Thanksgiving was wonderful, and scrumptious. But as usual, I ate too much scrumptious goodness, too much sugar, stayed up too late, and my body is now struggling to get back into a place of energy and a good schedule. Whenever I think I can separate the physical from the spiritual, mental, and emotional, it doesn’t take long before I get a wake up call. I believe life is more about what goes on underneath the surface than it is about our bodies, but when my body is neglected it becomes quickly apparent that it’s all connected, and one doesn’t work well without the other.
So, this week, here’s how the physical has had an impact on the spiritual side of things for me. I drag myself out of bed late, still tired, and before I have had time to pray or read a verse of scripture, the kids are already up and hungry. Everything gets behind, and I find myself having to jump in to my day before I have asked God what is important for me to do. I find myself running from action to action without a plan and without prioritizing. I get even more exhausted and discouraged by the end of the day when I realize I didn’t do some of the things that mattered most, that I would have been focused on if I had taken the time to stop and connect with the spirit. That, in turn, if I don’t check myself, can turn into the perfect storm of guilt, stress, more exhaustion, and lowering of my spiritual, emotional, and mental state. It can be a vicious cycle. I am getting better at recognizing and shifting the patterns when they begin, but it definitely would be easier if I started with caring for my physical health in the first place!
Our bodies are gifts that help us to realize and create physically and literally the same things we are trying to create through spiritual, mental, and emotional work. We can’t do that fully without a body. It’s like mapping out a wonderful destination and getting in the car ready to go, only to find it is broken down. Yes, you can still walk there, but it will be much harder and take longer. While a sick body can still harbor a healthy spiritual life, a healthy one is much more nourishing to a healthy spirit and mind, and it helps get us where we are trying to go.
There are volumes written on how to have a healthy physical body, so I won’t say much about that beyond a few simple things that really help me, and conversely hinder me if I don’t do them:
1. Go to bed. This is so hard to do sometimes, since the house is finally quiet at night and I just want to stay up and enjoy it. But if I set boundaries for myself and honor those bedtime commitments just like I would an appointment with someone else I care about, the next day will go much smoother.
2. Drink lots of water. This can also be hard to remember – I’ve often joked that I need one of those beer hats with the straw attached (don’t ask me where I saw one, I don’t drink!) just so I always have my water with me. It might sound weird but I feel like the spirit can flow through me more easily when everything else flows and my body has plenty of water. Our bodies are made up mostly of water so they need a lot to work well!
3. Love your body. I talk a lot about loving and nurturing yourself, who you are, your heart, your talents, your mind, your gifts. But loving and appreciating your body enough to treat it kindly and gently and pay close attention to its cues and needs is part of that, too. I have found that when I care more about taking good care of my body and I am listening (more than I am listening to the pumpkin pie calling to me), there is an intuition that comes that helps me know what would be best for me to eat, what kind of exercise would help most, if I need some fresh air, even what remedies would be beneficial to me. I think that is a gift that is available to everyone but most of the time we don’t listen to our bodies so we don’t get those promptings.
I’m going to work on taking my own advice this week. 🙂 All the great ideas in the world don’t mean much if we aren’t alive with enough energy to put them into action.
Empowering Action: Is your physical self a bit neglected? Forgive yourself. Then, grab a glass of water, get some fresh air, and make the choice, starting with small steps, to love and care for the body God gifted you with.