by Faithe Raphael
“Your body will tell you things your mind will talk you out of. Your body is telling you what direction life is in. Try trusting it. Turn away from what feels cold. Go toward what feels warm.” Glennon is talking to Martha on the phone, as cartwheels and summersaults are jumbling her thoughts about leaving her marriage to be with Abby (page 124). I chose this passage because it so clearly explains the how and why of mindfulness bringing one closer to the Knowing.
I once heard a child tell his teacher, when she asked, “‘What’s the main function of your body?’ and the child responded, ‘So we have a way to carry our heads around.’” The crazy narratives our thoughts tell us aren’t necessarily true. Yet, we aren’t taught to pay attention to our bodies, to quietly listen to what our body is telling us when we feel pain, or tightness in our throat, or a tingling in out feet. Simple breathing, ‘dropping into our bodies’ turns off the voices in our head. Instead of contracting, we can create spaciousness and warmth. We are connecting to our deeper self…the Knowing. We are open to all of the experiences in the present moment.
Unfortunately, we’re not naturally wired to trust in the Knowing, which is why we practice mindfulness. The more we practice, the stronger the Knowing becomes. Glennon gets through this practice, clear sighted about her choice, and ends this section with, “I trust women who trust themselves." I love this line. But I take it further – I trust people who trust themselves. People who trust themselves are authentic; they have insight, integrity, and consciousness. I know who they are and I trust them.
There’s a serious danger in not Knowing. I was always extremely close to my oldest son, but he became a little quieter several months before he was to go to a college in New York on a full Science Scholars Scholarship. He attempted suicide the night before we were to fly to New York. Smack! Just like that, we became estranged, he had no insight, no higher consciousness and I suddenly didn’t know who he was, nor did I trust him. Seven years later, after 2 months in a residential treatment center in Boston he did attend University. He has a Masters in biology and is home, studying for the MCATs. He’s much more open with what’s going on inside his mind and body, and we’re much closer as a result. But this is a work in progress…only he can determine who he is and what he wants his life to be about.
My other favorite section is (p. 136) when Doyle explains the word, selah, “found in the Hebrew Bible seventy-four times. “Selah…is a direction to the reader to stop reading and be still for a moment, because the previous idea is important enough to consider deeply. The poetry in scripture is meant to transform, and the scribes knew that change begins through reading but can be completed only in quiet contemplation. Selah is a transformational moment of awareness.” Deepak Chopra calls this ‘the gap,’ a present moment, which offers us infinite possibilities. Have you ever felt that the powerful beauty in a song is the space between the notes? I experience this in Leonard Bernstein’s composition, “Somewhere,” from Westside Story.