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.
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.”