May 3, 2022

A Mindful Practice for when we Feel Betrayed by our Body.


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It’s 1:38 a.m., and I’m pissed.

With my nose so stuffed that I can’t breathe through it, it’s too hard to fall back asleep.

After just having had COVID-19 this past month and having enjoyed watching my body regain its strength and come back to my tasks with more energy, it’s difficult to acknowledge its shortcomings once again.

A few days ago, I visited a friend for his birthday. He had a cold, and my immune system apparently wasn’t strong enough yet to withstand this unwelcome intruder.

And as I was sitting in front of a red light lamp to relieve my sinuses from the pressure, I realized how negatively I think about and talk to my body since my symptoms started a day and a half ago.

I focus on its weakness and its inability to withstand struggle. I see all the things that aren’t working, instead of the ones that are. I think about my IBS, my scoliosis, my bowlegs, and my irregular cycle. I call my immune system a spiderweb that catches everything that comes its way.

I feel betrayed by my body when it doesn’t function properly—especially because I’m doing my best to take good care of it by eating well, exercising regularly, managing stress, and having an ever evolving self-care practice.

That I use this kind of negative self-talk makes me sad because our bodies truly are a miracle, and nobody is completely free of pain at all times.

This reminds me of a self-care practice I recently shared with my community of helping professionals and that I vow to practice regularly in the next weeks.

Like I told a client this week, being grateful for the things that are working, that we appreciate and want to celebrate, doesn’t negate the stuff that aren’t. Both can be true at the same time.

In case you need it today, I hope this practice can be of benefit for both of us:

To begin, find a comfortable seat—a position in which you feel your body at ease for the next few minutes.

Today, we want to celebrate our bodies.

Like each and every body, they may not be perfectly healthy.

We may not have a good relationship with all parts of our bodies, and that’s okay.

We may feel betrayed by the parts of our bodies that have been ill before.

Perhaps, someone made us feel ashamed of other parts.

All of that is welcome here. If any uncomfortable emotions arise during this practice, just notice them with curiosity and meet them with acceptance.

It may be difficult to be grateful for our body parts. If that’s the case, just acknowledge it.

It’s completely okay if we can’t feel gratitude for all of ourselves today. But it’s important to notice that we can’t. That’s the practice of being mindful.

I’ll now guide you through each part of your body. As we do this, you’re invited to touch each part with the palms of your hands if you can reach them, and it feels right today, but you don’t have to.

Instead, you may send your attention to each body part. And with your attention, send gratitude and a sense of loving-kindness to that part of yourself.

If you wish to, you can repeat my words in your head or speak them out loud.

Let’s begin.

Thank you, feet, for reminding me that I am grounded in this world.

Thank you, legs, for carrying me on this earth and through my life.

Thank you, pelvis, for containing so much of what I feel.

Thank you, back, for helping me stand up for myself.

Thank you, belly, for holding space for my intuition and helping me process what happens in my life.

Thank you, ribs, for protecting the organs in my body that make me come alive.

Thank you, heart, for containing all the love I have for myself and others.

Thank you, shoulders, for carrying what I need to carry, and letting me know when it’s too much.

Thank you, arms, for all the soft embraces you give.

Thank you, hands, for all your hard work.

Thank you, head, for the clarity you bring in situations when I need it.

I invite you to now take a moment to add any other parts of your body you want to give thanks to.

When you feel ready, take a few deep breaths in and out your nose.

Thank you, breath, for being with me, always.

Thank yourself for taking this time out of your day to practice self-care.

Slowly come back to the room and space you’re in.

I hope you enjoyed this practice.

You can access the audio recording here.


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