A View from A Drawbridge’s: Body Signals

Editor’s Note: For more than a year now I have been following the daily postings of a Seattle Bridgetender whose blog The View From a Drawbridge  makes me ponder both sacred and mundane insights before starting my day. A bridgetender has a lot of time on their hands to consider the past, the present, and the future and their powers of observation and reflection can’t help but grow refined. When I read this recent post from April 7, 2016 what struck me was how connected and responsive mind and body were.  How would you describe the relationship you have with your mind and your body? What kind of body signals do you receive? Reprinted with permission.

When I got the news that my mother had cancer, I was at work. Prior to the phone call, my skin was clear. After the phone call, my face was covered with deep, painful, cystic acne. I went from looking fresh-faced to looking like pepperoni pizza in the space of just a few minutes. A coworker said he’d never seen anything like that in his entire life. It was if my skin erupted. It was first for me, too. For several months I had to sleep on my back, because even touching my cheek to the pillow was so painful I couldn’t get any rest.

That was the moment when it dawned on me that my subconscious was pretty darned powerful. When it wants to send me a message, I tend to get it, loud and clear. Fortunately it doesn’t happen often, but when it does… wow.


When it wants to send me a message, I tend to get it, loud and clear.

When the sheriff’s office called to tell me that they’d found my boyfriend’s body in his truck, still clutching his asthma inhaler, it sent me a similar message. This time, prior to the phone call, I wasn’t feeling bad at all. Afterward, Bam! I had the full-blown flu. Fever, aching, and my head and chest were so congested that when I took the plane to fly back home my ears became so blocked that I couldn’t hear a thing for two days. Which was convenient, because I didn’t want to hear at that moment in time.

Another time, the complete opposite happened. I had a bad cold, advanced enough for me to be longing for death, and then I received really good news, and my congestion instantly disappeared as if it had never been there. I can’t even remember what the good news was. (Funny how the positive stuff doesn’t stick with you.)

To this day, when I experience stress I’ll get blisters on my ankles. That area has so many scars after all these years that I find it unpleasant to gaze upon my feet. My doctor is completely befuddled.

I wish I could sit down and have a chat with my subconscious and tell it that less is more. Subtlety would be greatly appreciated. But my subconscious would probably reply, “I would, but you have this annoying habit of being totally oblivious.”

Message received. At least until the next time I need reminding. “Be gentle with yourself during times of crisis or I’ll take you down.”


  1. Sophia on April 20, 2019 at 7:25 am

    So true. Great Read. Thank you. I too realized how important the mind body connection was when I had been diagnosed with Optic Neuritis. Which effects your vision. The inflamed Optic nerve makes your vision seem as if you have a blind spot in the center of your eye. You can see around what you are looking at, but what is in front of you is blurred. At that time in my life my marriage was a mess and I hadn’t admitted it out loud, but I suspected my husband was gay, he had been trying to hide it from the world and himself. When I finally confronted him and said my suspicions out loud my Optic Neuritis improved and eventually heal. I realized my body had been trying to tell me that I had been blind to what was right in front of me. From that moment on I began to listen. ( for context – I was right, we divorced and both lived happier lives as our true selves My Optic Neuritis left a little scaring on my optic nerve so my vision is not 100% corrected. Its okay though because it reminds me to keep in tune with my mind body connection and my world.)

    • Antoinetta Vogels on July 25, 2020 at 9:58 am

      Sophia, thank you so much for your comment. What a story and what a great interpretation of your bodily symptoms. I am happy to come across your comment today as we all need a reminder from time to time. I guess your story confirmed in my that I had d started to develop a cataract in my left eye when things were getting less loving in my marriage as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the knowledge then I (and you) have now so I kept going. Was it 10 years later that I had my cataract removed and permanent replacement lenses inserted in both my eyes (one eye wasn’t possible because they were multifocal lenses). Only a year and a half ago my marriage broke down… If I would have known that my vision was clouded for what was happening right in front of my eyes… if I had listened earlier…God knows what would have happened. Anyway, the message is clear: your body is your Self so it is smart to get a sense of it!
      On that note, I am now reading “The body keeps the score” by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. IN fact at the end of the month I will be interviewing him. If you are still interested in the HySoS activities keep an eye out!
      All the best!

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