A couple months ago I got very, very sick.
It was the kind of sick where you walk around the house muttering to yourself, “I am soooo sick,” because you are so sick you are afraid you will forget how sick you are and attempt to do something stupid (like go to make tea and accidentally burn the house down instead).
I was so sick that even the tiniest, simplest daily tasks felt monumental.
Get out of bed. Whew. Check.
Brush teeth. Give me a minute on this one.
Shower. Not gonna happen.
Get back in bed. Whew. Check.
Making meals, brushing hair, changing clothes, answering emails (lucidly), applying deodorant….mostly, these things had to wait.
And in the couple of weeks it took to begin to heal, I found myself meditating daily on what a big responsibility it is to have a body to take care of!
At which point I then found myself wondering who had decided I was ready for such a big responsibility, how they decided, and what tests I had to pass before they decided.
Judging from the way I cared for my body in the first couple of decades I had it, I don’t think I had to pass any tests. I also don’t think I got my body through any of the ‘official’ channels.
I was a terrible caretaker.
Oh, my body looked okay (mostly) on the outside – I showered, moisturized, fixed my hair, wore appropriate outfits on appropriate occasions.
But on the inside, everything was a mess.
I was hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and most of all confused about how it was all supposed to work, anyway.
I also felt continually bombarded by conflicting advice on how to care for a human body.
Some advice seemed to suggest making it smaller (no matter what) – other advice leaned more towards cosmetic enhancements (and even expensive alterations, if necessary).
Still other advice emphasized keeping it very, very fit….oh so fit.
But each piece of advice also seemed to conflict with all the other pieces of advice (for instance, the “very, very fit” directive seemed to conflict with the “ever-smaller” directive, and so forth).
So I floundered for awhile….for a very long while.
Then I started my recovery journey, and began to learn about eating according to what my body needed (“intuitive eating”), sleeping when my body needed to rest, drinking when my body needed hydration, strengthening and toning when my body needed to stretch and burn off toxins, and so forth.
I started to feel a bit more competent in basic daily body care – but it took another nearly two decades to unlearn the wrong lessons I had memorized initially and replace those with other, more accurate and healthy lessons.
Today I am in my mid-40’s, and I still marvel every day when I get up and discover the body police are letting me keep mine for another day.
I feel like I have so much to learn that even another four decades of studying wouldn’t give me enough time to learn it all – and learn it well.
I also marvel in these moments at how forgiving the body is – at how many oopses I have made over the years, and how I have never felt a moment’s judgment, condescension, anger, or shame emanating from it towards me.
It is a very compassionate and patient mentor – my body. Thank goodness.
Today’s Takeaway: Do you ever think to yourself, “Oh my goodness, my body needs so much care and attention from me! I am running out of time to get it all done!” Do you ever just sit and marvel at all the things you need to do for your body every day – wash it, nourish it, groom it, strengthen it, ease its pain, dress it, etc, etc, etc…..never mind learn to love it and cherish it (and enjoy looking at it in the mirror). I’d love to hear your thoughts!