Awareness – why bother?
Prior to going to massage school, I never gave the notion of awareness much thought. I sat in groups the first few days of school – feeling like a mainstream red neck in a mob of new age weirdos. They were flexible and mellow, sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, “following their breath” as directed by the serene teacher – I wanted to run for the door, but I had already paid my tuition.
I became “one of them”- slowly, not even noticing it. I catch myself now, explaining that awareness really is the key to health and wellness. What is this “awareness” stuff anyway?
Imagine an intersection with a four-way stop – and none of the cars stopped because none of the drivers noticed the signs. We generally agree that awareness of the road is an obvious and good thing. How about awareness of ourselves? How would self-awareness benefit health?
It takes some effort to pay attention to our deeper self in a society that demands so much of our attention. Even reading this blog takes your attention from yourself and places it “out there.” With your attention directed out, away from your own voice, visions, and feelings, it is likely that you will miss the signs or messages your body is sending you. If you miss too many signs, your health could become something like the pile up at the intersection mentioned earlier.
The idea of personal awareness serving your health is that you could notice the smaller messages, respond appropriately, return to balance and continue on with your healthy life. This could be as simple as having a glass water because you noticed you were thirsty. Or going to bed a little early since you feel tired, going for a walk when you feel fidgety, taking a deep breath, adding or subtracting a certain food based on how your digestion responds to it.
Awareness is simply noticing how you really feel based on your attention to yourself. Do you need to be or do something special in order to become aware of yourself? No. It’s just a decision to notice yourself, to turn your attention away from other people, other things, other distractions, and toward yourself. It’s the simplicity of taking a breath and wondering, “How am I doing right now?” And waiting for the answer.