The Body is a Friend

On Sunday it occurred to me my body is my friend, not my enemy. For years I heard the expression, “The body is a temple,” but I never knew what it meant. It sounds so hokey. “The body is a temple.” Ok. Right. I’ll refrain from drugs and alcohol and make sure to eat my vegetables. Done. Except not done. Not only is it important what I put into my body but my attitude. For years my body and I have been locked in combat. I’ve tried to beat it into submission to give me rock hard abs and toned triceps. Not to mention clear skin and smooth hair.

For years I yelled at my body for everything: for being too flabby, for causing me pain, for not working the way I wanted it to. “Why can’t you just do what I want and look the way I want you to look?!?” I thought I had to beat up my body to show it who’s in charge. On Sunday it occurred to me I’ve been approaching this all wrong. My body is not an enemy to war with, but rather my closest ally. You see, it’s just responding to my cues. Packing on weight? It’s probably because I’m feeling afraid and want an extra layer of protection. Breaking out? It’s probably because my liver needs a good cleanse. Everything that happens in or to my body is a signal. A signal of what I’m doing. Of how I’m feeling. Even my sprained ankle comes down to direction. As in, moving in a new one. I sprained it and then two weeks later got the notice I was getting laid off. It’s like my body knew in advance I was about to start a new phase.

Everything is related. Everything is interconnected. My body is not separate from me. We are one and the same. It’s only doing its job. It’s not my body’s fault when I get a cold. It’s mine. “Fault” even is a little strong. It’s more like I did x, y, z and the repercussion is illness. Why did I get sick in the first place? Could it be because I’m overtired and craving a rest? Tada! My body orchestrates that.

On Sunday it occurred to me I need to start treating my body with respect. Not because it’s a sacred temple I enter every now and again to pay homage to the gods, but because it’s my best friend. It’s my closest companion. I love my body and so my body deserves to be treated with love. It deserves a good cleanse. It deserves rest. It deserves my attention. Instead of shouting over what my body is trying to convey, perhaps I can listen instead. What would that be like? Living in greater harmony with my body?

I dream of a world where we treat our physical selves with love. A world where we respect our bodies and treat them as friends. A world where we know our bodies are doing the best they can, following our lead. A world where we live in harmony with ourselves and each other.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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1 comment… add one
  • bethcrittenden Feb 24, 2011, 3:46 pm

    I couldn't agree more. My head used to want to decide what was "enough" good treatment for my body. Oh, I already saw the chiropractor recently, so I "shouldn't" need a massage, too. Well, where does the mind come up with those ideas? I can enjoy saying, "thanks for sharing" while I let go of the "rules" and then nourish this sweet container for my soul.

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