“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.
14 thoughts on “Do You Live What You Believe?”
Shelli, I felt out of sync most of my life because I could never find time to do what I know now that I was meant to do. It didn’t matter what I achieved in my life and I had a measurable amount of success running one of the largest diesel truck dealerships in the nation. I always felt like something in my life was missing. It wasn’t until an injury took me off my game and out of work, was I able to rediscover my love affair in print. It felt like the shackles came off when once again, my passion soared.
I finally feel like I’m embracing the blessings that the good Lord had always intended for me and I’ve never been happier. Thank you for your post and the reminder of things that I am grateful for.
Hi Thomas! I love this: “It didn’t matter what I achieved in my life . . . I always felt like something in my life was missing” because I can completely relate. I’m sorry for your injury but glad for it, too. Sometimes that’s what it takes ~ getting knocked off your game ~ to finally get pointed in the right direction. 🙂
What a wonderful, heartwarming post…and blog! First time here and I love your site! You’re so right, it’s terribly important to live what one believes in. Alas, sometimes life doesn’t let you. You have to earn a living etc etc. That was my case. But I always carved for myself a few hours at night or on week-ends to write in (instead of watching television with the rest of the family…)
But it’s hard work, to carve that little special niche in your life in which to do what you really want to do…But still, it’s always worth a try! Thanks for reminding us!
Hi Claude! Thanks so much for the compliments! I love this: “But I always carved for myself a few hours at night or on week-ends to write in.” That’s the most important thing, IMO, that you find some time, somewhere, to do what you love to do, to do what matters to you. On a side note: I’m always amazed at how much I get accomplished when I turn off the TV. 😀
I came across your blog through Google+, just thought I would tell you that I loved it. I also loved your guest post on Derek Flynn’s blog about not looking at the numbers! Thanks for sharing from your heart. It is refreshing to read about going for your dreams!
Hi Burl! Thanks so much for stopping by & taking the time to comment. Looking at the numbers, IMO, will make you crazy. 🙂
So very true. Sometimes the body knows the truth better than we do. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Sonia! Yes, it does. Thanks so much for the compliment & for taking the time to comment. Cheers!
Another AMAZING one 🙂 This is like my online therapy, lol. Not doing something that you know you should be, want to be, deeply desire to be doing, is so tough. I can absolutely relate to this!
Hi Jenn! LOL ~ online therapy. It’s free, too! Thanks for the compliment. 🙂
Okay, so I’m a little behind on these postings. I’m procrastinating atm (though in the best possible way, right?).
I had a similar experience at my job: I started losing hair, going gray (I’m barely 26 now, mind you), and I was sick all of the time. I eventually had to say that I couldn’t do it anymore, and what do you know, my health (and my hair) have returned back to normal. And I actually wake up feeling good about myself most days.
I don’t believe that there is anything I was meant to do. Not really. But I do believe that there are so many things that I am not meant to do. And writing has never been one of them.
Thanks again for the great post.
Hi Jenny! *waves* Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s amazing to me what our bodies will tell us if we’re just willing to listen. I happen to believe that we’re all meant to do something; it’s just a matter of figuring out what it is. I’m glad writing is on your list of things to do. 🙂
Thank you!!! This post made my day! I am on my journey right now on this “listening to my body” and it is amazing! I will let you know what cames after this beautiful journey…
Hi Gabriela! *waves*
You are most welcome. It makes me so happy to hear that you’re going to listen to your body. It really won’t lie to you. Cheers, darlin.
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