Earlier this week I decided to participate in a (non-competitive) blogging challenge that is in fact, over. Indeed it’s done and dusted, but because I liked the idea of ’30 days of self-love’ I decided to embark on the challenge belatedly and – hopefully – in so doing, indulge in some self-discovery and personal growth. The 30 days in question actually took place in September 2010, but I figured: better late than never. Or something.
Each day of the month last September inspiring blogger, Tina, set a theme for her many followers and readers to consider and reflect upon. Today is day two and the theme is: gifts of the body. Sounds ominous, so I should read more!
We each have a unique body gifted to us. That gift values more highly than anything else in our possession. Or that we could ever possess.
What would do you if you didn’t have your hands to craft words on paper (or screen)? What would you do if you didn’t have arms to embrace a loved one? Legs to run? Eyes to experience the beauty of this world? Picture life without any single part of your body.
Our bodies bring us so much opportunity and life. We must cherish the bodies we have, with all their quirks, soft spots, or pains. They do not deserve the abuse which we expose them to on a regular basis, both physically and mentally.
Even if they can’t do all the things we hope or look the way we desire, our bodies still require love. If you had someone in your life who supported you in every way imaginable, wouldn’t you want to show that person your appreciation? Our bodies are that entity. Let’s show them a little bit of thanks today and throughout this month of self-love.
Once a week, we will have a day devoted to sharing three things our bodies do for us and why we love that part of ourselves. We will do this each week so we can genuinely focus on a few things at a time we appreciate about our bodies. Take a few moments to focus deeply on three aspects of your body today and thank them. I’ll go first.
Now, it’s your turn. Reflect on your body’s gifts. Then declare… “I thank my ______” for each.
1. I am thankful for my healthy heart. To the best of my knowledge it works well. My father hasn’t been so lucky, contracting rheumatic fever as a child damaged his heart. He could only be saved through someone else’s loss. And he was. Over 10 1/2 years ago my father received a heart transplant: an anonymous gift that my entire family is thankful for every day. I am fortunate that – despite the way I’ve treated my body – my own heart keeps beating, second after second, hour after hour, day after day – and so forth.
2. I thank my mind for allowing me to understand so many things; and for allowing me to think and dream. Because of my father’s heart issues he has developed vascular dementia. Unlike alzheimers (at the moment anyway), he is able to remember things from his past, but he is unable to transfer anything new from his short term (or immediate memory) into his longer term memory. He is trapped in a fog, unaware of what he did minutes or even seconds ago.
The mind is an amazing thing and shouldn’t be taken for granted. It also allows us to ‘feel’ and I don’t mean the sense of touch. I mean it allows us to experience emotions: sadness, fear and joy. And it allows us to feel love.
3. I thank my lungs which allow me to breathe. Constantly and (almost) effortlessly. I only notice my breathing when there’s a problem. Before starting this weight loss program I’d noticed I was having trouble taking deep breaths and I was worried something was impinging on my lung capacity. I’m not struggling as much any more.
My family recently attended a thanksgiving service for organ donor families and recipients. A woman who had been on the brink of death had received a double lung transplant. She told us to appreciate each and every breath we take, because she certainly does.
Thinking about these experiences has made me realise I don’t appreciate and value my body in the way I should. I focus on my fat stomach, or large cellulite-ridden thighs. I look at stretch marks and floppy arm fat. It’s only when I see someone with a disability or am reminded of my own father’s health challenges that I stop to think about those gifts that I do have and that I take for granted.