Body of Knowledge

I had an epiphany the other day.  I realized I knew me more than I thought.

self awarenessSomeone asked how Oriental medicine worked.  I began talking about my own experience with the modality.

I have received Oriental medicine since 2009.  I originally came to this path because of numbness in my hands and feet.  

That issue has passed.  Why was I still going?  I am sure they were looking for a one or two word “problem.”  Instead, I started telling them this whole “crazy” list of symptoms:

  • a feeling that I have in my midsection, a feeling of uncomfortable fullness
  • this feeling always mirrors my mind being too full; it gets worse when I am closer to my monthly cycle  
  • this feeling of fullness affects my breathing, which creates a particularly painful feeling right underneath my diaphragm  
  • my clothing feels tight even though I have not gained any weight
  • everything feels heavy, as if my stomach is going to fall into the earth
  • my eating is irregular and so is my digestion when these symptoms are present
  • when I feel this way, I want to disassociate, use anything to get away from how it feels to “be in my skin”
  • this feeling is worsened by lack of movement, and alleviated by movement

And then I realized: I was learning pattern discrimination.

Pattern discrimination is how Oriental medicine diagnoses.  What I was doing was not just pattern discrimination in general Oriental medical terms, but my pattern discrimination.  I was learning my body and learning how to read my body’s cues.  

We are not taught how to read our own body’s cues; at least I certainly wasn’t.  I was taught that I could not understand anything about myself without the help of some intermediary; and this intermediary came in many forms:  physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.  I was taught that I needed this intercession in order for me to gain any “knowledge” about myself.  

For most of my life I have discredited my own self knowledge in deference for everyone else’s expertise.  

All of our practitioners here ask for something different.  They ask that I be aware of my body and be able to voice that awareness to them.  They have taught me that various signs that I say are “silly” or are “just a peculiarity with me” are important for just that reason: because they have to do with me in particular, not what someone else says I should feel or experience.

The practitioners here have helped me to learn my language.  They have also given me the tools to navigate my own terrain.  This has taken time and effort on my part; however, this not only empowers me but allows them to treat me better.  The more that I have self awareness and voice that to them, the more they can really shine as practitioners.

And you know what?  All of this self awareness allows me to not only feel better in general but function better in my life.  I will take that body knowledge any day.  

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