This is the post in which a very depressed state of being gets more deeply accepted and channeled into a place of compassion. I hope.
Physically speaking, my body is not in a very good place. Scoliosis leads to lots of chronic conditions and major spinal fusions leave you very few corrective options. I’m recently dealing with increased nerve impingement and degeneration and just learned of an increased risk for osteoporosis. All of this has made it difficult for me to play, hoop, or sleep comfortably; to sit, stand or walk for too long.
Being very much a “fixer” and an avid learner/researcher, it’s been incredibly frustrating to find so few solutions to the problem. (Exercise, yoga, chiropractic…even massage has caused problems.)
There have only been two things that have made a significant impact on both pain and energy:
- Gluten-free foods
- Grass-fed meat and dairy
The first is not easy to stick to on the road. The second can be difficult to find; we’ve used sites like LocalHarvest.org and farmer’s markets but with less luck than we hoped.
But it dawned on me recently that if I’m not careful, and maybe even if I am, I’m going to end up in a wheelchair within a decade or two. Needless to say, such a thought is enough to knock you down a bit. I spent several days in a serious depression while I processed and talked through my fears and struggles.
Love my body. Love where I live. Love what is. It sounds like unschooling. I could unschool my body.
Wait. Unschool my body? What would that look like?
If I were going to unschool my body…
I would make lots of cool stuff available to it (gear and hikes and massages).
I would spend time with it.
I would have fun with it and do things it enjoys.
I would enjoy it.
I would provide it with a fun and colorful variety of foods.
I would feel good about it.
I would feel good.
I would not disparage it.
I would not feel ashamed of it.
I would not compare it to other bodies in negative ways.
I would not abuse it.
And I absolutely would not let society or any individual tell me what it should be.
I got to thinking about this, about treating my body with compassion, treating it as I would treat my child, with compassion and trust. Instead of focusing on or pushing it towards what I want it to be, simply loving it for what it is…
What might that look like for me?
- I would regularly point out its strengths.
- I would show my appreciation for its abilities.
- I would view its pain with loving compassion.
- I would actively and insistently seek out the foods it needs.
- I would be gentle and not push it to do things.
- I would slow down to its pace.
- I would find things that made it feel good.
- I would spoil it with love.
- I would smile when I see it.
- I would seek out activities it would enjoy.
- I would listen intently to it.
- I would accept it and love it unconditionally.
- I would validate it and the other people it affects (like my son and husband) without making anyone wrong.
Can I do this? Can I love myself and my body with the same unconditional love and acceptance, giving it everything it needs without excuses or resentment?
Ronnie’s words have been my guidance over the past week as I make my way toward a more authentic relationship with my body, one that is aligned with the way in which we choose to live with each other. Just like our family relationships, there have been less than authentic moments. There have been times of frustration, and even downright body neglect.
But there have also been successes: a new pillow has made for a very happy neck in the morning, almost no gluten has decreased my low back and knee pain substantially, more water has left me with more energy. I was even able to share in the water park fun yesterday while still honoring my bodies limits. And my dear sweet hubby has been instrumental in making sure I’m taking care of me.
But mostly, I’ve been changing my perspective.
I’ve reminded myself that whatever may happen down the road, I need to live fully and authentically in this moment right now. I can’t fully control what the future holds or what this body may be capable of, but I can fully live without regret. I can enjoy everything it will allow me until that’s no longer an option.
Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. ~Montaigne