Dear Body,

Thank you for having been so good to me all these years. I’ve really put you through a lot. I’ve put you through some hard stuff physically (intense exercise, computer work, binging and overeating, insomnia), as well as mentally and emotionally (trauma, stress, depression and anxiety). Apart from little nagging things, you’ve been great these past 40 years, when quite frankly, I didn’t always deserve it.

But now I’d like to make a promise to you going forward. It’s not so much a New Year’s Resolution for 2015 as much as just that: a promise. As I move into this second half of my life, I realize it may be more difficult for you to help me out; that I need to do my part as well. So I want to promise that I will take moments out of my day to really listen, to hear you speak to me, and to do my best to honor your wisdom and make any adjustments I can to help you help me.

For example, when I’m standing at my computer typing, I’ll notice whether my weight is balanced between my right and left feet, and whether I’m locking my knees. I’ll make the fact that I’m bringing my right shoulder forward more conscious, and stop doing that, because given the kinetic chain I’m likely corkscrewing you up completely when I do that. I’ll check in with my neck to make sure I’m not straining looking at my screen or phone, with my head too far down or forward. As I did at the theater last night, I’ll sit with both feet flat on the ground, even if it means I have to scootch forward and not use the back support of a chair, which I realize isn’t great for you anyway. I’ll stop helping my pelvis get twisted up by crossing my legs.

I’ll return more to my gentle practice of yoga, even when I have to teach a “harder” flow class. I’ll model less fully and deeply when it’s not absolutely necessary. I’ll do more of what I always encourage my students to do (and sometimes complain about when they don’t): LISTEN and STOP and do what YOU want vs. what my mind and ego want from you. I’ll stop trying to do advanced postures like headstand when you know that my core isn’t strong enough for anything resembling that! I’ll learn through my yoga therapy training what will work better for you, and incorporate what I learn into a daily practice.

I’ll forgive the traumas and abuses of the past that may have contributed to your current state, whether they were self-imposed or I was a helpless victim.

towel_wrapped_meI will not judge you, but I will love you for what you are. I will love you even as you start to show more lines and wrinkles, as you become more stiff and dry with age. I will love you as my once rock-hard abs become soft, and as my butt sags. I will love you as my hair becomes even thinner. I won’t compare you to anyone else I see, or criticize you to anyone.

I will feed you only what you absolutely love, only when you tell me that you desire the pleasure of nourishment from food, and I will listen deeply to learn whether it’s food you really need. When it isn’t, I will listen to whether you want to rest (and read a book, journal, take a bubble bath, take a nap, or meditate) or when you’re restless and want to move (go for a walk, stretch, dance). When you’re feeling very hurt, I will love you by giving you Reiki, or a massage, or a visit to a chiropractor or PT (or all of the above).

I will stop complaining and start being grateful for everything you’ve done for me, and for everything you will do for me, no matter how much or how little that is.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. And, I promise.

Love always,

My first ever letter to my body
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