I swear, this will be the last time I ignore that voice, call it intuition, or my body talking to me.

And you all know, we make a practice of talking and listening to our bodies.

But this time I didn’t, and I’m paying for it dearly.

OK, I don’t have to be dramatic, it isn’t that bad, but, well, kinda.

We were going for our morning walk last week and walking back toward home, I saw something on the banks of the creek that I had been ignoring for months. Someone had dumped a bunch of branches and tree limbs, but there was something white in there that stuck out like a sore thumb. And every morning, I said I would go get it out, but I never did.

That morning, a week ago, Greg headed over there to look. We walked on the bright green spring grass, past the old oaks, over to a little gully that fed the creek. It was filled with leaves and dead branches, and I could see what looked like a white board under all the debris.

Greg said, ‘Watch out for the poison oak!” And I dodged a small plant on my left. I stepped a foot down the bank and yanked at a dead branch and it wouldn’t budge. I stepped further down, my tennis shoes sinking into the dead leaves and moss. I threw some branches out of way and grabbed the end of the board. I started pulling and tugging, and out came a white wooden board, four feet long. And there was more underneath! I had to dislodge more branches before I could get to the rest, but by the time we were done, we had taken out ten white boards! Talk about being pissed at whoever dumped them.

On the way home, I heard a tiny voice saying, you really better wash so you don’t get poison oak. And I thought, that’s a good idea, and Greg might have even said it out loud too. But with one thing after another that Sunday morning, I just decided that it wasn’t that important. I mean, I washed my hands, but I never washed with intention to get rid of the poison oak.

And it didn’t happen quickly. The next day I thought I had a two mosquito bites on my face and maybe there was a pimple by my nose. But then the day after that where I had gotten scratches on my arms from gardening, they were looking like welts. And then before I knew it, my left arm had a red blistered patch of angry poison oak on my forearm and little patches on my other arm and a few on my legs. And all that on my face, yep, poison oak!

When I was a kid, I used to get it so bad that my eyes would shut. And a couple times I actually went to the doctor, it was so bad. It isn’t that bad this time for which I am grateful.

But, right here, right now, as I write this, I am still a little grumpy and uncomfortable.

If only I had l listened to that voice, talking to me, telling me what I had to do to stay healthy and sane.

Because that itching and pain makes me crazy.

So I vowed to listen to that voice AND DO WHAT IT TELLS ME!

Not put it off or ignore it or think it isn’t that important or its not a big deal, because it is. Having this poison oak has been distracting and uncomfortable. If I had listened to what my body was telling me, I could have avoided it.

And now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it’s about me loving myself a little more. Maybe, if I loved myself a little more, I would have thought, ‘I don’t want even a chance of getting poison oak because that will feel awful. And I don’t want to feel awful.’

Maybe it’s about me paying enough attention to my body to give myself that self-care, to take the time to ensure I don’t get sick or uncomfortable. Because I’m worth it. I don’t need to muscle through everything. I can take care of myself so I can feel good and do what I want to do.

And that’s what listening to my love body is teaching me today.

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