How to Love Your Body II
“And I said to my body, softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath. And replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this”
- Nayyirah Waheed
In June 2021 we wrote an article about how to love your body. We focussed on the amazing ways in which the body communicates with us and its unrelenting capacity for serving us throughout life.
In our book ‘How to Rise’ we included a meditative tool for speaking and listening to the body which is designed to improve our relationship with it and invoke gratitude for the astonishing ways that it assists us on our life path.
In her audiobook ‘The Joyous Body’ Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes speaks of the body as our oldest and most loyal consort. It is born with us and stays the course right through until our death. Our heart beats for us. Our lungs fill with air. When we are injured, we heal. When we are attacked, we are protected. This was the inspiration for our original article and the tool that followed.
The audiobook ‘the Power Path Training’ by Jose Luis Stevens PhD and Lena Stevens goes still further into exploring our relationship with the body with practical, shamanic exercises where all of its parts are acknowledged and celebrated.
In the text of ‘Power Path ‘Training,’ the authors seek to impress upon their readers that the body is constantly taking instruction from its inhabitant. That if we do not build a good conscious relationship with it, the body will take instruction from our unconscious processes – the most damaging of these being our negative thought patterns, emotions and behaviours which are rooted in fear and survival.
This kind of exploration puts us on notice to wake up to what is going on with us and introduce conscious choice into our cognitive cycles – we can choose what we think, to process our emotions appropriately and to select nourishing behaviours which manifest positive outcomes.
We can choose to give our body conscious nurturing instructions and the fertile environment that it needs to serve us during a long and happy life – beginning as always, with authentic gratitude.
The authors ‘Power Path Training’ also point out that the body is a mammal. It is a warm blooded, breathing creature. It possesses all the characteristics of every other mammal such as having four limbs and hair or fur, lactating and give birth to live young.
This mammalian body is tasked with the role of keeping us physically well so that we can function, maintaining all levels of every substance required within very specific parameters. Everything is kept constant. Our temperature. Our fluid levels. It keeps us nourished with absorption of the right food and it eliminates waste. It defends us when we are attacked by pathogens. It tells us with pain where there is damage to be wary of. When we are too warm or cold. When we are tired. When we have done too much or too little of something. This is done without us having to consciously think about it at all.
We do not think our emotions – we feel them in our body. Our interpretation of and thoughts about events alter our body chemistry and our body signals to us that we feel a certain way with subtle changes in sensations that we can name as rage, joy, anger, love, irritation, disappointment, despair and exhilaration amongst others. Emotions are essential for helping us to process situations and the body gifts us with a colourful array of information for exactly that purpose. When something does not feel right on either a physical or emotional level, the body is the first to let us know. A pricking on the skin. A churning in the gut. A tightening of the throat or chest. Sometimes we ignore it only to find later that it was truth.
You could think of your body as a loyal friend or beloved pet, but one who was sent to the planet with the sole purpose of serving you! Upon first meeting such a being, what would you say? Thank you? I am honoured? You are perfect? I am blessed?
Think of your body as a beloved creature – of flesh and bone, with needs of sustenance and comfort and for whom you are solely responsible.
This is a being who has been sent to you, with the single purpose of accompanying you throughout the whole of your life from the beginning to the end. Not only is it your loyal companion but it is here to serve you and only you.
Offer up gratitude for this incredible gift!
What would you do for a cherished mammal who’s only purpose was to serve you?
Would you give it only the best and tastiest food for its health and pleasure, but not overfeed it with treats that are advisable in small doses?
Would you hug or stroke it and tell it daily how much you loved and appreciated it?
Would you thank it for being there?
Would you tell it emphatically that it was beautiful exactly as it was, without criticism or complaint?
If there was pain, would you acknowledge it, seek the wisest counsel, and soothe it with healing balms and nurturing massage?
If it was tired, would you encourage rest?
Would you give it plenty of fresh air and water?
Would you provide a safe and comfortable place for it to have regular and undisturbed and blissful sleep?
Would you set clear boundaries with others around overwhelm and inappropriate attention.
Would you train it and make demands of it, pushing it to healthy limits for the purpose of fitness.
Would you take it for stimulating and pleasant walks?
Would you give clear, uncontaminated instructions and acknowledge with gratitude when they were followed?
Would you listen carefully to the information it gave you?
Would you let it know that you were listening?
Would you constantly seek to discover what it needed?
Would you take it to the woods? The beach? Would you encourage it to run wild on the sand
and swim in the sea?
Would you set a perfect balance between work and play? Freedom and boundaries? Would you seek to create contentment for the one who has done so much for you?
Will you do these things for your body?
Your body is your oldest and most loyal friend.
Seek to give it what it needs to fully thrive and reap the rewards of nourishment, understanding, contentment, perfect relationship, connection, and a full and happy life.
For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your
human experience see our book: