Making Time for our Bodies

The other day while I was having a conversation with a dear friend she expressed some frustration about how her new self-care routine is quite time consuming. She just came through a year-long health crisis that has left her in need of restoration and rebuilding. She recently found an adept herbalist and was given a routine that requires her to prepare and boil a number of different herbs and drink them throughout the day.

She said that she’s never had to devote so much time to maintaining her health before and she strained against the idea of keeping it up for long.

This resistance to having to spend sooooo much time taking care of ourselves is a pretty common issue.

During the years I was health coaching, almost all of my clients struggled with this issue in one way or another. Something about their bodily health brought them to me in need of healing. Each of them was suffering in some way and desperately wanted relief. But when the remedy involved spending time, attention and energy they almost all groaned as they were confronted with the simple truth that…

…there are no silver bullets or instant pills for authentic longterm holistic health.

When I recommended they drink more water, they complained about how inconvenient it was going to be to have to pee all the time. When the recommendations had to do with supplements, making time to take them and remembering every day was always a hurdle to get over. And don’t get me started on cooking whole foods from scratch, soaking beans and grains and ditching the processed foods.

It is astonishing the amount of resistance so many of us have to cooking for ourselves!!

 ** personal caveat: I should clearly note here that, even though I am often the one advocating for self-care, I also really struggle with frustration, resentment and resistance to spending time and energy on taking care of my body in some ways. Any of the advice I give to my clients and friends, or write in these articles, is for me as much as it is for them.**

When I shared some of my thoughts on this topic with my friend she asked me if I had written about this and said she wished she could gave captured what I said.

So, this article is for her and all of the rest of us (including me) who need a reminder of what an outrageous blessing and privilege it is to be a living human being on planet earth with a body that we get to take care of.

First thing, first…

Our bodies are not some separate thing that ‘we’ have to deal with.

‘We’ are not separate from our bodies. We are not disembodied personalities, thinkers, feelers or projections of ideas. We are beings. Embodied beings. Everything we experience in this life is experienced through our bodies. Every thought and every emotion is a product of our biochemistry, genetics, epigenetics, sensory perception, etc. All of that occurs through – and because of – the body.

Our bodies are exquisitely sophisticated sensory instruments

They are not mechanical vehicles meant only to serve our mental agendas. They are complex and brilliant, extremely sensitive instruments delicately tuned to the channel of the Divine life force energy that moves, communicates, expresses itself and experiences itself through them.

Our bodies are of the Earth, made from the Earth, expressions of Earth.

Many sacred traditions believe that it is an enormous blessing to be manifest into a human body on planet Earth; that there is something uniquely special about this opportunity. I feel that so deeply. The Earth is so outrageously magnificent, diverse and powerful, life giving and magical. We are made of the same substance from which She is made. We are made of earth, water, fire and air; fiber, mineral and matter; all the glorious mediums of LIFE.

Each one of our bodies is a piece of the Earth herself. Loving and caring for our sacred bodies is an important way to love and care for our Mother Earth.

Our bodies are intelligent and connected directly with nature.

Our human bodies have evolved along with the natural living world and are designed to function gracefully within its parameters. If you listen to your body, really listen, it will guide you towards wellbeing and right relation with the natural world. What foods should we be eating? When should we rest? How fast should we travel? Your body knows…it’s really smart.

“If we carry intergenerational trauma (and we do) then we also carry intergenerational wisdom. It’s in our genes and in our DNA.”

– Kazu Haga, founder and coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy

Our bodies deliver important and powerful messages

When sickness, injury or other trials of the flesh come into our lives they are often invitations for us to slow down and reconnect with our bodies. In our modern world it is all too easy to get carried away in abstract thought, running on full speed to accomplish or acquire things outside of ourselves. We can spend our whole lives running away from our bodies. But we never will get very far because, as mentioned above, we aren’t separate from them. We are, and will always be, embodied, throughout our precious lives on this planet. So, when we get carried away, our bodies will call our attention back to them…to breathe and digest and heal…to realign. 

Unfortunately, this is a lesson many of us take a long time to learn and one that our systems of western medicine and modern science do not support. I have seen far too many people in grave suffering because their bodies had been trying to get their attention for decades while their doctors kept prescribing pills to them or removing organs from them.

Our bodies are not an inconvenience

Well, maybe they are in some ways…but, if so, then I suggest we challenge our notions of and obsession with “convenience”!

Our entire modern, industrialized, patriarchal, oppressive, extractive, polluting society is driven by the intense craving for convenience that has been planted in our psyches and to which we have been conditioned for countless generations. It is insane!

For us to feel annoyed by our bodily needs or to feel that caring for them is a waste of time is a symptom of this profoundly harmful conditioning. Spending the time and energy procuring and cooking our food, developing relationships with our food and medicine plants, using our muscles and putting the work into our sustenance actually keeps us healthy and sane. In a way, it is more convenient to do the work to care for yourself as you age, because it keeps you in tune with your body and its needs along the way, thus preventing many possible inconvenient illnesses, drastically improving your quality of life and keeping you connected to yourself.

So, let’s celebrate our bodies!!

Just the way they are. With all their needs. With all the messages they have for us. And all the access they provide to the magical and magnificent Sacred Web of Life to which we all belong!

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