(The body of a tree. Photo by Robin. 2007)
Here in this body are the sacred rivers: here are the sun and moon as well as all the pilgrimage places … I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.~ Saraha
As I slowly approach the age 0f 50 (the turn of the decade occurs in December 2008), I find myself finally (FINALLY!) beginning to feel comfortable in my body. But lately I’ve felt more than comfortable. I’m actually enjoying myself.
I thought, at first, this was a brand new feeling, one I’ve never had before. But then it occurred to me that I must have felt this way as a child. Happy, joyful, glad to be in my own skin.
I haven’t had plastic surgery. I haven’t lost a lot of the weight I need to shed. I still have the aches and pains that come with getting older, various parts beginning to feel a lifetime of usage. I still have to take care with my back injuries.
Perhaps that’s it. The back injuries. The call to action. The decision to honor and care for my body as I wish I had been doing all along.
It’s interesting how life set up this series of coincidences. There have been quieter wake-up calls that I’ve ignored over the past few years. Then I got hit hard with the back problems and being unable to walk. What’s interesting, and coincidental, is that if we’d stayed in the Bogs, hadn’t gone on a sabbatical adventure, I’m not sure I’d have pulled myself out of the dark pit of pain. Well, maybe. Eventually. But the move to a new town with new things to explore forced me to do something while I waited for our insurance to kick in.
My waiting wasn’t passive as it might have been at home. It was an active waiting. A waiting in which I went faithfully to the gym every morning, even when I couldn’t do more than hang on to the rails of the treadmill and shuffle along at 1 mph. Even when all I could do was sit on the bench of the weight machine and hang there, in a kind of sitting traction. Some days the better part of the workout was just getting to the gym. Walking down the hallways, riding down in the elevator, walking down more hallways, opening doors. Those simple acts, things we all take for granted, were often all that I could manage. Sometimes more than I thought I could manage, making me push myself beyond what I perceived to be my limits, limits enforced by pain or by my own thinking.
Then one day I was able to pull down the bar of the lat pulldown machine. I discovered that walking uphill was less painful than a level or downhill course.
I was moving. I was doing. I was being.
I’ve lost a few inches. Weight/strength training will do that to a body. I’ve also lost about 10 lbs. But it’s not the loss of weight or inches that has me enjoying the feel and look of my body.
The change occurred within my soul or spirit or mind or whatever you want to call it.
I sat with my pain, listening to it, encouraging it to tell me what I needed to do next. I learned from it.
And now, now I’m discovering the awesomeness of the human body. The way it can bounce back, if given even half a chance, some nurturing, and some love. The way it can somehow work around the injuries, heal around them in such a way that it’s possible to start feeling normal again.
Cool beans. 🙂