About that: I've been adjusting and readjusting - both house and heart - to this empty nest thing. And then I began daily visits to my mother to help her adjust (to being temporarily left-handed) due to her gardening accident (4 broken fingers and a broken wrist - who knew gardening could be so dangerous!?!).
I was encouraged to just jump back in by one of Victoria Brouhard's posts, called: When the Thing Becomes Too Important - ever so worth jumping over to read!! (psst: I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Victoria the other day, and you are going to LOVE reading this interview - more on that soon).
And then I received a note from Fumbling for Words blogger, Heather Platt, with a fantastic Body-Part Wednesday-type post attached (I'd asked her to write something for us on body). So here I am - back in the saddle and ready to blog again AND I get to start the easy way, introducing someone else's words.
So here we go - Here's a post that both extols body relationship/body love and gives a whopping fine example of how to (build a body relationship and get yourself some body love). Please enjoy:
by Heather Platt
I’m not a big fan of personal hygiene.
No, that doesn’t mean that I’m the kind of person you wouldn’t want to sit next to on a bus – I shower regularly and almost always smell clean. It just means that I’m not a big fan of the steps it takes to clean myself off, make myself presentable, and make sure the accumulated gunk on my teeth doesn’t cause cavities. I treat it all like a necessary evil – rushing through it mindlessly, eager to get to whatever comes after the washing and brushing and filing and trimming.
Not long ago, I had a significant a-ha moment when I read Laraine Herring (in “Writing begins with the Breath") talk about how she had separated herself from her body and let her mind be her only guide and definition of herself. The same words could be said of me. My body was little more than a neglected vehicle whose purpose was to transport my mind where it needed to be.
There was a disconnect there, and in the weeks after reading Herring’s words, I had a dawning realization that if I wanted to live my best, healthy life, I had to find a way to reconnect with my body.
I started to think of my body as a separate entity – someone who needed to be welcomed back into my life. It started with a little morning practice in which I said “dear body, what can I do for you today?” After saying those words, I would do my best to listen to what my body asks for – food, rest, play, exercise, stretching, etc. The hardest thing has been learning to listen to when she says “that’s ENOUGH food for now,” but I’m getting better at it.
One day it occurred to me that rushing through my morning and evening hygiene routine was part of the way I was disconnecting from my body. I wasn’t honouring it in the way that it deserved to be honoured – I was simply hosing it off like you would a car or a dirty sidewalk.
One morning, after an energizing bike ride, I stepped into the shower and looked down my beautiful body dripping with water. In that moment I began to marvel at the way this strong body had managed to propel me on my bicycle for 11 kilometres (that’s 6.8 miles).
As I began to lather up, I whispered a little thank you to each part of my body as I washed it. “Thank you legs for sharing your strong energy on the bike today. Thank you hair for adorning me and giving me personality. Thank you face for the way you smile at friends and make them feel comfortable. Thank you belly for carrying my babies and for digesting my food. Thank you breasts for sharing life-giving milk with my little ones and for giving my husband and me pleasure.” And in the end… “Thank you God for creating and living in this beautiful body, your temple.”
I don’t expect my relationship with my body to dramatically change overnight (it’s taken me 44 years to get here – I expect it will take some time to undo those old habits), but this is one step I’m willing to take to change the future.
I’m delighted to report that my body is more than happy to be welcomed back!
Heather is celebrating her birthday this week and she's invited US to celebrate (and participate) with her at a bra-burning (which is really about hindrance-burning - though there's a real bra involved at Heather's party - go read!).
Two earlier posts on Heather's blog, Fumbling for Words, talk more about body experiences: there's one where she talks about an a-ha moment and another where she wrote an "Ode to my 40 year old body".
*The gentle, relational way that Heather talks about her body - and re-connecting to her body - resonates with the ideas, stories and adventures in our body-mindfulness/body-image recording, Choosing Me! If you'd like encouragement on your journey to befriending YOUR body, please check it out!