|HOW I STARTED BODY JOURNALINGTM|
As a body worker, I have always been interested in the interconnection between body, mind and spirit. I notice people's attitudes toward their bodies and see the connection between attitude and well-being. When someone comes in talking about her "bad" knee, I encourage her to begin to see that knee instead as the one that has worked too hard.
Yet I realized I spent time in front of the mirror looking at myself critically, being unhappy about a new wrinkle, a rounder tummy, or my "misbehaving" hair. Did I treat anyone else in my life that way? And what kind of relationship could I expect to have with someone if every time I saw them, I criticized them? I decided it was time to start off on a new foot (so to speak) with my body.
An avid journaler, I began writing to my body with appreciation. I thanked my body for giving me a home in the world, for providing a portal into this reality that allowed me to be here. I appreciated that my body was keeping me pretty healthy, that it was flexible and strong, that it did its best to accomplish whatever I asked of it. I thanked it for carrying me every step of my life journey, for always being with me. I even thanked my hand for writing in the journal.
Then I began to wonder how or if my body felt or thought about things. Did it have likes and dislikes? So I asked it a simple question: "What did you like best about yesterday?" -- and I found myself writing an answer that felt like it was from my body! I have asked my body this question often since then, and the answers have a beauty to them. My body likes the breezes and the air outside. She (mine is a female body, after all) likes playing with plants in the garden. My body loves it when I laugh. She likes to rock and snuggle under the covers. Riding bikes is a favorite activity, or most anything that involves movement. She enjoys stretching and yoga and lying like a cat curled up in the sun. She loves being in the water. Funny thing -- these are all things I like but often forgot about doing or didn't pay much attention to before.
My body and I have developed a more in depth relationship since then, chatting about likes and dislikes, perceptions of reality, old residue from the past, and even some in-depth spiritual discussions that have truly surprised me. For instance, if something painful happens and I get all grumpy around it, my body tells me that yes, the incident was unpleasant, but my grumpiness has effected her much more deeply and been harder to cope with! I can tell you it is one thing to hear a spiritual truth from a teacher or read it in a book; but it is far more powerful to hear it applied directly to your life in the moment. And this is what my body has been giving me -- profound teachings applied to my life right now today. Because that it what the body is about: being present, right here, right now.
I now have an awareness of my powerful ally: my body. I have a new relationship that fills me with gratitude, that helps me be more present, that constantly yields new insights, that brings me home to simple pleasures, and is an on-going source of amazement and delight. That's who I'm starting to see in the mirror now.