Do you feel let down by your body when it fails to perform or look the way you want it to?
In response to our class this week aimed at helping us become more aware of the way we take care of our body, here are some further thoughts…
We often learn early on to dislike parts of our physicality due to comments from others, our own comparisons or as a result of injury or illness.
It’s easy to become detached from our body and experience feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger or betrayal towards it on a regular basis.
It’s easy to forget that our body is working constantly to support the life within despite everything we throw at it and push it through on a daily basis. Not only do we forget to feed and water it well, we see exercise often as something we should try and beat it into shape with, we constantly verbally criticize it and we develop a relationship that’s estranged from it.
Our mindfulness class this week has focused on reminder techniques to awaken us to the different approach of ‘kindness’. To notice with a simple and gentle curiosity this physical shell, how it feels to inhabit this space, sense it’s varying field of sensations as though for the first time. To notice our judgements of it and practice holding it kindly as opposed to critically and feeling the difference.
You might begin with an area you’ve always judged harshly and notice how alien it feels to tend to it with care and affection.
We can notice any aversion without judgement of ourselves and use it as a means to gently observe such feelings and little by little, practice each day a gentle‘reconciliation’ with caring gestures like touch, drinking more water, stretching and breathing, meditating and an exercise we enjoy.
If we’ve experienced illness, there’s often a ‘battle’ program involved for recovery. All the cancer slogans around ‘fighting’ and ‘beating’ the beast are prevalent and whilst initially this can be helpful in galvanizing action, many find in time that a less reflexive reactivity helps make wiser choices and hold a calmer approach to wellness and recovery.
This different approach doesn’t need to be seen as passive but instead works to open us up to a deeper healing where we can release that inner tension of ‘fighting’, which perpetuates illness and a feeling of unease in the body not only physically but emotionally too.
By inviting gentle and curious attention to ourselves without the harsh judgements, there’s always something we can notice and learn for creating a positive change for ourselves.
Taking a moment to sit with ourselves, thanking this body for the ride so far as opposed to beating it for having let us down yet again can go a long way to changing the way we speak to it and interact with it on a daily basis.
The poem ‘On The Arrival of Illness’ by John O’Donohue is a radical approach to the acceptance of ourselves under threat of disease in the body. The invitation of looking at, seeing and approaching ourselves and circumstances differently may be of interest to some.
In the meantime and in a lighter note, take a moment to pause…
*Look at and area of your body you don’t favour,
*Make gentle hand contact if possible and tell it you’re sorry,
*Draw to mind one thing it offers you that’s positive and just inwardly say ‘thanks for the ride so far’ .