How To Talk To Our Bodies

With gratitude, receptiveness and reverence, I would humbly submit.

If you’re breathing right now, and I am guessing that you are, your body is achieving some amazing, highly complex activity, as you know.  Same for reading.  I’m not conversant with all of the science behind the body’s doings and potential, but I know enough to appreciate the countless miracles each of our bodies accomplishes on the regular.

As a dancer, I’ve been astonished by the human body’s breathtaking feats that I’ve witnessed by gifted dancers.  But, truly, the so-called “simple” acts that our bodies perform endlessly, ones like writing and circulating blood throughout our ecosystems and raising our arms and walking, involve an amazing choreography of a zillion parts.  Choreography that deserves standing ovations and deep admiration and appreciation.

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I’d like to say that I express that appreciation to my body all the time.  Yet, that wouldn’t be true.  What I am practicing more is the grateful acknowledgement to my body of what it is doing, as well as listening to it and trying to work with it.  Just as I would treat a treasured dance partner.

The way I got here is, in part, the focus on physicality that is a constant for us dancers.  But also I am increasingly aware of how often people denigrate their bodies, especially what are perceived as physical limitations.

I was musing over this recently after hearing different folks bemoan a “bum” knee or a “bad” hip.  It reminded me of how, when I teach dance, people very often apologize for being “a klutz” or “hopeless” or “a lousy dancer.  Going back to the analogy of the dance partner, how do we believe those negative signals will be received by our bodies?  The body in its boundless wisdom responds expansively, like all living creatures, to the treasure of kindness.

Perhaps you already treat your body like a wondrous creature.  If so, yay for you!

If not, I’d invite you to reconsider.  And follow the advice of the inimitable modern dance pioneer, Martha Graham:

The body is a sacred garment.  It’s your first and last garment; it’s what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor.”

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This entry was posted in Dance, Inspiration, Kindness/Generosity, possibility and expansiveness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to How To Talk To Our Bodies

  1. I have some of the aches and pains and stiffness that Coe with an older body that is not used and pushed enough.
    Yet every day I appreciate the miracle of my body: the things I can do, the way it can move the way I am still able to push it. There are moments I feel so fluid!

  2. Rachael says:

    This is a beautifully written piece, Chloe. As you often do for me, it is timely. As I think I may have mentioned, I have RA, but responding to the discomfort with kindness and love (not all the time but I try) these last two years it is much improved, and mostly I simply forget it is there. When it niggles I remember not to complain and fight it as I used to do, but to go gently and treat my body with the tenderness and gratitude it deserves. My body always listens and hears, bodies learn super quickly. It was a huge lesson for me. Thank you my friend for this gorgeous reminder. Much love xxx

  3. Eileen says:

    I am still in therapy for my reverse shoulder replacement after falling and breaking it in three places. In the beginning I needed to massage the long knotted painful scar and found it difficult. But as I began to feel it respond to the tender, but firm massage, I became so appreciative and fond of my poor wounded shoulder. And with each improvement I rejoiced in being able to feed myself with my dominant hand and finally bathe and dress myself and lift things. I became so grateful for each small recovery, that each day brought new joy even though sometimes there was still a lot of pain involved. I am much more careful in how I treat my body now. And since I was scheduled for knee replacement before this happened, I talk to my knee and thank it each day for remaining functional and pain free from just a shot, since I can’t have surgery yet.
    I am seventy-nine and short and rather lumpy, so it is rather lovely to feel so appreciative of my body.

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