B: Body

These are very short excerpts from Susan E. Schwartz and my book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan Schwartz is identified by SES, and Susan Scott by SS and italicised.

SS: But what about when we are incapacitated by a fall, a twisted ankle, a broken wrist? Or when rheumatism or arthritis slays us with pain? Or those horrible illnesses that are life threatening? We find ourselves unable to perform simple tasks we took for granted all the days before. For many of us, it is only when our bodies seem to have failed us through no apparent cause of our own that we note its significance and feel perhaps an undefined sense of betrayal. We’re forced into connection with our bodies and it brings into sharp relief how much we take them for granted, in the same way we take breathing for granted. pg 14

SES: As we know so well, the approach to our body is fraught with both yes and no. Too rarely is there care, real soul care and tenderness bestowed upon our bodies. Unfortunately, too many of us learned to put ourselves down, wait for the right weight that never happens and generally, continue to be dissatisfied.  This stage of life requires minute and sacred attending to health, strength, illness and injury. We regenerate, but more slowly; we recover, but in time. …Our bodies are the palettes on which we express. Our bodies keep us in this world, defining who we are. Daily the body calls. How we choose to answer remains the question. pg 21 Chapter 2: Body

 ‘Our own body is the best health system we have – If we knew how to listen to it’.

Christine Northrup

38 Comments on AtoZ Blog Challenge B Body

  1. That’s for saying how hard it is to accept the “betrayal of the body,” Susan. I struggle to love the wounded parts of myself, the “unlovable” parts.

      • Elaine, I’m so sorry I’m coming by your comment only now – it’s pretty hard to accept the unloveable/wounded parts as I know only too well .. yet the wound is the path …

  2. I was faced with some health issues a few years ago that did indeed leave me feeling betrayed by my body. I felt like a stranger in my own skin, as odd as that might sound. Now, I take much better care of myself, and am very appreciative of the body that carries me around in life. 🙂

    • What a graphic description Sara, a stranger in your own skin – I can only imagine but get the sense of it if I put myself in your shoes … Our bodies are amazing vehicles 🙂 all that is in them and on the outside. May your care and appreciation towards it continue and full and vibrant health be yours .. thank you for coming by ..

  3. I know I should not ignore the inevitable, a time when everything shuts down, but right now I’m listening more to the aches and pains that come when I ignore exercise. I’m empowered to take care of my body, eat healthy, pursue writing, and pay attention to others I can honestly help. I feel I’ve been given a window in time and feel very blessed. Thanks for sharing and engaging all of us in this conversation.

    “Female Scientists Before Our Time”

    • Thanks Sharon so much – ‘a window of time’ and feeling empowered by paying attention are enlivening and powerful words.

  4. Like most women who I know I have a love/hate relationship with my body. Lately it’s been speaking to me in cellulite and wrinkles, which is a language that I find difficult to interpret. But I’m working on it!

    • You speak for many of us Ally Bean. That language is foreign indeed :), harder than French and one of the most difficult …

  5. This post made me think about how childhood comments can haunt a person and affect body image.
    As a child, I was always a slender person with slim arms and legs.
    My family teased me about my arms, so I never ever wore sleeveless garments…and this continued for a long, long time.
    Only when I reached my late forties did I start to wear sleeveless blouses/dresses. Now I’m over it. LOL
    But it played on my mind for YEARS! Sounds silly now, but it was a real fear during those years. 🙂

    • These sorts of things are deeply embedded aren’t they Michelle with far reaching consequences. I’m also over the whole thing of my arms – did we wear sleeves as a way of ‘arming’ ourselves against potential hARMful comments? Good on you for wearing sleeveless and maybe even a purple hat? Thank you for coming by and sharing your fears –

  6. Agree with you SS & SES – my body gave me the signal that i have taken for granted and I realised that somehow I must now focus and on priority give the body its due. I am glad to have begun my morning walks again; made a few dietary changes and yes am learning to be gentle and loving to my body, listening to what it has to say. Better late than never, feeling so light and can see the way body is supporting me and there is a sacredness and gratitude in the way I perceive it now… after all it has sustained me for last 55 years of my life… Thanks for sharing !

    • You’re right Genevive, it’s never too late to start giving the body its due and, as you say ‘… learning to be gentle and loving to my body, listening to what it has to say’. And also, your words… ‘.. a sacredness and gratitude in the way I perceive it now’. Thank you for coming by and adding your rich comment.

  7. Dear Susan, The wisdom that glitters on this page is pure, inner gold! For other than cosmetic care, many of us remain disconnected from our bodies … bodies like Susanne acknowledges that we’ve been through so much with and “the palettes on which we express” ourselves, love that! Loving all your rich responses, and comments.

    A couple of years ago it was my relationship with my body that prompted me to start my own journey of love with my body, I call it “The Animus Diet” and have posted (Part 1 & 2) on my poetry blog with Part 3, to be written as soon as I’ve completed my Fool’s (Tarot) journey. I hope the day finds you well. Blessings always, Deborah.

