“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi
So in last week’s post about stepping out in faith (find it here), I told you about how I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was five years old. Here’s my earliest memory of writing: crafting a story in the first grade & having it be selected by the teacher to be read to the Kindergarten class. I don’t even remember what it was about. But I do remember thinking that writing stories was all I wanted to do. I also told you how I wasn’t doing it. What I didn’t touch on was how it made me feel. All those years when I wasn’t doing what I knew I was supposed to be doing I felt off, not at home inside myself, basically living a lie.
I started having health problems. I had knots in the muscles of my back. I had stomach cramps that medication wouldn’t make go away. I had pain that no testing could explain. I never equated what was going on with my body to what was going on in my mind ~ the battle between what I wanted to do versus what I told myself was the sensible thing that I should do. Odd, yes, that it never occurred to me but true. As if somehow my body & mind weren’t connected. When I finally quit my full-time job & took off after my dream, those health problems faded away.
I’m here to tell you that living out of alignment with your beliefs can be detrimental to you not only mentally but physically, too. I’ve been a licensed massage therapist for over a decade. I started doing it because it was a job that had flexible hours & had nothing to do with writing (since I found that writing professionally all day made me less eager ~ read: it felt like work ~ to write fiction in my free time). I stayed with massage, though, because I enjoyed helping people.
To live what you believe, trust that your body knows the truth
What I’ve learned after working on hundreds of clients over the years is that people hold emotions in their bodies. They’d say: “I’m fine, really.” But then I’d work on them and find huge knotted muscles and fibrous bands and tender points that made them wince with the slightest pressure. Why? Because they really weren’t fine. Look, your body doesn’t lie. That bears repeating: Your. Body. Doesn’t. Lie. So you should listen to it.
Here’s an eye-opening book I came across that hits that point home: Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. In it, she talks about how every single thing in your life ~ what’s going on around you, the choices you make, the relationships you have, all your beliefs, every attitude and opinion you have ~ impacts your physiology. I know this probably sounds like New Age, crazy stuff. I used to think that, too. And then I saw my own health change as a result of finally choosing to do what I wanted.
To live what you believe, you need to pay attention
So why am I telling you all this? Because I believe if you’re not pursuing your dream in some way, if you believe in something and you’re not living it, if you’re hiding your gifts & talents, if you’re making excuses because you’re afraid, eventually that’s going to catch up with you. Maybe not this week or even this year, but at some point down the road it will. If your body is trying to tell you something ~ get out of this job, go take a class, write that poem, paint that picture ~ you should listen to it. That bears repeating: You. Should. Listen. To. It. Your body, more than your mind, will tell you if you’re living what you believe.
So do you live what you believe? If not, why not? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.