Welcome to the second of our seven-day practice in which we cultivate awareness of the wonder and gift of a normal day. We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Now, let's begin...
Photo: Nick Moore/Unsplash
Your body calls for deep awe and appreciation as it gives tangible experience to life through its brilliant and resilient form. Consider some of the amazing things your body does for you in a given day, much of it without your conscious effort: creating new cells, metabolizing food into energy, breathing, moving against gravity, physically expressing thoughts and feelings, taking in the world around you through your senses…
Throughout your day, gently carry the intention to appreciate your body. You might focus on a specific part, marveling at the intricacy of its anatomy and the genius of how it works. Experiment with expressing appreciation toward parts of yourself that may feel difficult as well as toward those parts that feel good. Tune in to the subtleties of each of your senses, noticing how rich the experience can be when you’re deeply present. When you pause to acknowledge your body, place your hand on your heart and say, “Wow, thank you.” Observe how this practice makes you feel, noticing any sensations or emotions that arise.
How does regarding your body with wonder impact you?
What can you love about and savor through your body and your senses?
Should you be inspired, please leave a reflection below…
This practice is inspired by Mary Jean Irion’s sublime meditation A Normal Day.
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I live in constant chronic pain, and as I turned 77 last month, I am so aware and grateful for all of the things I am able to do- my amazing body has carried me through seven plus decades and although a bit worn from wear, still celebrates the body electric
I am in awe of my body, for though I live with a chronic condition my body always serves me as best it can. And I express gratitude to it and serve & care for it as best I can.
Today’s reflection resonates deeply and is a timely reminder to always be body-aware. “Wow, thank you!”
And thank you for these teachings.
I love and am in wonder of feeling alive with my body and senses. This moves my heart inspiring me to do. I pray to God. I pray to God. I pray to God. Being alive is love from God. Being able to act on being alive is courage and faith from God! Senses guides me to the fields where I may find flowers to enjoy the pollen.
How grateful I am for what I have, all the senses I have, to see the life. and I am still alive and feel the love of the universe. That is huge!
Regarding my body with wonder gives me a sense of ease, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I also have appreciation for resilience and strength, opportunity and possibility.
What I love about and savor through my body is the ability to love, to share, to support, to provide, to create, to feel, to receive, to connect, to intuit, to understand, to celebrate, to console, to learn, to discover, to explore, to heal, to play, to laugh, to cry, to experience life through each of the five senses and my consciousness. To be strong in myself, to be tender, to be open, to be discerning, to be helpful, and so much more…
For me recently, this part is PTSD, as I’m in torturous pain every moment; yet, as pain is communication I endeavour to not react- rather place those messages on a way back burner for futiure reference. Be that as it may, this Bodhi was awesome and “discipline is the art of feeling awe”, Carlos Casteneda, so, I’ll share a twig of poetree from a far better day for it ?
As my breath is the one, prana,
And the life’s pulse, pala,
Reaching angelic source, Sura,
So is this mind, manas, a
The Eye that would it see,
Unbeckoning unto Thee.
As well, this Bodhi, a temple,
Of the four and fifth, Nur,
So entered by Atma, a ray of Thy Sun,
Thus being winged, and
As such with wind,
Flying only in Dharma’s dance,
Is returning to, Brahma, You.
For, there yet, by Thy Grace, go i.
Thanx for all you All do; have a good day ? reality
This morning after reading the post, I said “thank you” to my body which has served me so well for almost 76 years. Then, I went about my daily activities which included cleaning, sweeping and vacuuming the kitchen and livingroom. I turned on the radio to “malt shop oldies” and was soon dancing, twirling, jumping and using the broom as a partner. I was filled with such joy …. I have always loved dancing and it’s as though the music comes in my ears and goes through my entire body. Because of this morning’s reading I felt immensely blessed and full of love for my amazing body which continues to fill me with joy.
I am in awe at the ability of the body to heal and tell me “all will be well”
A wise counselor once told me the brain is an organ but the mind is our entire being…so much for the mind-body distinction. I mind with all of my body, whether I am aware of it or not. Good to dedicate some time to reinvigorating that connection….
While healing from an elbow fracture and surgery, not only do I reflect on the wonder of healing, but also on the many people who have and still are assisting me to be well again. I am grateful for family, friends, and caring medical professionals.
