This is my body: now.

yoga

When I was young, I didn’t think anything about my body.  I lived in it.

Now, I’m aware of it all the time.

I have a hip issue, a shoulder situation and a knee thing. (I don’t call them problems.)  I have turned into the sometimes limping and stiff vision of my elders.  Instead of cursing myself and being angry, I embrace my body and all its imperfections.  I love my body.  My body has brought me here.  My body has given me great pleasure. My body has birthed two children.  My body has played thousands of hours of tennis.  It has walked everywhere, run on beaches, hiked on mountains, skied and skated. It has sailed, walked cities, strolled through museums and sat in cathedrals and concerts all around the world.

My life shows up in my body.  How can I blame it?

It’s time to leave the restaurant. Instead of just walking away from the table, I need to stand for a minute, let my knees soften and rearrange themselves so that I don’t limp across the room.  I recognize myself in the memory of my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles as they struggled to get up from the couch.

I think I can speak for most people when I say we are tortured by our bodies for our entire lives. We fret about our looks, our fat, our hair, our tummies, our ears, our thighs, our butts. We’re either too skinny or not toned enough.  We pick out body parts to hate. We do surgical procedures and diets to get the body and face we think we should have.

All the the body is, is the magnificent temple of our soul. It is a vehicle for our presence as a conscious being on this earth. Everyone has a beautiful soul inside them, no matter what the body.

On birthdays, it is not uncommon to complain about being a year older, stiffer, more wrinkles, how hard it is to lose weight, the hair thinning and growing grey.

But on my birthday, I celebrate the fact that my soul had and will have another year on this earth.  I thank my body for housing my most magnificent, most precious soul.  I need to take care of my soul. My soul is so happy to be here, manifested on earth.  And that’s what makes me want to care for its temple, my body.

My first yoga teacher, Don Niedermayer, taught me that we all practice our individual yoga because we all have our unique bodies, each with its own history.  My body’s history is entirely different from yours.  So, don’t look at my mat to see what I’m doing, and I won’t look at yours. My yoga will be different from your yoga. In difficult moments when I struggle or ache, I hear Don’s words:  keep your eyes on your mat.  There is no competition, no comparison, no shame.

I feel my pains everyday.  But I try to love and accept them, not curse them.  I need to take care of them.  When my children were sick with an ailment, I didn’t curse them or their pain.  I embraced them, soothed them, looking into how I could alleviate or heal.  And so I do the same with my magnificent body.

What’s your relationship with your body? Be honest!  Doesn’t matter if you’ve made peace with it or not.  We’re here to learn and share.

xo Liza

 

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30 thoughts on “This is my body: now.

  1. I think that is the loveliest piece on our aging bodies (and eternal souls) that I have ever read. Thank you so much for writing it.

  2. I’m sorry to say this is SO a gender issue. I remember chatting to a male acquaintance who said “I don’t know anything about diets: I have never dieted”. Never occurred to him that he should need to change anything about his body. Why would he? It was who he was! Wasn’t that enough?

    1. Oh Sally..you are SO right! Thanks for pointing that out! And a dog or cat never says, “I hate my fur today” or “I wish I had different color fur.”

  3. Wonderful and encouraging insights, Liza. I haven’t got to the stage of loving my body yet – at age 66 – never have. The best I can say is, body and soul have come to an “entente cordiale” and that’s ok.

  4. I share your sentiments Liza! Recently had this conversation with my daughter after she said that she would never go sleeveless, “not with these arms!” I told her that I have come to make peace with my own arms. These arms held my children, my grandsons, cared for my parents, nursed my patients, embraced my lover, carried laundry baskets, groceries, hockey bags, kayaks, Christmas trees……, and hugged myself on days when I just needed that! This flesh and blood is the temporal housing of the precious soul and I celebrate it every day. Thank you for your thoughts, what a beautiful day! ,

    1. Patti, What a beautiful post! I too “never go sleeveless”. I recently told my sister…”I don’t care to look at my arms..I certainly don’t want to inflict that view upon others”. I also don’t like my stomach. But after reading Liza’s post and all the positive comments; I pause and am thankful for my body. So many other women have such medical problems that impede them. I am joyful- that even though I am not perfect; I can still hike, carry my laundry basket, weed my garden, mow the lawn, carry my kayak walk my dog…on and on. I am thankful for this post…I can reflect with other women and learn that I am not alone in not being satisfied with how I look. I am, however, responsible for some of that and can work on myself. Thank you Ladies for uplifting and honest, heartfelt words.

