My Body and I
In Othello, Shakespeare described our bodies as gardens, with our willpower as the gardener. The verse perfectly describes what’s been on my mind for this second blog post – wellbeing. In a holistic way. So, it’s not just about what I choose to eat, or how much I exercise to stay fit. It’s a deeper domain because it’s about how I choose to live my life and what I immerse myself in; it’s the quality of my thoughts and feelings. And that shows up – physically. Our bodies are a living expression of who we are, what we believe, where we come from and how we feel. We are embodied human beings with a heart-mind-body coherence. Take a moment to reflect on that. How often do you pay attention to what’s emerging from your body? How often do you acknowledge your cares and concerns? Constantly simmering in anxiety, fear, self-doubt, stress, resentment, chronic fatigue and unhappiness will cook your body till it breaks down bit by bit. If you doubt that, look around you; look at yourself. Our physical selves mirror the pain we choose to suffer through. Is it any wonder that we see bodies burnt out by illness, exhaustion and depression? I once told a friend a few months ago that I am my skin. The phrase stayed with me as a powerful expression of being. It can’t be faked can it? So the next time you say I’m okay – how honest are you really being with yourself? For me, listening to my body is a new awareness. And no, I don’t always get it right. Too many years of being too hard on myself takes its toll – so learning to rest is a huge challenge. Guilt comes in the way. So does the busyness bug. It’s often hard to push all that away and just be. Meditation and yoga help me a great deal to stay centered and aware of my choices. So I feel helpless when I watch people I love around me choosing to quickly ‘fix’ their bodies with painkillers, assorted pills and surgery. Choosing to ignore or deny that what’s happening in their lives contributes to their physical wellbeing or lack of it. The price we’re not prepared to pay is losing control of our emotions, looking small in someone else’s eyes, saying no, or God forbid, showing we’re weak. No, it’s better to suffer. Is it? Really? Earlier this year, I lost a beloved uncle who was only 50 years old. He suffered years of obesity, out-of-control diabetes, kidney failure, depression and low self-worth along with a host of other ailments. He lived in denial, spent 15 years on painkillers and towards the end, gave up on life. We were so devastated because it felt so unnecessary. In many ways, this post is for him. What would your life be like if you were gentler on yourself? What’s your body trying to tell you that you need? Only you can take responsibility for that. Is it so hard to show yourself the kindness and care that you show others in your life? And no, it’s never too late to start. Somatic (Soma in Greek means body and wholeness) wisdom will open possibilities if you only pay attention.