In my early seventies I continue to revel in physical activities and thanks to the Essentrics program can enjoy them fully. Keep moving every part of the body is the mantra. BUT — I’m not at all accepting of my aging wrinkly, saggy, creviced skin. Oh to find the beauty there…
When I was younger, I’m in my early 70’s, I had aunts in their 70’s….80’s…90’s and one lived to be 103. I thought they were beautiful with their white hair, the twinkle in their eye, the lipstick they seemed to always have on (One told me when she was in her 90’s that the older a woman got, the less makeup she needed, but she never left the house without lipstick. She also said she told her age because she loved to hear people say that they couldn’t believe she was 90 and thought she was so much younger!). I realize beauty is reflected by the kindness, the attentiveness, the sense of humor, the caring, the acceptance, and simple joy shown through their loving selves.
I know what you mean, Elaine. I’m 67 and I try to always smile when I look at myself in the mirror or in a camera / phone. That really helps! Loving my aging self is a challenge, but I am trying to accept and love my “new” body. ; )
I have had a feeling of wonder about the body and how it works ever since I was a young nursing student. Later I became a “body worker” per se, healing through massage and touch. I read Job’s Body by Deane Juhan and I learned that we are put together so beautifully with tissues that make us wholly ourselves, connecting us altogether by skin, bone, muscle, and fascia. The body’s growth and aging process is also a source of amazement for me. How? When? Why? Yet the body seems to know what to do, albeit with a little help from us through fuel, movement, play, and rest.
I love and even laugh at watching my body pucker, wrinkle, grey, and decay. It hurts, won’t always cooperate, but it’s doing what it is supposed to do at this age, as it heads towards shutting down and finally releasing my spirit. It’s marvelous because it still has energy, sensuality, houses a mind, humor, emotions, loads of laughter, and takes me on adventures. I love my body and I thank it regularly.
Accepting and managing getting older can be challenging and the reflection and responses encourage me on this sunny day. So many gray days this winter make the welcome of the sun a joy. Reminds me of RAIN, Recognizing, Allowing, Investigate- feeling the feelings not thinking about them and Nurturing. Tara Brach’s insightful way to Be with whatever is.
Oh! I have a RAIN mantra, too: R-emember who you are. A-ppreciate right now. I-magine the best possible outcome. N-o fear! Thanks for sharing yours and reminding me of mine. Onward we go, our bodies slipping away to free our souls (for the next body to enjoy to the fullest, if you believe in incarnations…)… Enjoy what’s possible in our bodies, now.
Tay-Marie, I love your RAIN mantra! Thank-you for sharing it!?
Sheila – we must be kindreds! – drawn to the same things – even picking the same symbol (I love clouds.) I must have been a seagull in a past life. (It’s hard to get used to this human body [haha] but being human allows me to use words and drink in Netflix. So, I’m making the most of it [even if I can’t fly to the clouds – I can surround myself with pictures and inspiration – and welcome birds to my back yard]). Happy Hearts!
Today’s practice is hard for me, as I have suffered from eating disorders and extreme body dysmorphia for most of my life. At the beginning of this year, when I realised that I had allowed my weighing scales to be the measure of my worth for more than half a century, I took the momentous step of throwing them away. I felt exhausted by constantly being at war with my body. It hasn’t proved as difficult as I feared to be without them, but I’m aware of how I am still obsessed with bodies – mine and other people’s, constantly judging and comparing. I’m actually in good shape for 66, as I still run three times a week and have been doing planks for the past year. Occasionally I can rejoice in how strong and fit I am, but mostly I judge myself harshly for my body. Compassion for myself is the starting point on the road to recovery.
I’ve reached the age where what used to have moisture is now like a desert. What used to be dry is now wet. What used to be up has gravitated down and what was once smooth can be used as a map but doesn’t lead to any locations known to Google Earth. Hair once thick is thinning, a belly once flat refuses to be sucked in. The bat wings under my arms are big enough to for me to soar from one tree to another if I could just get up the tree. And yet, I marvel at this remarkable body! My heart beats steadily and warms to extend love to babies and puppies, birds and butterflies, mushrooms and decaying trees which feed the earth. My feet can take me to places of wonder and I find that even walking is enjoyable and lifts my spirits and gets the blood pumping. I can still see the blue skies and early Spring ignoring the calendar. I’ve stocked up on seeds and bulbs to add to the beauty and have pulled weeds sitting on my little stool rather than squatting and bending as much, but the pulling of the weeds refreshes my soul as I pull out thoughts of fear or worry and just touch the earth so full of life. I can’t snap my fingers anymore because if arthritis, but I can pet my sweet dogs, one that herself is feeling the results of age, but she still joins me in my walks through the fields and woods. I can still cook and paint and type and text. I can still put a bit of paint on the old barn and hold hands with my hubby and my great grandchildren. My lap still works and those arms with their little wings can still embrace. Life is good and I’ve seen enough through the years to know there will be more hills to climb and valleys to traverse. There will be good times and bad and I’m thankful this old body has taken me to here. And I love it!
