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Body mind 1


Guess Who’s Talking?—Rochelle Udell Listens

Guess Who’s Talking? — Rochelle Udell Listens

As an former editor of a women’s health magazine, I spent considerable time collecting and sharing information about the mind-body connection. My mind and my body have been talking to me and to each other for years. It has not always been the healthiest or discernible of conversations. My mind tends toward judgment, wants to control the conversation and bullies me. My body’s nonverbal, beyond words, communication is sometimes hard to decipher or is overwhelmed by my mind; a mind that treats my body like a garbage can. My mind says, keep enjoying the spicy pasta,” while my body signals a rising heartburn. Surrendering to my mind, has got me lifetime membership in the clean plate club and a platinum supporter badge from Pepto-Bismol Ultra.

Two things I wish I was better at: using my mind to support my body in everyday situations by changing my internal dialogue and learning how to listen better to my body so I can inform my mind how to speak to me. My need for more conscious listening became very clear during my End-of-Life Doula course. We learned to recognize the closing down signs of a body as it approaches death as well as understand the mind of a dying person detaching from reality. We listened to the stories of anxiety, fear, anticipated grief, frustration and love from the friends, family and caregivers surrounding a dying person. All of those stories and information was to help us be able to provide appropriate support because the end-of-life journey is not a one-size-fits all trip andeach of us brings our own lens to every exchange. 

I remember, many years ago, hours before my fathers expected death, my mother was wanting him to eat something. He was not conscious, still she persisted, wanting a different outcome. This was her way to take care of him, but his body was at work shutting down. Her mind wasn’t ready to see his reality. Back then, I had no idea what to do. I suspect, I wanted to reason with her. If it happened today, I would have said nothing, just wrapped her in a blanket and held her.