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I’m so, so sorry. It’s taken me years to realize that I’ve treated you badly.
I don’t just mean eating all that heavy, buttery, sugary food over the holidays. Nor am I talking about lazily sitting on the couch, avoiding any form of exercise.
Yes, those things are bad, and I’m sorry for allowing them. I know nutrition and exercise are important. But lapses in those areas aren’t my biggest violation towards you.
There’s something much worse that I’ve done to you.
It’s subtle. So it’s taken me a long time to realize and admit where I’ve done you wrong.
Sweet Body, I confess I haven’t trusted you. I’ve been a bad friend.
I mean, how about that job offer that I evaluated as “sexy,” while you nudged me with that queasy, uneasy stomach, trying to get me to look deeper at the frantic environment and hard-driving management? After the big company made their offer, I went to meet with more executives just to ensure a good choice. What happened in those interactions? You signaled me with tense shoulders that made me look and feel stiff. A dry throat and clenched jaw that made it hard to get a word out.
But how did I respond? I ignored the signs you were sending me. I was mesmerized by the money.
I suffered in that job. For years, I pushed and pushed to prove I could do all that analytical work. I wanted to show I could flex my brainiac muscle. So in the name of making myself big and important, I forced us to pull all-nighters, spend weekends crunching numbers, and live out of hotel rooms for months. Actually, I hated that job. Yet I refused to admit it. I could not bring myself to say, “I quit!” So finally, after two back-to-back weeks of working 100 hours, you finally got my attention by making me pass out from exhaustion in front of a group of clients while making a presentation. For over four years, I ignored the signs of a poor job fit that you’d been pointing out.
I held on to that job too tightly. When I had the chance to go on that amazing trip to Peru to see the ruins, you peppered me with buzzing and tingling all over to convey excitement. So what did I do? I defiantly demanded to stay home so I could work towards a promotion. One I never got. Why didn’t I just trust that sense that this was the trip of a lifetime, and figure out how to take it?
There was the time I opened my heart to a man who loved to run errands for me, cook for me, and indulge me with back massages. I’d never been so free from tension. My shoulders had never felt so relaxed and appropriately far from my ears. My belly was so pleasantly full, and my taste buds sang nightly. But I defiantly determined, “He doesn’t have a good degree. And he has a blue-collar job.” So I kicked him to the curb. And broke my own poor heart.
Afterwards, I strutted my stuff when I met a millionaire with a fancy sports car who wined and dined me. He constantly complimented me on my clothing, my figure. My new baubles and bracelets captured his attention. Yet when I’d share stories about family or friends, he’d tune out. If I told him about my dreams and wishes, he’d patronizingly reply, “That’s nice, sweetie.” I pushed down the stinging hurt that you sent my way. I never probed his behavior. Why? Well, I was too scared to lose him. Oh, how did I overlook or ignore my inner strength? Why didn’t I trust you to help me stand up for myself?
I failed to tune in to the migraines that you brought on during that courtship. My parents made a fairytale wedding for us, so I was baffled when my husband told me, on our wedding night, that he never wanted my parents so involved in our lives again. I hung in with him for a few years, trying to analyze the nasty names he called me or the ways he mocked my emotions, aloud and by deed, and essentially called me “worthless.” It wasn’t until he raised a hand to strike me that I suddenly sensed the steely grip of fear you washed over me. I finally realized it was time to leave the marriage.
Funny, but those headaches disappeared immediately after I left him.
Good friends listen to and trust each other. I haven’t done that with you.
Oh, Dear Body, I’ve ignored your nudges, your poking, your prodding.
I get it now: I need to listen to the very subtle ways you speak to me. I finally understand that you communicate through sensations. Like where I feel tension or expansion. Or whether my breath is shallow or deep in my chest and belly. Or whether I feel hot or cold. Now, I can notice the times I sense bubbling, tingling, tightness, openness, and so many other sensations you generate — and know you are trying to get my attention.
I’m beginning to understand something vital: When you have something to say, you tend to speak in whispers. But if I don’t catch your initial drift, you become more emphatic. Like the way you made me pass out so I could wake up. To hear you early on, I need to slow way down and get quiet enough to listen inside, and tune in to what you’re saying through senses. The longer I ignore you, the louder you scream. But it’s not nice for me to make you shout. Besides, if you reach that boiling point, I’m already deep in trouble.
So I’m intentionally learning to pay attention to you. I’m discovering your signs and signals, moment to moment.
I’m good at logic, at figuring things out.
But, you, Dear Body, you’re the expert on feeling things out. Like walking into a room and sensing the dominant mood. Or, much more importantly, turning inward and tuning in to the internal weather report for my current (and ever-shifting) emotional state.
I’m waking up to the aliveness, vitality and energy that’s “at my fingertips” when I remember to activate longer, deeper breathing. Now, when I ask you to help me stand up for myself, and we activate the muscles in the legs and belly — wow! I feel a surge of power and strength, both physical and emotional. It’s exciting to experience greater presence simply by tuning in to the sense of gravity you convey as my feet contact the ground. I adore your sensational abilities, sweet Body.
Body, I’m truly grateful to you. I’m done ignoring, overlooking and pushing your wisdom aside. I’m listening with appreciation now.
We work better so much when we’re a team. So you know what? I’m going to listen to you. And in important matters, like career, love, friendships and family, I’ll trust your guidance. Please help me sense what matters. You’re the compass. Show me where we’re heading. Once you point the way, I’ll take care of figuring out how to get where we’re going. And we’ll work together at navigating.
I’m deeply inspired to be on this sensational life voyage with you.
I love you,
P.S. — You know, I used to see us as separate. Like I lived in “The Mind” and you’re over there, as “The Body.” Sorry if I’m still prone to use those unnatural distinctions. I’m entwined with you. We’re one. I get it. Even if I forget sometimes.