    • Thank you Deborah for coming by! That relationship we have with our bodies is so complex. I well remember your animus diet posts, so powerful. I hope others visit. The comments are always so lovely, broadening and gratifying, including yours of course! Blessings (lovely B word) coming your way from too, thank you.

  8. My body has been getting a thorough work-out of late. Sorting stuff in my aunt’s house and dragging the dross to the curb is tiring. So is walking to the grocery store with a backpack instead of driving there and back. Plus Pilates and power pump classes at the gym.

    I may wear out, but I won’t rust out, Susan! 🙂

    • There is simply no danger of your getting any rust or dust on you Marian, with all that physical activity – I am envious! I’ve already taken a leaf or two out of your book. Haven’t progressed to power pump classes … maybe I’ll give it a try, though it sounds rather trying. Thank you for coming by!

  9. Well said. It seems so easy to neglect our bodies when it is healthy. Only when something ‘breaks’ or malfunctions in some way that we then appreciate it for what it usually does – and it is then we change the lens of perception.

    • Thanks Shilpa … it is amazing as you say, that it is only when something ‘breaks’ or malfunctions that we pay attention … and ‘..our lens of perception changes …’ to paraphrase your lovely words …

  10. Great reminders, Susan. So important listening to our bodies, yet we keep ignoring the signs. I like to go hiking, for example, something I haven’t done in a while. When I started again, my legs would give out from under me, but I kept pushing, until I finally had to stop and take a long break. So, I went back to leg exercises, strengthening the leg muscles, first — something I should have done before resuming hiking, and now going up the hill is a joy.
    Lovely post once again. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your comment Silvia. What a lovely story of your hiking and pushing on in spite of the arduousness of it. I find that too – eg at gym there is an exercise that when I first attempted it, I thought, no, never, this is impossible. Now to my joy, it is not so bad after all! It’s an achievement when our bodies reward us 🙂

  11. Considering how poorly I do at taking care of my body, I feel like I’m still in pretty good shape. Still though I feel those limitations that prevent me from doing things I used to do. And some of those crazy intermittent aches and pains that seem to come from nowhere seem to be signals of physical difficulties soon to come.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Thanks Arlee for coming by … some constitutions seem to be stronger than they should be, given how little we sometimes care for them. I know this from personal experience. But when I get those aches and pains I take that as a signal to do better ..

  12. Hi Susan – we need to take care of our body – eat fresh and healthily, exercise and walk, keep our brains alive – be interested, get out and meet others, be prepared for any eventualities … we never know what is going to happen – cheers Hilary

    • Hi Hilary – be prepared for any eventualities – reminds me of Louis Pasteur’s quote: Chance favours the prepared mind. Soo much is happening here in SA … our political leaders in the highest of places are going rogue, and while we feel the earthquakes of that, we actually had several real earthquakes here in SA and also in Botswana … more and more reason to take care of ourselves as you delightfully describe, thank you. Cheers to you, Susan

  13. I think your statements are fabulous examples and reasons for us to stay in the “here and now.” We need to learn to accept ourselves as we are. We can’t stay in the dream world of what we wish we were. Also, it is important to allow our bodies time to repair after a fall or surgery. Being impatient… it can be hard to wait to reclaim our strength.

    I love your comment “bringing love, care and concern to our bodies is a step in the right direction.” We need to care for ourselves as we would for others… easy said, but not so easy to do sometimes.

    Thanks for your fabulous words of wisdom!

    • Thank you dear Gwynn for coming by. You know so well the need for patience in recovery especially given the condition you were born with. And bravely born and managed! And so true, to care for ourselves as well as we care for others … easier said than done I agree!

  14. I’ve been thinking about body and aging so much lately – and how becoming “less bendy” in body often shows up as “less bendy” in thoughts and emotions as well. And that leads me right onto the yoga mat. 🙂

    • To be flexible and bendy in mind, body and spirit is surely a healthy thing thank you for the reminder Deborah! I’ll aim for the yoga mat too …

  15. Dear Susan;
    Does the body dismay many? Are we overwhelmed and feel powerless or do we take the opportunity daily to be in our bodies with joy and pride?

    • Important questions thank you Susan. It IS an opportunity to finally take care if we have not before and to take delight in our bodies for all that it can (or even cannot) do ..

  16. Starting to love and accept your body is one of the better things of growing older. Knowing that you have been through so much together… I remember how betrayed my mother felt when her body started to give up on her. I think you both express how important it is to listen to the voice of the soul as it is expressed in the body.

    • Thank you Susanne for your comment. Yes, there can be that sense of betrayal when our bodies fail us through no fault of our own which makes it extra hard hard to bear. Bringing love, care and concern to our bodies is a step in the right direction – (I don’t always listen to my own advice, though I’m trying -).

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