Head Games

 Head Game

I’ve been thinking a lot about mind, body, and spirit and how to integrate the three. The trouble is, well, just return to that word “thinking” in the previous sentence. I’m a thinker. In fact, my preference for thinking and overthinking is so strong, I should really introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Margaret, and I’m an OverThinker.” You get the point.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I admitted that I see myself as a head sitting on a table—no body—my brain taking in information, processing it, and spitting it out in useful chunks. It’s a bit difficult to approach the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit when you sometimes don’t feel your body. Case in point, while deep in thought, I’ll walk into a piece of furniture without realizing it, barely register the pain, and find a huge bruise a few days later with no memory of how it got there.

That’s changed a bit over the past few years. I’ve become more conscious of my body. I exercise regularly and take note of how my body feels and moves. Slowly but surely, I am trying to be mindful—ha, ha, mindful, can’t escape those head words—of my body. I still have a long way to go.

So, how about you? What part of your body best represents or symbolizes who or what you are in your life or how you operate? Think in terms of caricature. Are you a pair of helping hands? Heels dug into the sand? Atlas shoulders supporting the weight of the world? A womb or lactating breasts nurturing the masses? Or is your head sitting on the table next to mine?

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55 Comments

  1. July 12, 2011 at 11:32 am

    It doesn’t surprise me to learn you are a thinker — of course you are! You are a writer, and writers funnel all the stuff the world puts on display (and writers suss out the hidden items as well) and cook it in their heads until it becomes part of their writing soup.

    Did that sound polite? I usually use “garbage” and “compost” for that analogy, but I was trying to improve my image a bit.

    But yeah, it helps to have some balance.

    Always a struggle. It’s probably why I write and box. And I frequently neglect the spiritual piece… Sigh.

    • July 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      Sigh, indeed. There’s always work to be done. I recently discovered that one of my blogging buddies is a Life Coach and she introduced me to an interesting exercise called the Body Compass. It gets you to take notice of how your body (not your brain) reacts to things in your life. I’ll be blogging about this more in a bit. Still processing.

  2. Lenore Diane said,

    July 12, 2011 at 11:33 am

    My initial response is that my head is on a table, next to your head. However, as I get up from the couch and I feel the sharp pain on the left side of my back, I wonder if I am instead – Atlas shoulders support the world. I’ll put my head back on the table and ponder that thought ….

    • July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      You’re funny, Lenore. There was a point in my life when I suffered from chonic back pain. In hindsight, and with the help of all the journals I’ve kept, I’ve realized that it’s my body’s way of sounding the alarms to let me know I’ve fallen into a rut in life and need to make a change. Wish I had figured that out a lot sooner than I did.

      By the way, if you suffer from chronic pain, I highly recommend the book Healing Back Pain by Dr. Sarno. http://www.healingbackpain.com/books.html

      Feel better.

  3. July 12, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Margaret…you are an overthinker? I never would have guessed that :)-. I, of course, am as well. If I had to put it in charicature form, I would be the chicken running around with its’ head cut off. My body goes through the motions of driving hours on end and doing what everyone needs and my mind is always thinking & observing things nobody else seems to notice. One day I’m sure I’ll get the two to join forces 😉

    • July 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      🙂 My husband is the body of the chicken running around. I am the head. Together, we make one whole chicken.

  4. SuziCate said,

    July 12, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I’ve always been a deep thinker, and more recently have begun to discover my spiritual side…I think I left my body by the roadside somewhere since that connection has a long way to go to evolve!

    • July 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      My spiritual growth has happened in fits and starts since the late 90s. But the body stuff, jeez, I’m like a baby who has just discovered its toes.

  5. JRO said,

    July 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Let’s face it…my caricature is Peppermint Patty, as we all know. Baseball glove in one hand, brown sandals on feet. Although I would say I feel I am more of a thinker than she was. But not a “worldly” issue thinker. More of the “in the moment”, street smart, logical thinker.

