Stop whatever you are doing and devote your full attention to being still or slowing down in this moment. Become conscious of your breath breathing itself. Follow a complete inhale-exhale cycle with your full awareness.
Allow your body to soften, wherever it is, exactly as it is. Open to the possibility of greater spaciousness, appreciation, and/or ease in relationship to your body. Commit to feeling everything gently.
You may want to take a few moments to sit or lie down, allowing your body to rest comfortably, feeling supported. You can experiment with putting your hand, or both hands, gently on your chest as you read. Let yourself notice – really notice – your heart beating and your lungs breathing.
No matter what may feel/be “wrong” with your body, there is an overwhelming amount that is perfectly right about your body at all times. Your body is, indeed, nothing short of an absolute miracle.
Look: Allow your attention to focus on how incredibly much is happening in your body every moment without your effort, without your having to try to make anything happen.
It can be difficult to take our attention off of physical pain, changes, or distress. The nature of distress is that it seems to want every last morsel of our attention. But it is important for us to experience the fact that with attention, challenging sensations and experiences in the body can be dwarfed by the larger context of all that is working.
No matter what may feel/be “wrong” with your body, there is an overwhelming amount that is perfectly right about your body at all times. Your body is, indeed, nothing short of an absolute miracle. Allow yourself to consider these extraordinary facts:
- Your body produces approximately 2.5 million new red blood cells each second
- Your heart beats around 100,000 times each and every day
- Your lungs can take in more than 3,000 gallons of air each day
- Your brain uses 20% of your body’s oxygen and caloric intake, even though it is only about 2% of your body mass.
Is there one fact that stands out to you – that makes you really appreciate the gift of your body and how much it is offering you? Allow yourself to focus on this one thing about your body and practice holding it in your awareness.
Your body is the precious vessel for who you are. You are alive right now, and it is a gift.
Go: Move throughout the next moments carrying the idea that, no matter what else might feel true, your body is nothing short of miraculous. You are more than any part. You are even more than the sum of all your parts. Your body is the precious vessel for who you are. You are alive right now, and it is a gift.
Write down three things about your body that are working and for which you feel grateful. Whenever your mind slips into negative thoughts about your body, interrupt the pattern by reminding yourself of these three things, and/or saying to yourself, or writing, “I am grateful for my body.” Focus on what is working.
Feeling compassion for ourselves can open us to greater compassion for others who are suffering, and empathetic engagement with others can help us to re-frame our own experience.
Find a physical gesture of tenderness and care – such as placing your hand on your heart – that you can offer to yourself when you get stuck in judgments about your body. This type of gesture can be filled with meaning and association. When you find yourself getting caught in all that feels wrong, let this gesture be a healing reminder to your body that it is appreciated.
It can also offer us perspective to focus on others whose physical challenges are even greater than ours – no matter our situation. Feeling compassion for ourselves can open us to greater compassion for others who are suffering, and empathetic engagement with others can help us to re-frame our own experience. Other people need our compassion, understanding, and support – just as we need theirs.
Be inspired by Nick Vujicic who, born without arms and legs, teaches from his experience, and invites us to “be thankful, dream big and never give up.”
For more inspiration, explore the guiding Grateful Living practice of Stop.Look.Go.
Photo by Oksana Zub