By Maggie Lyon
It is astonishing what our bodies support, put up with, and do for us over the course of our lives.
Having a body is in fact a pretty cosmic, far out thing. It is also totally regular and basic at the same time. On some level, we all battle with our bodies at one point or another, evidenced by the high levels of body dissatisfaction and body-fixing efforts so prominent in the modern age.
I for one have struggled with my body my entire life. There have been allergic times when I’ve wanted a non-reactive body. There have been anorexic times when I’ve wanted to make it go away. There have been high-on-drugs times when I’ve wanted to completely escape it. There have been monstrously pimply times when I’ve actually wished my body would die. And there have been seriously sick times when I’ve felt like my body was my enemy. So yes, I have been through all kinds of stuff with my body, and my feelings about it have run the gamut from bitter hostility, crazy anger, utter mortification, and overwhelming fear of something bad happening yet again.
Quite wonderfully however, I have for years now been working on my relationship with my body, searching for answers about being inside it, and reaching for ways of reconciling with it. Finally, I discovered the answer . . .
The answer to living in peace with our bodies is through befriending and making every effort to truly inhabit them. In this inhabitation is where the healing happens, where we call our truces, and can finally free ourselves from the very human pain we’ve endured as a by-product of having physical bodies to negotiate with.
The other key to deeply accepting our bodies is in understanding that the body is incredibly responsive. It is equally important to learn to follow the body’s cues, and let go of needing to control it all the time. The body is remarkably communicative. When we pay attention and make ourselves receptive to what it is trying to tell us, important messages come through, at times demanding that we drastically change our lives, or at others only mildly nudging us to tweak them.
More than anything, I’ve grown intensely respectful of my body, and am continually mesmerized by its sheer power and willingness to call out, heal, triumph, and blossom through life’s curveballs.
Whatever your relationship to your precious body, here is a terrific exercise for befriending, inhabiting, and deeply loving it today!
Experience your body right now. Whatever you put your body through last night or last year holds no relevance in this moment. All that is happening is you treating your body with subtle and necessary respect, by simply paying conscious uncritical attention to it and feeling its amazing vitality, resilience, and awesome reliability.
Inhale and exhale attentively. You have no other job than to feel the sensation of the rise and fall of your breath. Breathing is such a simple, direct, and magical way to go into and experience your physicality. This present awareness alone is a revelatory act, where you drop out of judgment and drop into an open stance toward your body.
Bring yourself fully into this space to respect and listen to your body. Vow to be good to it, in how you choose to move, nourish, and rest it. And most importantly in how you choose to think about and talk to it. Next time you feel like going out on a bender or throwing your body awareness to the wind, remember this moment and return to your commitment.
Revel in sweetness that comes from paying attention and cherishing your physical body for the miracle that it is right now. Let yourself be filled with happiness and ease simply for honoring the gift of your unique, magnificent one.
Understand that your body is home to a naturally joyful internal landscape. It offers you the incredible opportunity to sink below the exterior into your core being, and to experience the profound, uplifting essence of you. From here, step out into your day more connected, positive, and in tune.
I’m sure you’ve seen the unbelievable glow in people you know who are profoundly connected with and in awe of their bodies, no matter what. This has little to do with hotness, beauty, or perfection. It is far more powerful, and much less surface. It’s like an unbelievable magnetic aura radiates out and makes them shine from head to toe.
Isn’t that proof enough of what befriending and loving our bodies can do? Isn’t that reason enough to accept, listen to, and unconditionally respect your own?
Maggie Lyon is a writer on wellness and spirituality, a motivational speaker, and a holistic lifestyle consultant. A practitioner of Zen Buddhism and Iyengar yoga for the past twenty years, Maggie is committed to guiding others on their individual quests to awaken to the sweetness in life. For more on Maggie, check out her blog LyonLifestyle.com or on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.
March 13, 2012