What has your body done for you lately?
So much of the time we are either taking our bodies for granted or actively
disparaging them. And yet they keep serving us, day after day. Take a few
moments to think about how your body has been loyally functioning on your
A note on meditation: There is no
"right" way to reflect. You might want to simply read through
the following, or you might want to print off this page and have someone read it
to you, or you can make a tape of yourself reading the words. You can do a
relaxation first, or not. You might want to have a journal ready to write
down what you feel as you finish the meditation.
If you feel like you need to stop at any time, please do so. You may
experience powerful feelings from doing meditation, or no feelings, or anything
in between. If you have painful emotions emerge, please treat yourself gently.
Doing an exercise that puts you in touch with your body may put you in touch
with emotions you have "lived above the chin" to avoid. Treat
yourself with compassion. You might like some comforting - a hug or
a soothing bath or a talk with a trusted friend. Consider writing down
what you are feeling.
You can do this meditation more than once; in fact, it can be a regular
practice to help you build up an appreciation for your body.
* * * *
If you would like to do the relaxation first: Close your
eyes and let your awareness settle gradually on your breath, traveling in . .
and out. You do not need to try to breathe, your breath just breathes itself
effortlessly. Allow yourself to feel the support of the cushions beneath you and
behind you, the floor beneath your feet. Notice any sensations in your body:
places where you may feel an itch, or an ache, chill or warmth, or an emptiness,
or a fullness . . . or even places that seem to have disappeared and feel numb.
Just sit with this awareness of you body for a moment.
Imagine the path of your breath, traveling into and out of your body.
As it comes in it warms your body, flowing through your nose, down your throat,
into your lungs. You can imagine that it keeps flowing down, warming your
stomach, your pelvis, radiating out into your limbs, all the way to the tips of
your fingers and toes. Your breath travels through your body, and as you
breath out, you take any tension that it finds out of your body. Like a warm
ocean wave, your breath brings in relaxation, and takes away tension. Feel
these waves for a few moments.
* * * *
Now listen to all the ways that you may have experienced a gift from your
body lately. As you listen, let your mind create pictures of the recent past,
pictures that fade in and out, creating a kaleidescope of images.
Perhaps your body has:
� Fought off an infection
� Taken you to the top of a hill
� Stayed awake so you could drive home safely
� Learned a new physical skill
� Rewarded you with the sight of a sunset
� Healed a bruise
� Given you a new sensual sensation
� Gotten stronger
� Kept working despite being in pain
� Expressed a strong emotion through your face or
� Created another human being
� Defended you from an attack, or healed from an
� Grown into its current form from two cells: a
sperm and an egg
� Given you sexual pleasure
� Let you know through pain that something needs
� Released you from pain
� Given you the sound of children laughing
� Rejuvenated during sleep
� Allowed you to feel the exquisite touch of
Notice any feelings you are having as you let these images come and go.
Perhaps you are feeling some positive feelings toward your body, and perhaps
there are also some angry or frustrated feelings too. Let all of your feelings
be present and just notice them.
Think of one thing in particular that you appreciate. It may be hard, but
try to let a focus happen.
Let yourself feel the specialness of this gift from your body, the awe and
wonder of it. What would you like to say to your "body self"? Create
a phrase that expresses your appreciation. What phrase captures your sense of
appreciation for this gift? Take some time to let this phrase form in your
Now say your phrase to your body self. Notice how you feel saying it, and
how you feel hearing it.
Maybe this is something you could make time to say more often.
Think of a time during your day when you want to be aware of this body
appreciation. It could be any time of your day, but pick a situation that
usually happens as a matter of your daily routine already. Whatever this time
and place is, it only needs to allow you a few moments of reflection.
What is happening at this time of day? Visualize the environment in as much
detail as possible - sights, sounds, smells, sensations of touch, temperature,
texture, etc. Now visualize yourself saying your body appreciation phrase.
Imagine yourself having feelings about saying it, and hearing yourself say it.
Resolve to let this situation trigger the thought of your body appreciation
phrase so that you can feel this appreciation for your body, sincerely and
deeply, every day.
Notice any thoughts or feelings you are having before you allow your
awareness to return to your surroundings.
* * * *
Now you may want to write about the feelings that came up for you during
the meditation. Remember, you may have had powerful feelings or no
feelings, or anything in between. There is no "right" set of
feelings or images. Try to encourage an attitude of curiosity and respect for
whatever your experience is.
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