  6. marjorie said,

    July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    that’s very ironic, Margaret — I often picture myself as a brain sitting on the table, especially when I have so many thoughts trying to come out at once. I want people to just get inside my brain so I don’t have to speak, but yet they will know what I want to say.

    • July 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      I can definitely see that, Marjorie. You couldn’t possibly have crunched numbers the way you did without having a very developed brain. 🙂

      The difference with me is that I am an Extravert and just love to blab all my thoughts out loud…to screams of “she’s gonna blow” and “God save us.” 😉

  7. hawleywood40 said,

    July 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I’m not sure whether I’m that head sitting on the table or a big heart. I am definitely more a “mind” person than a “body” person, and have some lovely leg bruises of my own for that reason. But what I think about tends to be more people and relationships and ‘feeling stuff’ than ‘thinking stuff’ if that makes any sense. Great for studying and developing characters – not always so good for getting any other type of work done : ).

    • July 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      It makes perfect sense. I see from your bio that you work in systems development. Not much opportunity to use your feeling side there, but I bet you have great relationships with your colleagues. I’m in the process of reinventing myself for the second half of my life and I’m leaning toward jobs that typically are held by feelers. I guess the Myers-Briggs theory of embracing your opposite functions at mid-life is true.

  8. Paul Anavian said,

    July 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Thinking gives off smoke to prove the existence of fire. A mystic sits inside the burning. There are wonderful shapes in rising smoke that imagination loves to watch. But it’s a mistake to leave the fire for that filmy sight. Stay here at the flame’s core. (Rumi)

    • July 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      😀 Oooooooo, I like that. Thanks for sharing that quote, and thanks for stopping by, Paul. Hope all is well with you.

  9. Val said,

    July 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I’m a brain with very cold feet and a nearly constantly aching neck. . That sums me up quite nicely. Like you I walk into things and get bruises from things I’ve forgotten about. I’ve cold feet about getting into anything new, I rarely stick my neck out, and my brain is beginning – just beginning – to wake up from a dullness that nearly two years of hypertension medicine and before that 19 years of valium caused.

    You beat me to it with this post, Margaret. This morning I woke and though, “I really want to ask people what sort of minds they have.” And then of course, I got distracted by all sorts of other things!

    • July 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      Distraction is my middle name. I hope you’ll still do your post, Val. You’ll put your own creative spin on it.

  10. Ray Colon said,

    July 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Margaret,

    That’s a awfully difficult trifecta. There have been times in my life where I have tried to maintain a focus on all three, but those efforts were usually short lived. It’s too easy to fall back into bad habits like overworking, not getting enough sleep, and poor diet. Fortunately, taking a new first step can happen any time we wish to give it another try.

    The answer to your question didn’t come to me immediately, which surprised me. After thinking about it a bit I’ve settled on the heart — not the lovie-dovie kind. I’m big on empathy. My efforts to see things from another’s point of view have enabled me to become a good peacemaker, negotiator, and friend. Empathy drives how I relate to people, my political ideology, and even how I conduct business.

    I liked that video, 🙂

    Ray

    • July 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Empathy goes a lot further than lovey-dovey. The timing of my empathy could be a bit quicker. Certain situations make me react first and empathize later. 😉

  11. huffygirl said,

    July 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I think I’m the head on the body – I do my best writing in my head at the gym or out on my bike, and of course don’t get any of it down because I can’t. Later, when I try to retrieve it, it’s never quite as good as what I was writing in my head while exercising.

    The rest of the time – I must be the body without the head, because I’m going around with socks that don’t match.

    • July 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      You need a little tape recorder like Kolchak, the Night Stalker. 😉

      I don’t actually write in my head. I have to get it down on paper and then edit the hell out of it. I had a roommate in college who would sit at a typewriter for hours and very slowly type a paper. I, on the other hand, would type, type, type, rip out the paper, crumble, insert new paper, type, type, type, maybe keep that page, etc. In the end, it probably took us the same amount of time, but we had much different approaches to the writing. I’ve always thought he was a genius.

