The salt in the sea, my sweat, and my tears can heal almost anything. There must be an ocean in me.

My bones hold their breath for the crack of thunder in a storm. There must be lightning in me.

My feet seek winding paths, and my legs ache to run. There must be a journey in me.

My ears remember the sound from the center of an orchestra, and my eyes rejoice with tears. There must be music in me.

I know the pleading of starvation, the pull of thirst, and the insistence of desire and doubt, just as I know the soaring of joy and lightness of hope.

I know that fear seeks control but needs freedom, anger seeks revenge but longs for understanding, and sorrow asks to be filled but needs to trust in openness. I know that love thrives in the spirit of giving.

I know because my body told me.

She taught me how to look beyond what my eyes can see and listen more deeply than what my ears can hear.

My body taught me that strength is soft, not hard, growth is inspired, not forced, and that how you feel while doing is just as important as how you hope to feel when you’re done. @ralph_leslie (Click to Tweet!)

My body showed me that there’s a life force within me, carrying me forward always. She told me that everything is a process (and progress).

My body taught me that I can trust her to be there through all the little moments, experiencing them, registering them, picking up the pieces and storing them away. She remembers where we’ve been, how to recover, how to rest, and how to stretch. In every moment, she’s telling me what I need to know. And I’ve argued with her the whole way.

I’ve mistreated and abused her. I’ve criticized her and questioned her value. I’ve tried to shrink her. Ignore her. Sculpt her into something more compatible with someone else’s standards.

But she told me about that, too. 

My body taught me about my ego’s desire for control and approval and how afraid it really is. She told me that it’s easy to get caught up in what’s outside of me hoping it will change how I feel inside. And she reminded me of the value of experiencing. And presence. And being moved.

She told me that she won’t stop telling me, come what may.

She said that when I’m ready to listen, I need only breathe and there, I will find her steady voice.

So, I’m breathing.

Inhale, find her. Exhale, come home.

Inhale, listen. Exhale, believe.

Inhale, experience. Exhale, unfold.

Breathing reminds me of who I am. There must be a sky in me. I know, because my body told me. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Leslie Ralph is a psychologist, writer, and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it.  Her people are creative, sensitive spirits who crave love and peace, inside and out. Leslie is the author of There, I Might Find Peace: Poetry and Prose, Mantras and Meditations for Peace, Love, and Strength. Download her free gift, a ritual for receiving, a daily ritual for bringing more love and light, clarity and confidence, meaning and connection to your life. You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Chris Jarvis.