The Body Temple

Torri (Shinto Gate)        
The entrance to the temple.  How do I start treating my body with the reverence and respect that is clearly represented in these incredible temples in Japan.

Torri (Shinto Gate)
The entrance to the temple. How do I start treating my body with the reverence and respect that is clearly represented in these incredible temples in Japan.

It is monday. Ah monday. This could be a day of excitement as I head into my week of new possibilities or a day of dread as I lift myself up to my responsibilities and commitments. It could be a day of wonder, filled with questions about what new things will open up in my consciousness and awareness or it could be a day of wanting to get back under the covers and hibernate for a few more months until spring REALLY comes. OR it could be a day of all these things at the same time going on inside of me and here I am just letting them be there and listening.

It is a monday that is following a great weekend with my loving partner Karen. A weekend where I cooked two delicious meals that I hadn’t cooked before and we ate them consciously, filled with gratitude to be together living in this life.

The first meal was Chicken Breasts stuffed with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, feta cheese and parsley. It was served with fried okra dusted in little corn flake crumbs and boiled yukon gold potatoes. It was a wonderful meal and I didn’t finish the chicken or the potatoes and we had lots leftover for other meals this coming week. The second meal was a Curried Pork Loaf with a curried white sauce, served with the leftover potatoes and swiss chard. I did a great job at creating portion appropriate plates, I think, that were about half as much as I would have put on my plate a couple of months ago. Staying conscious of a full belly and taste buds that were bored or not I still finished what was on my plate. I looked after the meal to see if there was anyplace I could have stopped and not felt I was stopping to be good or because I should but because my body said “stop” and I couldn’t find it. I was very pleased to send Karen off to work this morning with leftovers from both meals for her to savor this week.

I think I did a pretty good job at the most challenging part for me, which was holding a conversation and connection with Karen during dinner without losing consciousness around the eating. Sometimes I would stop and tune in or appreciate or sometimes she would. Once or twice I caught myself chewing the last bite faster in order to say something, or hardly chewing at all. I really can see the mechanism for eating fast and unconsciously when I am in social situations where the connections and the ideas are more important then the food and the connection with my body. I need to do what I can to flip that habit, as I think it may be the biggest threat to my ultimate success in making this transformation.

Finally, Karen and I went and saw Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler on Saturday and were blown away by his acting in the role. He plays an over the hill professional wrestler who won’t quit and head for the pasture. Here is a man who has spent his whole life dominating his body and abusing it over and over again in so many ways, and yet he is “buff” and has the kind of body that many people think they want and that they abuse there bodies to make. The same can be said to be true for the absurdly skinny models on the covers of magazines that so many teenaged girls learn to emulate and then proceed to abuse their bodies to achieve. The bizarre part of this was that here was a guy who counted on his muscles and his body to do this awful stuff to itself. The more I think about it I realize I have done the same thing in my own way and that many of us in this day and age do the same thing. We have no love for our bodies, instead we ignore them, abuse them, and expect them to deliver for us and then are shocked when they give up on us. Wow this is truly messed up. The more I contemplate this the more prevalent I see it is. It is even in the “healthfood” movement, where I see these anorexic young people thinking they are loving the temple of their bodies when they are also dominating their bodies to fit an idea they have about how it should be. It seems to me there should be a profession started that is about teaching people to truly open up a conscious relationship with this body that is there to shelter and nurture their journey in this lifetime. I am realizing that there isn’t a relationship on earth that is more important for me to pay attention to then this one.

One response to “The Body Temple

  1. WB Daryl
    So beautifully written Henry. I love the melody you weave. AND here’s a quote from the front page of my nutritionist’s website:

    “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”- Lendon Smith, MD

    Press on my friend. I’m SO admiring you. Love Daryl
    Monday, January 26, 2009 – 01:18 PM

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