  12. Girlboxing said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Great questions — as always! And I think you’re right, our concept of body changes over time and how we meld our disparate parts. In particular, I think older women have had to undergone a series of transformations as our bodies have often been objectified — and so taking ownership has been an interesting struggle. The mind body split has also been a way of overcoming that objectification as well as a means of protection a process that then requires time and patience — and perhaps even a little bit of wisdom before figuring out how to make it happen.

    Having been an “overthinker” for much of my life I can well appreciate your dilemma. The trick I find is to just have some fun and not worry about what happens next.

  13. July 13, 2011 at 6:29 am

    The holistic methodology of mind, body and spirit is becoming increasing popular in treating mental and physiological illness. We look at the whole person instead of a particular symptom. Unfortunately in today’s assembly line medicine, doctors have neither the time or desire to engaged in this more intimate and multifaceted relationship while treating patients. The protocol of treating illness from the three pronged protocol of mind, body and spirit has been the prime directive of Chinese Medicine for 6,000 years. Western Medicine criticizes Chinese Medicine for its lack of science(alleged) and Eastern Medicine criticizes Western Medicine for its lack of philosophy. Western Medicine tends to compartmentalize illness. For example, my cardiologist will not discuss cancer and my oncologist will not discuss cardio issues.

    • July 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      You’ve touched on something that has been bothering me more than usual lately (probably because I made the rare visit to a doctor for an injury). It seems that few of the doctors I come in contact with are true healers. Rather they are Symptom Amelioration Specialists. This is quite sad to me, and especially sad for the doctors who wish they could be healers but don’t work in a system that allows them to operate in that manner.

      • July 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

        Yes that’s right. I don’t just want to feel better . I want to know the cause. I am not getting notification your new posts nor from all my other subscriptions. People think I am ignoring them. My settings seem right.

      • July 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

        Hmmm, I’m not sure why you’re not getting notifications. I’ll see if I can figure out why.

      • July 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm

        We figured it out. Everyone of my subscriptions had been spammed. Unspammed. I don’t know how that happened. Now I must resubscribe everyone and have 900 emails to review.

      • July 16, 2011 at 11:31 pm

        Bizarre. Good luck with that, Carl.

  14. Linda Lewis said,

    July 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Margaret, I can’t think about this! (: Kidding aside, mind, body, spirit coming together is a challenge. I try to make time for those things to happen, like when I walk, do yoga or pilates. No thinking allowed during those times when I just want to be, be mindful of the moment and all that is in it. See if you can find a little book called Always We Begin Again. It is wonderful, but don’t think about it too much, just “listen”.

  15. Brenda said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    It depends on the moment and situation. I might be one or all at any given time. A few years back I stopped dead in my tracks and took stock of where I was headed. I was flailing. The fish out of water and gasping is as good of a description. Life can do that to a person if we don’t watch for it.. Like you, I started to be ‘mindful’ of all of me, heart, heart, soul, creative spirit. I WORK (caps are there for a reason) on all of those pieces now. I found that exercise (even though I hate it I do it) is a positive influence on everything else and all my other pieces. Someone asked me at the gym this morning how much weight I was trying to lose to which I replied, I come here to take care my body which in turn takes care of everything else… She probably thinks I’m a new age crazy now and regrets talking to me, but it’s the reason I go.

    • July 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Yes, it is WORK. 🙂 I’ve found that the exercise is very good for soothing my mental hamsters. I prefer exercising out in nature because that’s where I feel most alive and at peace.

      I loved your answer to the gym lady. Please tell me that her question to you was preceded by a conversation where you mentioned you were trying to lose weight. If not, then she wins the prize for most OBNOXIOUS woman of the year.