  5. what a lovely attitude, I love it. I think from now I will try and think the same. Positivity is the way to go. Thank you.

  6. Hello Lisa, your words came at just the right time for me, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in a mall after having tried on several swimming costumes. I haven’t looked at my body in ages, because I have always disliked it, when I saw myself in the changing room mirror I saw flabby tummy, fat bottom with lots of dimples, saggy arms, I felt deflated and miserable. Then I read your post and you made me reevaluate all my negative thoughts – in future I will do my best to think about my body the way you think about yours. You are so positive and so right. Thank you x

    1. Hi Elaine. Thanks for being so honest. We have all felt this way! And do see Sally’s comment about this being a gender issue. Carry on! Awareness is the first step. You’re doing splendidly!

  7. Thank you, Liza for your thoughts. I am grateful to my body for fighting off cancer three times. I think of myself as a tree that just wants to keep growing.

  8. As a young girl, my body was my friend, strong and agile. Now it is tired and painful. For many years I longed for that strong body, and then came to realize, it never left me. I just wouldn’t accept the evolution of that body, and appreciate what it has carried me through. Now I will treat it more kindly and cherish it as it carries me for another decade or hopefully two.

  9. This is just so beautiful, Liza…thank you! I’m reading this in an airport, feeling like my pains are betraying me when I want to soar. (Sorry for the bad airplane analogy 😉 ) But your words and your commenters’ have brought tears. Such true words. I’m gonna drag this body around to wherever life takes me and remember that every (im)perfection has been caused by living and loving and exploring this old world.

  10. You are preaching wisdom Liza!!
    I think I’m finally coming to terms with what my body is and isn’t—the only thing I regret is why i didn’t realize this sooner—so much wasted time & energy???

  11. I love my body. I always have. It was beautiful at one time (until I was in my mid 50’s). It no longer is beautiful, but still looks pretty good for an old broad my age (68). I have always tried to exercise and eat right. My body has given me much pleasure and so far has given me only minimal aches and pains. I am very grateful for it every day.

  12. Loved this article. Why oh why did I wait to love and accept myself (still a work in progress) until my 50’s? Agree that it’s a gender issue as well as the media pushing only lovely young things at us on a daily basis. We women are judged on appearance first and everything else later. And we have to be more accepting of each other. Group love and acceptance.

  13. OMG! I love my body!
    How this BLog alerts us! When I was young I really fretted about not have big boobs for the beach and low cut dresses….and also that i was too tall and skinny.. 10 years ago.(. Im sixty now.) I thought Thats IT! there is really NOthing I can do about it…unless I go under the knife , FOR WHO?? Im not a celebrity.. and I dont have that kind of money to waste ..SO I abandoned that thought.. LOL… But nowadays.. I am So happy for my body…im fit, healthy.. I’ve not gotten fat., never had to diet, or watch what I eat.. . My body has travelled most of the world, gave me a daughter..done a lot of sport.. cycled 100’s of miles, dances like no one’s watching ( even if they are I dont care!).. no aches or pains. and I still wear bikinis… my husband’s friend once said to me… Hey.. You know what Your problem is?? You’re too old to Rock & Roll, but too young to die! ! But I Do Rock! I SaY!

  14. Hi. When I was younger I had psoriasis, so despite this I loved life, sex and chaps with nasty, flaky spots everywhere. And they all loved me back. It took some doing but it was a lesson well learnt. I’ve always loved my body throughout my life. Now I’m spot free, healthy, agile, and my only health problem is hay fever at 65. Celebrate your life, my dear husband died a year ago, he would so want to be here now!

  15. This is the way I am going to gaze upon my body now. I have aches in my knees but hey I can still walk the dog, maybe not run.. Swimming I find plays a huge part in helping my knees feel so much lighter
    My life is for living and this life is not a rehearsal and I try and enjoy every day, even gardening which I never did before moving down to Devon from London.. All lifes rich experiences.
    How I liove your readers comments, we are all the same with you aches and pains.

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