It’s easy to look at the contours of a forest and feel a bone deep love for nature. It’s less easy to remember that the contours of your own mind and body represent the exact same nature…and deserve the same love.
-Jarod K. Anderson, shared by Rev. Emma in Mindoro, WI
So many of us carry around guilt for not following a perfect diet or maintaining a never-changing sleep schedule in the name of productivity, but I am quite taken with the idea that productivity isn’t the whole point of our existence. To voluntarily fall from great heights with only a bungee cord attached to our ankles is illogical from a survival standpoint, but we have moved into a place in our history as a species where survival is no longer the only objective. The body is a marvel, this is true, but it is not a work of art meant only to be admired from behind a wall of glass. The beauty of the body is in the use of it, in all its irrational pursuits, in all its violent delights.
-Jessie Gould, written and shared by Jessie in Los Angeles, CA
I make it a point to plug the many benefits of optimizing our health In just about every talk I give. Besides the obvious benefit of increasing the chances we can experience a longer and healthier life, I believe passionately that anything we do to boost our physical, emotional, and spiritual health improves our effectiveness and our enjoyment of all aspects of life: work, relationships, playtime, etc.
I ALSO believe very strongly that lots of the messaging around “optimizing health” can too easily get warped. Unhelpful (and also unhealthy) messages about how we’re supposed to look, how much we’re supposed to weigh, and what constitutes healthiness are pervasive in our society, and sometimes come from people and institutions that we mistakenly believe have our best interests in mind.
I think even well-intentioned strategies for promoting health can get misconstrued and lead people to feel trapped by seeing health as restricting ourselves to an unrealisticlly limited set of foods, portions, activities, etc. And then avoiding all these other “bad” things as if they are poisonous and sent from the devil.
How about for today we pause long enough to take a few deep “Here, Now” breaths, then embrace ourselves just as we are…complete with our imperfect bodies, quirky minds, and an entirely human existence?
Might we want to make a few tweaks here and there or wish things were different? Sure, that’s allowed.
Can those exist while still wholeheartedly embracing ourselves just as we are? Absolutely.