  16. July 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    […] Head Games, Margaret Reyes Dempsey writes about how she’s more thinking orientated than body, though […]

  17. Melinda said,

    July 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Wow that is hard to pick. I’m an over thinker too. My mind races faster than the rest of me can keep up with so I would be a head running forward with a body limply dragging behind it…tired and can’t keep up. Or a spinning head with 14 arms going different directions. 🙂

    • July 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      After reading your last blog post, I can see how the 14 arms come in handy when you have to gather up your kids’ electronic equipment when they’re being grounded. 😉

  18. Richard said,

    July 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Is anyone really going to say they see themselves as a pair of lactating breasts? Where’s the clip art for that one? 😛

    • July 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      LOL. Believe me, I looked for clip art.

      I know plenty of people who would admit to that (I used to be one of them). When you’re feeding a baby every 2 hours, 24 hours/day, there isn’t much time to do anything else than, well, lactate. 😉

      It’s udderly time consuming. Moo.

  19. Cynthia said,

    July 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Sorry, completely distracted by the video – I haven’t seen “follow the bouncing ball” since… probably some kind of Looney Tunes when I was a child. Wow… As for your question, I do try to keep all three, mind, body and spirit going, but at any given moment one or the other is uppermost. And being intensely visual, the image THAT brings to mind… yoikes!

  20. July 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

    id like to think i was the big heart on the table but im not sure. great post

    • July 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks Tink. Try to see yourself as the big heart on the table from the negative sense as well as the positive sense. If you can, you most likely are. When I studied personality types, if two types called out to me, all I had to do was read what the negative traits of the types were to be sure. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  21. July 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I’m intrigued by this comment to Tinkerbelle: the two types of personality traits, negative and positive. As I believe we’ve discussed, I’m totally there when it comes to the shadow and light of everything. I can certainly see the negative/shadow side of being a big heart on the table. as well as why that would be full of Light.

    Me? I think I’m emerging from years of the lactating breast. (And I have no hesitation saying that!) Now I’m feeling something that would be embodied by sleep. I’ve never been good at rest or sleep, but these days, it’s like I’m studying for a PhD in snoozing.

    • July 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Ha, a PhD in snoozing. I like that. Welcome home, Rebecca. I enjoyed your Alaska post.

    • Girlboxing said,

      July 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      The lacation image is a great one. Giving the body over to pregnancy, birth and lactation is huge — and I agree it takes years to sort out that your body is actually yours again. Even now, my daughter has no boundaries when it comes to my body. I am Mom, and therefore available as a body at any time. Thankfully that no longer means pawing at my breast, but sitting on me, jumping into by bed, and so continue, and I am left with the dilemma of both loving and hating it.

  22. August 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

    My head was sitting on the table next to yours, but I’ve rolled off and I’m stuck under the couch. Can you call for help?

    • August 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      This cracked me up, Charles, and it was a much needed laugh.

      No, I can’t call for help, but maybe Melinda, with her 14 arms going in different directions, can pick up a phone and dial 911.

  23. September 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

    […]   What body part do you relate […]

  24. September 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks to Rebecca for leading me here. I’m often enough a head on a plate, and as Woody Allen says of his brain, it’s his second favorite organ. We’re always shifting our identification, but I’d say I’ll go with my crooked little finger that makes me a distant relative of a paleolithic cave painter who also had a crooked little finger.

  25. December 14, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I see my self as heart….wondering how many times it will get to beat before it beats its last…wondering why if all our emotion comes from our brain then why does my chest hurt? Shouldn’t a broken heart cause my head to ache instead of my chest….there’s my proof that each human has a transendent soul…when your heart is broken you feel it in your heart…your chest….your soul! …..the soul resides in the heart not the head!

    • December 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

      I’ve been there and it’s a horrible kind of hurt. But through it all, my head still buzzes. Maybe we each carry a soul in a different location and perhaps the objective is to “eject it” and get it to surround us.


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