Your magical body is the home of your soul, the conduit you chose to explore this thing called life. It’s a masterpiece!
It may not feel immediately easy to access body-love when you wake up every day and see the fifteen pounds that weren’t there last year, or the scars and stretch marks that ‘mar’ your skin.
How can you love your body when the images you see every day portray a version of beauty that doesn’t describe your unique fabulousness?
It may feel challenging or even impossible to reach a state of love for your body if you’ve experienced shame, abuse or bullying for the way you look or move.
So, what’s the best advice I can give? Start where you are.
Your body is an incredible combination of systems that work interdependently to keep you alive, moving and engaging with the world around you. In every moment, every thought and every action there are numerous processes involved that you don’t even have to think about. It’s easy to take your body for granted, but if you bring your focus to a seemingly small act your body performs daily, you’ll be reminded of its magic. Everything about your body’s functioning is a miracle of nature.
Take the act of eating: your mouth chews; your stomach breaks down the nutrients and works with the other organs to move them around your body, providing you with what you need to function; then your organs decide what’s waste and what isn’t; and your body rids itself of anything it doesn’t need and keeps the rest. Amazing!
Eating may at first seem like a small, boring, daily task that just has to be done, but it’s akin to a beautifully orchestrated symphony of multiple ecosystems doing their thing. Miraculous! Think about all the other seemingly small acts your body performs for you each and every day and trace the process from start to finish. Celebrate the small stuff, because as the saying goes, it’s ALL small stuff.
Then there’s he BIG picture view. What incredible, adventurous, gargantuan tasks have you asked your body to do? Have you scaled a rock-face, written a book or had a baby? Have you survived a near-death experience, played extreme sports or taken a pilgrimage?
All of these are huge accomplishments that your body agreed to do with/for you, once you chose to commit to them. Think of your body as a willing, divine dance partner in all of life’s waltzes. Without assistance from your hands and feet, you couldn’t scale a cliff. Without the help of your womb, you couldn’t host a baby for nine months.
Instead of thinking of your body as a tool to accommodate your wishes, think of it as a sacred container to house and gestate your dreams. Think of it as a miraculous gift that provides you with opportunities to taste life more deeply. As you push it to its limits, consider the factors at play that are contributing to this magical moment.
You are endowed with 5 incredible (physical) senses that connect you to the world in a multitude of ways. Think about the pleasure each of those senses provides for you daily, from moment to moment. The delectable taste of a lover’s kiss; the sound of a friend’s laughter; the smell of freshly-cut grass; your incredibly wise and sensitive body notices all of these things. It guides you to the things you enjoy and away from the things you don’t.
Your body is covered with skin filled with nerve endings that tell you when something is too hot to touch, or just the right temperature to drink. Your nose warns you when there are toxins in the air, and steers you to scents that light your heart.
There are hundreds of ways you could overlook the moment-to-moment subtleties at play, so bringing conscious awareness to these functions and experiences starts you on the road to gratitude and love for your body. Next time you smell a rose, thank your body for the privilege. My Dad grew up without a sense of smell; sometimes it takes seeing someone without something we take for granted to really appreciate it. Commit instead to appreciating it now.
Consider, too, all you’ve survived. What is a scar if not a healed wound; a miracle in itself? Your body has an immense capacity for healing, for loving, for receiving, for giving…
It can be easy to take this for granted, or to look negatively on your scars or blemishes as imperfections. They’re reminders of a life well-lived, of wisdom gained, of risks taken, and of a miraculous body that’s been with you through it all.
Scars are part of the tapestry of life, and part of what make you so uniquely, perfectly you. They map out the events that contributed to your being who and where you are now. Allow them to show you the truth of your beauty as a whole being, warts (and scars) and all.
This brings to mind the beautiful practice of kintsukuroi in Japan, which is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver. The idea is is that it is considered even more beautiful and valuable since its breakage, even because of its breakage. What a fabulous idea! Turn your scars into veins of gold that tell a beautiful story about the life you and your body have lived.
Make a note each day of how consciously you connect with the world around you, through your body. Do you sit still and allow yourself to feel and sense whatever is going on around you and within you? Do you watch your hands pick something up and examine its surface, using your fingers as a guide?
Being with your body means dropping out of your mind and into your body, to feel the pain, joy, love and darkness that arise as you go through your days.
Embody the truth of your experience in every sense of the world. Walk with awareness. Eat mindfully. Laugh consciously. Write down your observations, as an anthropologist might. Every moment spent in a state of conscious connection to the shell you inhabit brings you closer to loving it.
Your body wants you to engage with life, using it as a conduit for experiencing. What a gift! To honor that gift, use it, be with it, and love every minute of it.
* I am the author of this post. You may find the original version, which was used with my permission without attribution, on Your Earth Angel (yourearthangel.com) *