Body Blog

Nov 28, 2018 by Renee Linnell
I had an epiphany about my body. I was reading Madisyn Taylor’s Unmedicated, and got to page 87, which she opens with, “Our bodies work hard for us, taking the physical abuse of poor eating habits and toxins from various sources. They take emotional abuse when we tell ourselves we are not good enough or we don’t like what we see in the mirror.” Suddenly I began sobbing.
All the different ways I have abused my body flashed through my mind: all the times I made myself lift weights that were too heavy, in order to build more muscle. All the times I over stretched or crammed my body into uncomfortable positions in order to show off in yoga class. All the huge waves I made myself surf, and the subsequent very hard and sometimes violent falls, in order to prove I was a good surfer. All the dangerous terrain I have snowboarded in order to keep up with the guys. I saw all the men I had forced myself to sleep with in order to feel liked or loved. I saw all the times I looked in the mirror and thought my thighs were fat or my belly was soft or my breasts were not large enough. I sobbed and sobbed on my sofa.
And then I made a declaration and a promise out-loud: “My dear dear body. My beautiful body that has carried my spirit on my Earth Walk for the last 44 years. I am so sorry. I have not seen you clearly. I have not treated you properly. I have not cherished you, or listened to you, or exalted you. That stops today. My promise is this: I will listen to you. I will honor you. I will exercise because it is nurturing; I will no longer do it in a way that causes harm. I will feed you the foods you request. I will give you proper amounts of water and rest. And I will cherish you. My hands, my beautiful hands, you amaze me. My feet, my beautiful feet, you amaze me. My legs and arms, my eyes and ears and mouth . . . you all are beautiful and you amaze me. My skin, I will moisturize you when you are dry. My muscles and ligaments and tendons, I will stretch you before bed each night. My hair, I will comb you more often. My body, my precious precious body . . . I will cherish and adore you, I will no longer criticize you. You are my most beloved gift and I will treat you as such.”

So, this lasted a day, and then I looked in the mirror as I undressed and found myself criticizing. I went to yoga and found myself upset I was “tight”, and I found myself paddling out in surf that was too big. But . . . gently, I reminded myself of my promise. And each day I get a little bit better at keeping it.