“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
I trust that the body knows everything. It does. Absolutely.
Did you ever just get a feeling—maybe something in your body that tells you something is wrong or just not right? Or maybe it gives you hints of unfailing happiness, joy, and earth shattering love?
If we would stop giving so much power to the mind, the ego, and just sat still and tapped into our body’s wisdom, we’d experience a healing power so great that it could prevent or reverse illness, disease, hate, self-loathing, and perfectionism.
I’ve learned to listen closely to my lovely friend, my body. In the past I judged her, forced away any pain she tried to show me, and even shunned self-love. I used to beat her up with negativity, judgment, and ridicule.
I wish I could take back all that abuse. My body didn’t deserve all the mean words, hurtful thoughts, and even constant manipulation with unhealthy diets and exercise.
You see, I had an eating disorder.
It’s hard to talk about, but I’ve learned that it is just a part of me—it’s in my cells, and my body remembers.
I respect this and am able to let go and speak of my experience. This has taken a long time, however, but each time I bring up the truth, my body gives me a gentle squeeze and trust is deepened.
I’m not sure how my issues with food started, but I would bet it happened sometime in childhood.
When I was eight years old, someone I loved dearly told me that I was fat. I remember I was wearing my yellow cowgirl dance outfit (as I had a recital that day) when it happened. I was crushed.
I stopped eating.
I can remember writing down each item of food in a journal. I only allowed five things a day, such as one piece of toast or one stick of bubblegum.
Of course I was growing and I was constantly starving, therefore, I’d inevitably take a trip to McDonalds at the end of the day. I would feel defeated, then resentful of my body, telling her to listen and not eat so much. This went on for years.
When I got older, I tried every diet in the book, and after having my babies, things got worse. I constantly exercised, and I didn’t eat (or pretended to eat) in front of my kids. I avoided anything with sugar or carbs, so that means my lips didn’t even touch fruit.
I knew I had to get help. I didn’t want my daughter to see this. She was watching me. I didn’t want anyone to feel the pain I knew, especially my own child.
While my body kept trying to talk to me, giving me signs of exhaustion, my mind was taking over.
It wasn’t until I met with a counselor and joined a group when things started to click. I was the only one in the group who was anorexic. Everyone else was bulimic. I thought, “This doesn’t make sense…I don’t understand why they do what they do, and they don’t understand me. How can we help each other?”
We became a very close group. During our sessions, I realized we all had one thing in common: perfectionism. Our minds didn’t connect with our bodies. Our minds didn’t listen to our bodies. Our minds wanted to take charge, leading us toward the dark.
Over time I learned ways to tell my mind to “hush” and formed a bond with my body. I began to trust my body and let her take charge. My body led me toward the light. It was an awakening. I wasn’t fully living my life, and little by little, I started to breathe—to wake up.
I became more in tune with how food, meditation, and positive self-talk influenced my energetic being. I got closer to my body and let go. I let go of that perfectionism.
I let my body take care of me, keep me healthy, keep me dreaming of big wonderful things, and keep me on the road to healing. I’ve learned to love her and to listen very closely for guidance. She knows a lot. In fact, she knows everything about me.
Here are three ways to treat your body with care and to awaken your connection:
1. Listen to your body.
I mean really listen with your heart. If you are faced with making a choice, feel your body. Do you tense up? Or smile? Or feel at ease? So many times I fall into the unconscious trap and let my mind run the show of life.
When I look back at times when I had to make decisions, I see my body was giving me the answers, guiding me. Practice being still, breathing, and taking note of what your body is trying to tell you.
2. Replace the negative with the positive.
This is the part where you develop trust. Many people (in fact, I bet every human on earth) think all sorts of not-so-nice things about their bodies, but there is a way to practice self-love and care by actually switching gears.
For example, if you say to yourself, “I can’t put on that bathing suit; my butt is too big,” the first thing to do is say (out loud), “Stop!”
Acknowledge the feeling, but say a thank you and replace the self-criticism with something gentle, loving, without judgment. This takes a lot of time, but slowly and surely your mind won’t take you to those dark places as often.
3. Take action.
Move your body by taking a walk, riding your bike, or even going surfing. Any way you can get out in nature and move will help you experience how magical your body is. It breathes for you, pumps blood without you knowing, just to keep you alive.
Use your five senses to take in your life—to connect to your body.
I woke up to my life. I now celebrate my body—her beauty, strength, and power. I look at her with compassion and gentleness. I am beautiful inside and out. I trust her.
My body, my trust. If I could pick only one thing in the world to trust, my body would win. Completely.
Treat your precious body with lots of care. Listen, connect, and trust.
Photo by Mike Baird