The Body’s Instant Messenging (IM) System

In responding to a friend who had broken her toe, I spontaneously described the body as an “Instant Messenging System,” and suddenly the light bulb went on–for me!

While I’ve understood for a long time now that our thoughts and feelings manifest in our bodies,  this is the first time that I’ve realized the immediacy of that–and the clear intent:  not punishment in any form, but communication for the purpose of… self correction?

I haven’t quite figured out the purpose of the information, but the onset of my latest illness is offering some clues:

Last week, I co-led a parent evening on social health.  One particular parent was extremely disappointed with the agenda and interrupted our work again and again to question us with a great display of aggravation.

Thirty minutes into the evening, our agenda was tossed aside and I had lost all sense of where to go with this conversation.  My partner and I regrouped and the rest of the time together was productive.

Yet afterward, I found myself very keyed up–angry even–and I had trouble sleeping.  I woke way before dawn (excuse the TMI) with “the runs.”

Right away, I got the irony of my body’s message: I had wanted to run from that conflict, from that role, and from that person, and most of all, I wanted to run from how it felt inside.

What I didn’t understand is why this particular viral expression had to continue its course once I got the message?  Or was I too late?

I’m writing this exploration from my bed–on day four of this particular Instant Message (IM). And I wonder, how might I have responded differently to this conflict (on the inside and the outside) so that I didn’t take it home?

Because, the truth is, we can’t completely protect ourselves from difficult people or difficult situations, although I do effort to do so.

Ironically, I had punctuated the importance of “conflict” at the parent gathering that evening.  “We don’t want a conflict-free school,” I said to the parents.  “Conflict is important.  Through it, our children learn about themselves and about working together.”

While I obviously didn’t apply that pearl of wisdom in my own moment of conflict, I am now even more willing to listen to my body’s Instant Messenging System– so that we can work better together the next time around.

How about you? Any Body IM insights to share?  What do you think the purpose is?

Kelly Salasin