt with it anyway, but it kind of gave me the sensation that there was something I could do about it. Instead I decided that I had to just be with that sensation, that fogginess inside of me and see what it was trying to tell me. My idea was that I needed to burst up and out of it but that energy of the heaviness and fogginess was a downward movement, it was a pull downward, and so I just said “Ok, I’m not going to resist that anymore, I’m going to follow it”.
That pulling was happening and I just allowed myself to follow it and it took me inward. It took me down into my head, it took me deeper and deeper down into my body, it took me all the way down into my lower abdomen. I was following the pull that I had resisted for so long. What happened then is the heaviness in my head disappeared and I found energy deep inside of me rise up and give me the energy, the brightness, the clarity that I was wanting. The key was that this brightness came when I finally stopped resisting the downward pull that felt like it was taking me away from the aliveness that I wanted when actually it was directing me to it.
I now happily drink a cup of coffee now and again but no longer feel like I need it to survive. Also happily, it is more natural for me to soften into and follow sensations that I experience in my body rather than struggling with and resisting them.
If you are interested in trying this with a symptom you experience there is a guided exercise in the call recording.