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A Birthday Letter to My Body (Reclaiming Me :: Mind/Body)

on March 20, 2015

dear bodyHey Body –

Can we have a little chat?

It’s your birthday today. Your forty-eighth birthday. (It feels much more gentle to spell it rather than use the numbers.) If I’m honest, this Birthday Thing has been hard for me since somewhere around the thirtieth one. I’m hoping maybe you and I starting this dialogue can make it easier to add candles to the cake from now on.

I’ve been pretty scared to talk to you these last several decades.
You’ve always seemed pretty on edge.
Pretty fickle and unpredictable.
Pretty rebellious and untrustworthy.
And acknowledging you never appeared to end well for me.

For years and years, I thought you were the enemy.
I’ve felt more-than-betrayed by you more times than I can count.
On so many levels.
In the interest of full disclosure, let’s list the parts of you that have ceased to work, exist, or just cause problems…

Knees. Appendix. Thyroid. Esophagus. Uterus. Ovaries. Breasts. Hair. Fat cells.

The fact that I need to use the back of the page to list the 15+ surgeries you’ve undergone when I fill out standard forms at the doctor’s office staggers me. It’s given me the ammo I’ve felt I needed to keep firing at you. So that I could imagine some sense of control when you chose to act so out-of-control.

Imperfections. Infections. Autoimmunity. Cancer. Loss. Scars.

I always thought it was you who couldn’t be trusted.
Turns out that wasn’t true.
It was the messages I listened to about you that weren’t trustworthy.
And that led to believing lies about you.

So, I’ve decided that I want to find a way that we can beautifully and peacefully coexist.
I want to honor you for all you’ve done.
All you’ve been through.

It’s occurred to me that if you and I can get on the same page, play on the same team, we can affect some positive changes. Not just for us, but as a witness to wholeness. A testimony to what can happen when gentleness and gratitude take the place of contempt and condemnation.

Those four girls you gave birth to could really use a roadmap to Body Love.
To Radical Self-Acceptance.
And who’s to say how much farther than their precious hearts the ripples can extend.

Speaking of those babies-turned-beautiful-young-women, they’re evidence of all the good you’ve done.
All the things I am thankful for about you.

Athleticism. Successful pregnancies. Breastfeeding. Resilience after surgery. Surviving a year of chemo.
I have deep gratitude for all of it.

In living out that gratitude, I’ve sketched out a bit of a preliminary game plan…
I’m going to continue feeding you clean, healthy, delicious whole food, trusting that you’ll take what you need from it.
I’m going to nurture you with regular sleep, believing that you’ll regain the energy necessary to heal.
I’m going to be mindful of the way I speak – and think – about you, knowing that you’ll respond positively to kindness.
I’m going to fill your ears with music and your eyes with beauty, hoping that you’ll find deep rest in God’s endless creativity.
I’m going to put away the scale and all the other measuring sticks, having faith that you’ll intrinsically find your set point.
I’m going to actively honor the gifts and talents God’s seeded in you, realizing that you’ll blossom as He intended when I give you the freedom to shine.
I’m going to practice renewing my mind and erasing all the Not Enoughs I’ve lived under by focusing on Whose I am, understanding that we’re divinely connected, you and I.

I think we can do this.
Even though it feels like I’m a bit out on a limb in putting all this out there.
After all, you could keep rebelling.
Betraying.

But I’m hoping maybe you’ll settle in.
And find rest.

In that hope, Happy Birthday.
Let’s make Forty Eight the Best. Year. Ever.

 

 

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6 responses to “A Birthday Letter to My Body (Reclaiming Me :: Mind/Body)

  1. Sheila Heiser says:

    an absolutely beautiful reunion…thank-you for sharing so deeply…really spoke to me…Need to make some changes in how I too treat my body…am I bringing God Glory?

  2. Kari says:

    48? I thought you were on 47! Irregardless, I hope it’s been a great day. Love you, Kari

  3. An inspiring post. Wishing you a Happy Birthday and a beautiful renewal and reunion with your body.

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