Oh this body of mine!

Oh this body of mine!

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Mar 9, 2016 3:42 pm

I don't know about you, but most of us ignore our bodies until something goes wrong. We abuse them, put them at risk, deprive them of sleep and in general, work them too hard. While we are ignoring our bodies, they are feeling the effects of our ignorance.

(Don't worry, I am not going to moralize here nor am I going to give you a list of "shoulds")

But when something goes wrong…! It could be as small as a sprained wrist or a broken bone. And it could be as large as a severed spinal cord. But when that happens, we go from ignoring our bodies to resenting them.

After my accident, I used to tell people that my body acted like a terrorist but I had to treat it like a fickle lover. Now that is a crappy relationship! I resented my body-even hated it. I was ashamed of this body. I wouldn't do anything I could to turn my mind away from this broken body. How about you? I tried medication, gambling, I even tried illicit drugs. None of it worked. And that's what we do, we do anything we can to ease the pain of our resentment for our bodies-ourselves.

And now as I age and my body begins to break down, I have a completely different relationship with my body. It's one of gratitude. I think about all of the things I've done to my body and all of the things my body has endured over the course of these last 3 1/2 decades. And still my body does everything it can to keep me alive and thriving best it can. I feel so deeply grateful for this body that has worked so hard. I even feel sad for this body that has suffered over the years.

So my body isn't pretty. And it certainly is not more stable. The opposite. But it's my body and it always has been with me and always will. And I can say that even after my catheter leaked this morning in the middle of a psychotherapy session and I peed all over the floor. Of course I was embarrassed. And then again, my poor bladder.

So what's your relationship like with your body?


Re: Oh this body of mine!

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Jun 15, 2016 4:31 pm

last week I celebrated  my 70th birthday. To be more precise, my birthday was Friday, June 10. On Thursday, June 9, my nurse put me into bed and when she took my pants off and looked at my butt, she said that it didn't look good. There were several open areas without depth, but looking quite fragile.

So I spent my birthday morning at my rehab getting examined. That afternoon, I stayed in bed taking care of my butt. (Which proves that people cover their ass in a variety of different ways!).

I went from the requisite self-pity to fear to sadness and back again.

I thought after the recent shootings in Orlando that despite politicians proclaiming that they had the answers to everything, the sad truth is that we are all vulnerable. Vulnerable to terrorists and vulnerable to a relationship breaking up, and vulnerable to our bodies saying "please take better care of me".

And when we are aware of our vulnerability, we tend to hold hands and get closer to one another. When I told my friends and family what happened and how deeply sad I was, they were there for me. Not many words, just kindness and compassion. I felt less alone.

Isn't that what we all want? To be held when we feel fragile and to be less alone in this world.

Happy birthday to this aging body!

I wish the same compassion for you.

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