There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself. – Brian Andreas
A traumatic ending of a relationship; blame slung as a game of ping-pong, hearts thrown against walls, the blinding of fear. My body is the loser. Stomped on by both wounded parties.
Pain laughing in my face, I become bed-ridden with a debilitating, pounding head. All healthy habits abandoned, left sitting in the sweltering summer heat. An unhealthy lifestyle I long said goodbye to gleefully returns, snickering at my downfall. My nervous system on constant high-alert. My breath shallow. And with each throb of my head, each ache of my heart, each unhealthy choice, each swallow of medication, guilt rips through me – why can’t I look after myself properly? Why does my body feel like it is falling apart? This isn’t the life I want to live! I used to know how to do better! I know blaming myself perpetuates the problem but I can’t seem to stop.
I have fallen into a deep rut and I can’t see the safety-rope to pull myself out. Then scrolling through my feed, I come across Cleo Wade’s ‘Love Note to My Body’:
“First of all, I want to say thank you.
For the heart you kept beating even when it was broken.
For every answer you gave me in my gut.
For loving me back even when I didn’t know how to love you.
For every time you recovered when I pushed you past our limits.
For waking up.” – Cleo Wade
Gratitude washes over me, filling my lungs with clean air, freeing my mind from the prison it’s been fighting against the past few weeks. My eyes, thirsty, devour the words of the above note, needing the relief they bring. The message travels gently from my irises, through my head, then down into my heart, sending love to each part, gently kissing wounds, both old and fresh.
I take a deep breath and exhale, meditating on the words as they nourish my body.
Something shifts – just ever so slightly, yet enough for me to catch sight of the safety-rope. An invisible embrace gently wraps its arms around me, whispering that everything will be okay, that now is the time to look after myself and the incredible body I live in. To breathe freely. And with all the love I thought I would never feel again, I promise my body: ‘I will treat you the way you deserve.’
There is a Buddhist saying I use when feeling lost:
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go.
And as I remember this, my hand wraps around the rope. I use this saying to denote how I treat others, yet I’m not applying it to how I treat myself. I start to internally reprimand myself for not treating my body better, but I stop. This isn’t love.
Instead, I start to pull myself up the rope.
With the Buddhist saying as my guide, I decide it is time to send myself my own love letter and make a pact to put as much love and care into my own body as I do with others. I put my phone down, shut my laptop and pull out paper and pen.
This is my love note, my promise to my body:
I Will Love You, My Body
You have been there through thick and thin. You carry me throughout life. You take me for walks on the beach, you cook the food I eat, you endlessly keep my organs functioning, my blood pumping. You have taught me that my mind is intertwined with you and to truly acknowledge what that means. You tell me when something is not right, you fight off viruses, you let me smile and laugh and cry. And so much more. Thank you. I love you.
No other love, no matter how genuine it is, can fulfill one’s heart better than unconditional self-love. – Edmond Mbiaka
I Will Treat You Gently, My Generous Body
You and I travel together, the windy road from trauma to transcendence. You choose to keep going and I choose to help you. I will do my best to pull myself out of temporary lapses and will nourish you with the right choices – nutritious meals, exercises that are right for you, time to rest. I won’t push you past your limits or put unrealistic expectations on you. I will treat you with gentle care. And when you tell me you need time or space or quiet, I will listen.
Within my body are all the sacred places of the world, and the most profound pilgrimage I can ever make is within my own body. – Saraha
I Will Gracefully Let Go of What Isn’t Serving You, My Deserving Body
I will let go of the emotions that have tied you up. Guilt, worry, anger, sadness. I will feel these emotions and then send them on their way with love. I will loosen those knots, allowing expansive breath back into you.
I will not look back with regret, instead, I will see the lessons I have learnt and celebrate.
We will breathe freely and move on.
When we truly begin to let go, happiness will no longer just be our friend, it will be our home. – Yung Pueblo
I know I may fall into a rut again, and that’s okay. Heartache, and emotions that make us squirm are part of life’s rich tapestry and beauty. These experiences, while difficult, teach us important lessons. I know holding this knowledge close to my heart is truly the kindest act for my body.
In my dream the angel shrugged and said, if we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination. And then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand. – Brian Andreas
What promises do you make to your body? Do you have techniques to use when you fall into unhealthy ruts? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
With love and blessings of health,