Paying attention

Back when I got deeply into running and jumping and playing again, I spent all the rest of my time stiff and achy and sore. It was glorious. I began intentionally working on restorative practices. At first I was doing vanilla stretching routines. Then I started doing more exploratory work with foam rollers and lacrosse balls and resistance bands. Then things got more organized with little, light activities focusing on weak parts. These days I have a finely tuned sense of what needs to be attended to. A little exploratory movement here, an extension there. Something or other feels off—or perhaps it’s better to say: Something or other is noticeable. That attracts my curiosity and exploration.

Scientists call our ability to feel what’s happening inside our bodies interoception. A portmanteau of “interior” and “reception,” it differs from perception, which comes from our five senses, and proprioception, which tells us how we are oriented in space. Interoception is an inner sense having to do with our bodily processes. It can be divided into three rough categories. The first comprises feelings that break through into consciousness based on need; this is how we know when we need to pee or sleep or hydrate, and how we grasp that our hearts are racing after a good jump scare. The second encompasses the unconscious ways in which our brains and bodies communicate; our brains detect high glucose levels in our livers, for example, then release hormones that trigger our metabolisms, and we are unaware of the process. A vast number of these silent interoceptive processes are going on within us all the time.

~ Jessica Wapner from,


If this liminal space—between the clear and objective, and the fuzzy perception of our bodies—interests you, you’ll also like How to Be Animal.