Do you know the body you’re living in?
The last couple of years I’ve been significantly more mindful about my health. Prior to having cancer, I would have argued that I wasn’t doing “half bad”. I was so wrong.
The more that I started researching and learning, the more aware I became about everything that contributes to our health; food, exercise, environment, even our thoughts.
The most profound thing I’ve learned has been that I’ve largely been disconnected from my own body, and I had no idea.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know about my aversion to exercise . But there was so much more going on where I’d never connected the dots.
For most of my life, I’ve been carrying my body around with me without paying much attention to it. I’ve been making demands on it, criticizing it, weighing it down with toxicity and sometimes pushing it too far.
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer, etc. are epidemic, especially here in the west. We can blame a myriad of sources for it, but largely, we have more control than we are taking.
While we race through our lives, we’re losing track of the bodies we’re driving around. We’re running them into the ground, and then we’re angry that they’ve failed us.
What if we took another approach? What if rather than telling our bodies what to do, we listened to them? Our bodies are designed to heal themselves, and they’re miraculously good at it, if we let them.
When you eat a pizza and drink a 12-pack of beer, does your body reward you with a good night sleep and a productive, calm, clear-headed next day where you’re at your best? Of course not. I love pizza, but I’m pretty sure our bodies aren’t craving the opportunity to figure out how to process and get rid of all of that garbage we’ve stuffed into it.
The key is to really connect with our bodies. Rather than seeing it as something you just “have” or “exist” within, pay attention to it, be kind to it, take care of it. It’s no different from putting bad gas in your car, eventually it’s not going to run anymore.
What are the types of things you think about your body? I’m guessing quite often its things like, “fat, wrinkled, old, saggy, out of shape, too curvy, too skinny, too hairy, too full of stretch marks, too many scars, too many freckles”. I’m just as guilty – I dress to cover or minimize everything I don’t like, and complain about them as if there is nothing I can do.
Without health life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering – an image of death. – Buddha
These bodies are so loyal – they keep breathing, processing, metabolizing, pumping, moving, resting, feeling, healing and regenerating for us and we don’t have to even think about it.
If you’re a spiritual person, you’re probably aware that most of the world religions teach the concept of our bodies as temples. That’s simultaneously overwhelming and awesome.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? –1 Corinthians 6:19, New Testament
Once I started down the road of self-care, and started taking my own health seriously, I found some wellness warriors I learned a whole lot from. One of my favorite cancer thrivers is Kris Carr. Kris sometimes uses the term “God pod” when referring to our bodies. I can’t think of anything more fabulous.
(If you’re not already familiar with Kris Carr, she is the woman behind the Crazy Sexy Cancer movement. She’s written several books, produced a movie, does boatloads of public speaking and writes a blog at http://kriscarr.com/. I highly recommend checking her out!)
As I said earlier, I’m not a huge fan of exercise. Okay, I’m a fan of it, I just don’t love doing it. I get bored, I hate getting sweaty and I really hate being so sore! But, I’ve recently decided to give yoga another try, and I honestly do enjoy it. More than anything else I’ve tried, yoga helps me to really connect with my own body.
(In case you’re new to yoga, or have never tried it at all and would prefer to do it in the privacy of your own home, I have recently discovered Yoga With Adriene on You Tube. She’s funny and I don’t feel like an idiot. You can check her out here at http://yogawithadriene.com/.)
Maybe it’s time to start looking at ourselves and our bodies in a new way. Really notice your bony feet, your soft skin, your wild hair, the rise and fall of your breath and the strength in your hands. Appreciate your health, what your body does for you, and notice your connection to it.
Let me know what practices work for you to connect with your body. Hit me up on twitter or leave your comments here on the blog.
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