“The body is a big sagacity, a plurality with one sense, a war and a peace, a flock and a shepherd.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Experiencing life through the body is the truth of the situation. We are of service to our bodies or they will make us serve them. Only one ongoing health condition can change the totality of your life. Even brief illnesses refocus our attention on what in our busy-ness is the stage, the actor and the play of our lives. Actually we know we are well when, after meeting the few daily simple needs of the body, we don’t have to consider it much. Health allows us the freedom to explore the outer ranges of soul and mind.
Some recent blood work woke me up to the immediacy of my physical temple. The arrogant superiority that many of us practice over our health is short lived for most of us. As Huxley observed, “What we feel and think and are is to a great extent determined by the state of our ductless glands and viscera.” Living a life in balance with our bodies is a beautiful thing, whether it is through the act of nourishing our body, the restoration that only comes from enough sleep, or the satiating experience of physical intimate touch.
A recent wake-up call in the form of a blood test showed me the often invisible precipice between health and long-term illness. Many of us fall off that edge, pushing through the details of commitments that somehow come to loom larger than the body that makes it possible. My red and white blood cell counts now command me. I know there is no work that is more important than learning to listen and respond to the messages my body is sending.
The weekend is the time to revel in body sensation, which is not to say that it deserves any less during the week. Allocating uninterrupted time for an occasional nap, for making a lovely meal or better still falling deep enough into myself and my relationship to uncover the mystery of my sexual desire fills me in ways that nothing I work at during the week can match. Since beginning the work of rebuilding my blood, my positivity quest has become grounded in the here and now of my viscera.
Shakespeare’s reflection that, “Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners” is a metaphor that can go a long way in reshaping the small daily choices that make a healthy life a reality. You can keep your garden in any number of ways. but like it or not, choosing to not keep it is a clear choice.
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