Paying Attention


An acquaintance told me some time ago of how she suddenly started bleeding out of her belly button.   She went to a series of specialists but nobody could figure out what the problem was.  They kept saying nothing is causing this.  When I saw her she had lost a lot of weight and looked so vulnerable, like fragile bird.

She said at first she read everything she could get her hands on, but all the what ifs drove her crazy and created so much fear that eventually she had to stop and say I don’t know what it is, but I accept that my body is trying to tell me something.  I’m going to stop trying to control everything and instead paid attention to my simple, everyday life.

Seemed like an exceptionally sensible decision to me.

It’s easy to get caught up in the culture where Information Rules.  Especially one where there are specialists for every aspect of our existence, including medical.  In a way it can lead to abdicating responsibility for your life.  Let somebody else tell you what’s wrong, let somebody else fix it.   In many ways of course it lets us have access to stuff we couldn’t do if left to our own devices.

And frankly, I’m glad some people make it their profession to fix cars and fly planes, operate on hearts and brains and bodies and things.

But when your body is telling you something is wrong, and it feels like a meaningful alarm bell, yet the specialists are saying it’s nothing dangerous, information doesn’t really help.  It may be that you have a powerful early-warning system, and that your alarm bell is really saying “start listening now, don’t wait for this to get any worse”.   Or it could be a purely psychosomatic thing.

Whichever it is, information and opinions from all the specialists in the world can’t help you.  Pretty much the only thing you can do is what that acquaintance of mine did.  Accept you’re your body is talking to you.   Stop trying to control everything, and pay attention to your simple, everyday life.

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4 thoughts on “Paying Attention

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