Beautifully said! A meditation for when my body gets me down, because it won’t do what I want it to do. Thanks!
How beautiful Caroline. Thank you for sharing…your descriptions and images are like poetry and I can feel myself right there with you. You are a radiant being – keep shining bright!
Caroline, you made my day! I love your response!? Keep hugging and loving and walking and laughing and enjoying this beautiful life. Most importantly, continue embracing the aging process and shower your days with love!
Today’s reflection resonates very strongly with me. After my Dad passed away in January 2013, my Mom decided she wanted to move out of their home of 57 years and relocate to the city where I live. It all worked out as my brother was able to move in with her and they lived in an apartment right around the corner from us. My Mom was 91 when she moved here in 2014 and looked no different than she did 30 years ago. She took excellent care of herself and listened to her doctors but also advcated and only took blood pressure medication. If her doctors wanted her to take medicine for her bones or other things that at 91 she just felt was not worth the side effects that could potentially occur and she would decline. She would visit the podiatrist every three months. She never liked her feet as she had pretty severe bunions on each foot. The podiatrist told her it was very important to dry between each toe each time one bathed and this would keep your feet healthy. I was the caretaker as far as helping her with her showers and setting her hair and every time I went, I made sure to be grateful for the chance to be able to this even when I was tired or feeling many pressures from other areas of my life. Every time I got to her feet to dry them, she would remind me that I needed to dry between each toe. We had my Mom here for 4 years and were so grateful to have the luxury of spending that time with her. She passed away in January 2018 and I miss her dearly. I think of her every day. Each morning when I am drying off, I dry between each toe and say thank you. I was genetically gifted with my Mom’s feet and have not really liked them over the years. But now I thank them every morning along with my body as a whole. Most of us are thinking of all our problems and worries as we get ready for our days and don’t even remember taking our shower. This practice has been a gift for me as even when my mind is going in many different directions, when I get out and am drying off, I automatically shift to this gratefulnss practice and it quiets my mind and I begin my day peacefully and in the present moment. Thank you Mom – All is well. I love you.
Amy – thank you so much for sharing this story. What a gift that you had that time with your Mom. Your story resonates deeply with me, as I am getting to a similar phase of life and relationship with my own Dad. I find myself aware, in a whole different way, of the preciousness of my time with him, and my gratitude for all that he has given me throughout my life. He lives far away, and I struggle with worry about him, and am hoping to be able to do just what you did so that we can be closer. Your story inspires and encourages me, so thank you!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am crying, and haven’t shed tears in a long time. In my case, it is a good thing to be crying. I miss my parents too.
So much is wrong with my body & I’m in so much constant pain that I find it hard to be grateful at how wonderfully it works – I have had to give up lots of things which brought me joy & relief. However, I am grateful for the parts that do work relatively well – for the moment I still have my sight, albeit impaired, some days I can even get up & around the house, & i am still able to eat (a limited diet) & drink unaided. I know I am not alone & I pray for others in the same situation, or worse. I put my hand on my heart & say “Thank you, my body, that parts of you do still work, & without my having to prompt you”.
In January, I found myself dizzy and even nauseous regularly. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with vertigo. It was something that could likely be fixed if I did certain exercises and I did and it was. That was scary, but the most interesting part was the examination/diagnosis. There were many little physical exercises to test my balance and everything related to this malady.
What I walked away with was an even deeper appreciation for the miracle of our bodies. All the factors that go into balance. Just the physical part of the inner ear. Our body’s ability to heal itself. What is occurring throughout our body – the countless ways it is working – at every moment. And we don’t even know it, and we so often take all of that for granted.
What a miracle we are!
I find it amazing that we remember our bodies when they hurt.. But we never rejoice when they are working.. And working without our even doing anything to bring that about. How joyful I am that this body works as well as it does. ??
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