Fair warning, dear readers, today’s blog is about our bodies <big gasp!>… and stuff. Read on with great trepidation, for once you start you won’t want to stop, unless something better grabs your attention.
On my way home from work Friday night I started thinking about how there have been lots of times in my life where I’ve had something great, like the perfect outfit or the world’s most relaxing massage, and then when it was gone or over I missed it and wished I’d appreciated it more when I had it.
It occurred to me that there may come a time when I will wish I had spent time appreciating the body that I have. That’s right, I’m talking about my human, physical form. I’m young and healthy and when I’m older or, depending on what you believe comes after life, when I’m dead, I may wish that I’d spend time really enjoying and appreciating what it feels like to be in this body now.
I started to really pay attention to what it felt like to be me from the inside out: the slightly sore muscles from recent work outs, the way it feels to move my hands, seeing clearly out of my eyes. How does it feel to be tall (or short or in between)? Am I hungry? What exactly does that feel like? Is it the same for everyone?
The odd thing was that as I concentrated on how it felt to be me my body relaxed, physically and mentally. My thoughts slowed down and I was suddenly calmer. It was a great feeling and I’ve been working on keeping that feeling up ever since.
Keeping any thought going for a long period of time is a challenge. We all know our society is set up to constantly distract us with shiny and desirable objects and our focus softens if we don’t work hard at keeping it sharp.
Part of the reason that I even came to be thinking about appreciating my body was because my husband, who is now in a masters program studying acupuncture, has his Qi Gong class on Friday nights and he’d told me that very day that this class had proven to be his most challenging. In that class they practice meditation and being able to focus was one of the hardest things for him. I’ve tried it and it’s hard for me too. One of two things generally happens: the mind wanders or I fall asleep. But if you want to figure out what should be on your grocery list or what so-and-so meant by the comment they made about your outfit earlier in the day you should definitely attempt to meditate.
Focusing on appreciating my body helped a lot with keeping my thoughts on one track, for a while.
Sure, it’s an ongoing practice. But at the risk of sounding like some new age person with an uncomfortably fervent affection for trees, I really felt like I got a lot out of that experience and I thought I’d share it with you this week.
Give it a try… or don’t. But if you do, feel free to comment below and tell me about it.