Your body is innately wise.

How did we forget?

When did our suffering become “something is wrong” rather than “what does my body have to teach me?”

We lost something profound with that shift: the exquisite language of our own human bodies.

It’s crucial we reconnect to what our bodies can teach us. Which is why we’ll immerse ourselves in the three dynamic principles of the human body in my upcoming book, Unbroken: Remember Your Wholeness.

These are the laws of the Earth that remind us how we’re inherently part of her genius. And once we know this is who we are? Consciously practicing our genius? Mind blowing potential and possibilities.

  • The primary urge of your body is to heal.
  • Your body is innately wise.
  • Resilience (energy + strength + adaptability) is your birthright.

Second law: Your body is innately wise.

In our suffering, pain, and chronic illness, our bodies are responding with the highest wisdom to their circumstances. It is important to understand how in this context our bodies aren’t wrong, even when we suffer, are in pain, or feel sick and stuck.

Contrary to what we’ve been taught, we’re not broken in our suffering. We don’t need to be fixed in our pain or chronic illness. Rather, the circumstances that fail to support us in our optimal wholeness and healing are what’s wrong and need to be fixed.

This is a whole new way of seeing ourselves, isn’t it? It flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught to believe about our suffering. Rather than something that happens to us, that breaks us, or that arises because of something “defective” we inherited from our ancestors, our suffering is the wisdom of our bodies adapting to circumstances that can’t support a more robust equilibrium. Our bodies, nonetheless, in their wisdom, reach the best equilibrium possible.

You can always trust your body to tell you what it needs through its exquisite, unique language. We’ve learned to call this language “symptoms,” or “illness,” or “something’s wrong,” based on this idea that suffering means we’re broken.

Whatever you choose to call your body’s language, it’s important to understand your body isn’t your problem—don’t blame the messenger. Rather, listen to the language, context, and meaning of the message. The conditions that favor the equilibrium of your suffering are your problem. That’s where we focus our attention. That’s where we do our healing work.

What are the consequences of not knowing or trusting the inherent wisdom of our bodies to reach their best equilibria given present circumstances?

We blame ourselves for being sick. We understand our pain and suffering as being “broken,” and turn to sources outside ourselves to fix us. We hand over our personal agency and let those outside sources define and manage our problems even when the solutions are superficial, short term, incomplete, or plain wrong. Our suffering continues. Or we feel better for the moment but remain vulnerable.

We disconnect from ourselves precisely as we were taught.

Here’s the thing. As we keep touching on, we’re storytelling creatures. As such, our words are important. They’re miniature stories that invoke a whole lot of meaning based on what we’ve been taught before. So, we must use our words so carefully. “I’m stuck,” “I’m broken and need to be fixed,” “I must turn to the experts to fix me,” “I am this disease,” “I believe everything my doctor tells me even when it goes against my own truth,” show us how disconnected we are and are the engines of our ongoing disconnection. They perpetuate our vulnerability and helplessness. They direct what we expect. What we ask for. What we settle for.

We can begin to shift our stories by changing the words we use. By changing our words, we shift our relationship to our inner experiences. Using words with conscious awareness keeps us true to ourselves and closer to our inner healer.

Choosing words with conscious intention is a challenge when we’re suffering, isn’t it? Or when we’re scared and don’t feel safe.

We can foundationally change our relationship to our bodies and powerfully acknowledge their wisdom by tuning into “feelings,” “sensations,” or “discomfort,” and observing them with curiosity rather than fearful intensity or judgement.

Hmmm, that feels a bit sharp, achy, warm, tingly. I feel tightness and constriction here, let me hold it. Rather than, oh shit, there’s that terrible pain again, or my headache is back again. Oh my God, what’s wrong with me?

The words and stories we use to explain what we experience have the power to change versus lock in how we see ourselves. Reframing our words and stories helps us shift our deeply held beliefs about our bodies—that rather than being wrong for how they hurt, they’re showing us where to hold and how to listen. They’re disclosing their wisdom—your wisdom.



Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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