For years my body was something to put up with, something that made me feel shame at its size, shape and structure. My body was something I used and abused by giving it too much or too little, by pushing it too hard or allowing it to be given away in ways that deep down I wasn’t consenting to. I carried it around like an unwanted part of myself, hating it, punishing it, being embarrassed by it, wishing it were anything OTHER than it was. I never offered it compassion, love or kindness. The most I did was let it rest when it was infected or hurting. 

I did all this to it, I treated it with such contempt and yet still it gave me life, its heart kept beating, its lungs kept drawing in air, its muscles allowed me to run, dance, jump and walk along muddy paths. It allowed me to have a voice, to communicate, to sing, to express myself, it allowed me to experience touch and intimacy, it told me through pain when it needed healing, it digested my food, filtered my fluids and kept working, every single moment of every day. It served me well, it continues to serve me well. It has kept going despite my treatment of it. 

That old body story, that old relationship I’ve had with this body of mine has slowly given way to something kinder, softer and more welcoming. It’s taken time but these days I extend love, thanks and compassion to this body, this miraculous, beautiful body that belongs to ME! I’m still learning, every day it seems, to connect more deeply with my body and give it space to offer its wisdom and knowing. I actually feel like a beginner on this journey of me and my body being one, with me allowing myself to be body, soul and spirit as ONE interconnected dance rather than separate entities. 

Our bodies carry so much deep knowing. They carry every trauma we’ve experienced in their cells, they remember all that we’ve walked through. Every time we’ve been through times of pain and sorrow they have too. Their aches and pains also have a voice, a voice that if we would stop to listen, can offer great wisdom and be a doorway to healing. They have the wisdom to let us know when we’re hungry, when we’re tired and when we need to slow down and pause. Are we willing to let them speak, to give time to hearing the great wisdom they offer us?

Becoming more attentive to our body brings us into the here and now. Our body only lives here in this moment, it’s not past or future, its only now. If we give time to practices that connect us with our bodies, we settle into now, everything else falls away and peace comes. We feel grounded, sustained and held. Simply being aware of our breath or the connection between the soles of our feet and the floor can radically alter our nervous system. Embodied practices calm us bringing fresh perspective and deeper rest.  

From here we can be more intentional about listening to what they’re saying and what they need. We become more adept at responding with kindness and care in ways that offer true nourishment to every part of ourselves, to the intertwining selves that are body, soul and spirit. 

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be offering embodied practices to help you connect more intentionally with your body. Today I offer a lectio divina written by Hilary McBride entitled Dear body, I’m sorry, I love you .

For more about Hilary please visit her website –  https://hillarylmcbride.com/

As your Spiritual Director, I will be a companion on your spiritual journey, creating a safe place to help you discover the truth about yourself, about God and about your relationships with others.