Several years ago a friend of mine offered insight into how she viewed her body. At the time, I was struggling with dressing my body up for display, i.e. getting attention, but I wasn’t so concerned with the actual functionality of my body.
I remember talking to her, conversing about my concerns of not being pretty enough or skinny enough and so on, when she quietly said, “I’ve found my body is a vehicle for my soul, to get me where I need to be. My body can definitely be pretty while carrying out this endeavor, but it’s main purpose is to get my soul where it needs to be at any given moment.”
“What?” I said. “Say that again.” And she did say it again, at my request, and a seed of different thinking supplanted in the back of my mind, one that slowly began to grow and alter how I viewed myself and the world.
I woke my son for school this morning, and he said his back felt kinked, which made sense since I found him in a fetal position, similar to Balasana (Child’s Pose) in yoga. I went over some things he could do to help his tense muscles relax, and he found he could move again.
What this conjured in me was the memory of my friend coupled with the reality of living in a body that is forever changing. Even from the day of infancy, our bodies are growing and changing, melding around our experiences, however nourishing or depleting those experiences may be.
I thought of my own body and though I may practice yoga daily and walk regularly and play soccer with my boys and hike mountains when given the chance and eat healthy, I am not guaranteed forever-ness when it comes to my health or my body maintaining a certain level of energy and mobility.
The clock is ticking.
Please keep in mind, I don’t say that with an attached connotation of foreseeable doom. Aging is part of this world, as I see with my garden and the flowers that populate my yard, along with the gold and auburn leaves that pepper the ground since the onset of fall.
So what this brings to mind is this need to take care of my body to the best of my ability: feed it healthy foods, exercise its amazing muscles, give it adequate rest, create space between activities, appreciate it, honor it. But along with that taking-care-of aspect, I also need to know there are no guarantees.
There is just this moment, as my body is right now, carrying my soul to where I need to be.