The Mind-Body Connection

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Listen to Your Body!

I know that in my last post I said I would talk about engaging with your audience next, but something else caught my attention. Don’t worry, I will go back to it, promise. Right now I’m thinking about the mind-body connection. It’s so fascinating to me because I’m constantly looking for answers when it comes to my own physical being.

What happened?

My shoulder crapped out on me a few weeks ago and I’m just now getting back into upper body work outs again. Ugh. Every time something like this happens, all I can think is WHYYYYYY???? Well, ding-dong, it’s cause you didn’t listen to yourself! Knowing that something was already going on in my neck, I went to the gym and did my upper body workout anyway. As I was doing it, I thought, hmmm something feels weird. And finished the work out anyway. Yeaaah, should not have done that. Because that ‘something feels weird’ turned into OUCH! Sigh. What I realized later is that I had waaaay too many things going and not taking enough time to chill out!

Why don’t we listen to our bodies more?

Maybe it’s because we’re so wrapped up in a busy day, just trying to get from place to place. Maybe it’s something we just don’t think about. Or try not to think about! A lot of us could probably benefit from taking a few moments throughout the day to just stop and listen. What’s really going on when your stomach’s in knots? Or you’ve had a headache for weeks? Sure, it could be something you ate or that you slept wrong, but could it be that you’re really feeling anxious/overwhelmed/insert feeling here about something?

I think that sometimes when we overlook little nuisance things, they can turn into something else. Ignoring that sniffle turns into an ear infection. Ignoring weird pain in your neck turns into your shoulder crapping out. I think it’s your body’s way of saying “HA! THIS will get your attention!” and by that time, you’re hobbling over to the chiropractor. But why your shoulder or your ear or your stomach? I think there’s a lot of symbolism that can be found in these things. You know that saying, “the straw that broke the camels back”? Not being able to carry the load, physically or mentally, could literally break your back!

Click to enlarge
Oil on Canvas

What’s this got to do with art?

Anyway, I like to explore these ideas in my art. I love anatomy and looking at how all of the bones and muscles in our bodies interact. I also like looking at all of the different ways we deal with these issues. For instance in the painting shown, I was thinking about the spine, pelvis and alignment of the body. The figure is seated in a yoga pose with parts of the skeletal structure revealed, but you can also see lines along the torso with dots on them. These represent meridian lines. In Chinese medicine, meridian lines are the paths through which life-energy, called “qi”, flows. These lines and points represent different parts of the body and act as a map to find points that might be blocked, causing pain or dysfunction.

So while I try to listen more closely to what my body is telling me, I’ll keep exploring these ideas. I hope to produce more work along these lines (hahaha, lines. Get it? Booo.) after the holidays. If you enjoyed this painting, prints are available through my store at Fine Art America, or the original is for sale in the painting gallery. Take care, peeps!