Sunday, May 18, 2014

Respect the body's limits

You should see my client's faces when I give them the Respect your body's limits talk. Sometimes they look confused, quizzical. Sometimes they frown. They look annoyed. I've seen incredulity on their faces, impatience, frustration.

At this moment in history, at least where I live, the body is expected to function perfectly, 24/7. Neither sickness, injury nor fatigue, neither snow nor sleet nor dark of night, nothing - and I do mean nothing - is supposed to keep people from fulfilling every one of their noble plans. We are supposed to work hard, maintain relationships, eat whatever the hell we feel like, exercise hard, complete every to-do list every day, no matter what. It is so unreasonable.

Once upon a time it was OK to rest while recuperating from life's inevitable upsets, ailments and setbacks, but not now. We're supposed to do it all without a hitch, also without decent sleep or a life enhancing quota of fun. When our bodies finally say enough is enough, we come down with a cold or another minor illness, or twist an ankle, or just feel tired, the culturally appropriate response is to be angry with our bodies - as if we are somehow separate from the tender, complicated, remarkable animals that we are. It's mean.

How about a little compassion for your body? I say that to people. I say, If this was happening to your cat or dog, would you yell at the animal? Of course not. You would care for it, make a nice soft bed for it, make sure the animal had everything it needed to get well.

I tell you it is so easy to dish it out. It is much harder to listen to my own advice. The weather in DC is spectacular this weekend and yet I can not be out there because this is the worst of the allergy season, according to my body. If I insisted on being out there, I could go into anaphylaxis, as I did a few years ago. That would be cruel and stupid, too.

Yes I take medicine both modern and ancient (Chinese) for my allergies. It takes the edge off but does not solve the problem. Really all I have to do is wait, be patient and kind to myself. All I need to do is take care of myself. The pollen season is about to end after which I can spend all day outside if I choose to. In the meantime, I'm trying hard to be as kind to myself as I tell my clients to be to themselves. It's not as easy as it sounds when I'm waving my finger at my clients.

Oh well. Closing the windows now, settling on the sofa with my book. Be kind, Reya, please be kind! OK. OK. Shalom.


Kerry said...

Take care of yourself Reya, please do. Hard advice to follow sometimes. (I hope you have a great book to read.)

Anonymous said...

It's a crazy society we live in, where we are supposed to treat our bodies like pieces of machinery instead of biological beings. As I get older, my body resents the inattention more and more, and forces me to respect it. Ah, age...

Memory Echoes said...

Your timing, as usual, is excellent.

Thanks for this. :-)