{Truth-telling} Self Love, Self Care and Recovery

I’m still mastering the art of self care. I always will be. It’s a lifelong lesson to love myself and put this practice in the forefront of my life.

Today I was lying down to take a break (self care win) while giving myself Reiki. I had three options for the evening: door 1: yoga, door 2: reiki share and door 3: step study at church. 

Lying there, I asked myself which option I’d like to choose. My body said more rest but my mind said yoga. Even though yoga is something I never regret doing, oftentimes my body needs to rest (even more than I already had).

Even so, I rushed out of the house to get to yoga in time. Three minutes into my drive, I remembered this yoga class is on Monday and Wednesday. It was Tuesday. Not only did my body need to rest, but my mind needed a break too.

I considered the other two doors for the evening before I thought back to my body's request: door 4. Slow down. Do less. Be.

I heeded this call albeit I took a backwards route to get there. I’ve found in my journey to honor my body and love myself that my body always knows what it needs. It has a very subtle way of communicating those needs (unless it’s been ignored for too long in which case the symptoms and signs are rather alarming and clear). The issue is not listening to my body but in quieting my mind so I can tune into the subtle signals from my body. And then comes the hardest part: honoring what I need and forgoing what I think I need. 

I thought I needed yoga which was a story I created in my mind. My body was already communicating long before I decided on an alternative plan for the evening. 

Our body is constantly speaking to us through sensation and feeling and emotion. If we take the time to slow down, listen to its queues and finally honor what we are receiving, our body can remain in the harmonious state of balance through adequate rest, movement, nourishment and nutrition. 

The longer we ignore these queues and push through (as we all attempt to), the farther off balance we become. When we lose balance, we lose harmony. When we lose harmony, we lose vital health. 

There is a mind body connection that occurs in our subtle energy body that is an excellent communicator. They speak to each other all day long. But then life and other priorities and pressures build up and before we know it, we’ve completely squandered our bodies needs and listened to our head. Our mind has been taught to push, ignore and resent our bodies. This cycle perpetuates until we hit a wall. This proverbial wall, according to the body, is the only way to gain our attention; we’ve ignored the subtle signs and signals. The cry for rest, the major weight gain, the weight loss, overdoing it with exercise, not exercising enough, recurring headaches, the loss of sensation in a body part—the list goes on but regardless of the symptom, it’s simply a way to send a message to our brain (where we can receive and compute what this sensation is telling us and where it is).

The body wasn’t created to be on go mode all the time. In fact, we are meant to rest far more than we ever do. In some cases, we need to move far more than we ever do. When humans were created, there was no five day work week, pressure to get ahead and succeed or endless distractions to pull us away from our priorities. 

This I know for sure: our body and health is a priority. We only get one vehicle to travel through life with. I’ve overcome one health battle after another; I know what it is like to have poor health. I know what it’s like to have thriving health. And I know what it’s like to be everywhere in between. Now that I’ve gotten to where I am, there’s nothing I would do to abuse my body. And yet I’ve continued to abuse it to squelch the very pressures of life that present themselves. I continued to eat to numb my feelings and stress. 

Overeating has been a battle of endless struggles, but I am grateful to be on the side of recovery. I’m grateful to start stepping into the self love that I’ve never known so I can respect this body and let it carry me into my 100s.

Nothing I put into my mouth beyond what my body needs for fuel is ever worth trading in optimal health for. When I’m 90, I won’t care about the ice cream I just had to have to drown out the stress from my day. I’ll only care that my body continues to support me through the years so I can enjoy life and live my passion for as long as I’m in this blessed body.

So, from one heart to another, if you struggle with food (or any unhealthy habit or behavior) I urge you to seek help. This body is a sacred temple and it is meant to last if you treat it with love and respect. We can’t overcome what we’ve known until we step into the unknowns of recovery. Let me be the first of hopefully many gratefully recovering people to say that there’s hope. It gets better. It’s not easy but it’s endlessly rewarding to step into recovery. The rewards far outweigh what we give up in the process. What we gain: freedom, peace, joy, faith, self respect, self love, love for others, and a community of people who “get us” is worth taking the step beyond our comfort zone and into the arms of a loving God and supportive fellowship. 

Resources for recovery: Overeaters Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon (for family and friends of Alcoholics), Co-Dependents Anonymous, and Celebrate Recovery (Christ-Centered recovery)