They say true love is about being able to put someone else’s needs above one’s own. For me, body love means that I prioritize my body’s best interests when my mind would have me do otherwise—when it would have me deprive my body for the sake of appeasing its own obsessive tendencies. When I’m tempted to be selfish and hold back, I give—usually in the form of nourishing food, mindful movement, and the experience of pleasure—instead.Yes. This. My body needs nourishing food, movement, and sleep, all in the right quantities (not too much, not too little). Sometimes I don't feel like giving it any of those things. Giving it those things takes work and organization, and sometimes it seems like a deprivation or a punishment. But it isn't -- it is an act of love.
When people eat unhealthy food they call it "indulging." As Christmas approaches, there has been a steady stream of food gifts to my office, and people are doing a lot of indulging. Someone told me this morning that yesterday when she got home she felt sick, and she realized it was because she ate too many sweets at work. I think of "indulging" as involving a pleasure, but what she described didn't have a lot of pleasure in it. She said she didn't even know why she had eaten like that.
I looked up "indulge" in the dictionary, and here's what I got for the first definition:
to yield to an inclination or desire; allow oneself to follow one's will.When I hear "willful" I think of a toddler throwing a tantrum. I think of the id. In the program I belong to, we talk a lot about following the will of a power greater than ourselves. For a lot of people that means God. For me, it means something wiser than my toddler-id-monkey brain. I heard someone say recently that for him the power greater than himself is love and acceptance. It could be love and acceptance of the body and its needs.
Lately I've been giving my body more of what it needs. I haven't been "indulging" in any of the holiday food that sits right outside my office. I am clearly not at total peace about this, as the fact that it's all right outside my office is constantly on my mind, but I haven't struggled. Several times I've said quietly, "Help me get through this." I don't know who or what I'm asking for help -- maybe it is my own body wisdom. All I know is that when I ask for it, I receive it. And I feel love.