Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wisdom in the body

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves."

-- Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

Yesterday morning I paid a visit to my chiropractor, and after ascertaining that some of my problems could be traced to the fumes and dust associated with the construction project that's been happening in our kitchen this last two weeks, she suggested I might want some probiotics and/or vitamins to offset the effects and restore equilibrium.

I'm sure she sensed my resistance -- I am always reluctant to alter the chemistry of my system -- and so she said, "We'll let your body decide." She handed me the probiotic first and invited me to just hold it. "If it's what your body needs, it will lean toward it," she said. "If not, it will back away." Sure enough, after a second or two, my body pulled back. "Okay," she said. "How about this one?" I pulled away again. Then she tried two different calcium pills (the ones I've been taking have been wreaking havoc with my digestive system). One was a strong no, the other was a strong yes. There was also a strong yes for vitamin D3.

I loved the idea that my body knows what is good for me, and now want to see if I can take a breath when my mouth is craving something and just hold for a second to see if it's what my body really needs. I find myself encouraged in that by my readings this morning in Essential Spirituality, which today offered 9 different exercises to transform the busyness of daily life. The first five offered a variety of ways to fit the peace I find in meditation into the business of my life right now, and all seemed to involve this same act of stopping and taking a breath:

1. Do one thing at a time; don't just automatically pick up a book when you sit down to eat,
or turn on the radio when you step into the shower or turn on your car.

2. Transform daily activities into sacred rituals. For example, for one day, commit to stopping and taking a couple of deep breaths just before a particular activity, like -- every time you pick up the phone, or every time you open a door.

3. Transform interruptions into wakeup calls: when a child interrupts you, or the boss calls you into his office, or the phone or doorbell rings, treat it as a spiritual alarm: stop, wake up, breathe, and then react.

4. Stop right now and take three deep breaths, thinking with each, "Breathing in I smile, breathing out I relax. This is a wonderful moment."

5. Take regular breath meditations: schedule those same three breaths for predictable times in your day -- before meals, before the kids come home from school, before getting in the car, or even just every hour, on the hour.

We humans are such complex beings, and we live such complex lives that it can get overwhelming at times. Perhaps it's time to understand that we have within us everything we need to cope with that complexity; that we don't need to feel overwhelmed just because our minds can't quite stay on top of everything. Our bodies can help us cope; we have only to ask and allow for that to happen.

Want your day to flow a bit more smoothly? Wish you could feel that spiritual connection throughout the day instead of just when you're in church, or quiet, or meditating? It's always there: just breathe.



1 comment:

Maureen said...

Good post!

Thank you for sharing all the wonderful meditation tips and stress relievers. They do work, I think.