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Helping you navigate through the second half of life with clarity, vision and purpose

Is This My Body?

© 2011 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

I first injured my knee in 2003. I was jogging on a treadmill and noticed pain in my knee. The pain didn’t go away that night, but I went back to the gym the next day. “What me? I don’t get injuries”, was my inner thinking. So of course, the pain increased.  I decided not to go to the gym for a while, but I didn’t seek medical help.  This is called Denial.  I refused to recognize what was going on.  I was lying on the couch complaining about my knee and my daughter suggested I go to a doctor or physiotherapist.  Which I did, two months later!  My inner voice was asking: Is this my body? Is this actually happening?

Later, in 2009 I was going to hot yoga classes, and I tore the cartilage in the same knee in a deep knee posture. Snap!  I felt it tear. That was the end of the hot yoga classes.  It took over a year to get the right specialist, an MRI and finally knee surgery in 2010.  Surgery did not fit my self-image!  I had to surrender and see that I had overtaxed my knees for a very long time.

I think many of us have similar experiences with our bodies and our health. We are operating from the past e.g. I used to easily run around the Sea Wall in Vancouver. And participate in the 10 km Sun Run.  Those days are gone for me. I cannot run now. I have had to let go of running. I now accept this and see what exercises I can do.  I have a bicycle and often bike along the river near where I live. I can use the elliptical trainer, the  bicycle and the rowing machine at the gym.  As some activities are no longer possible, we need to look at what works for us now.

It is frequently a challenge to accept the changes taking place in our bodies. Especially in our 50’s, 60’s and older, we all have some issues with our health.  Our skin is becoming dry and wrinkled, our hair thinning, our bones more brittle, our cardiovascular rate is changing and our senses are not as acute. Weight gain is common. We also experience the loss of beauty and can feel invisible as we are passed by.  We walk by a store window and see our reflection: Is this me? Is this my body?

One of the best things you can do for yourself at this time in life is come to ACCEPTANCE. That means, accepting what is happening: accepting the changes in your looks and your health. It’s when we resist change that we come into difficulty. Instead of saying “No, No, not me!” can you say: “I am willing to love and accept myself exactly as I am.”

We often hear advice about getting older:  Stay active!   This seems obvious, but I am finding it to be so true. I have always found exercise that I like and I notice at this time in my life that regular exercise is of great benefit. I feel wonderful riding my bike along the river. I enjoy Hatha yoga and stretching. I drink more water.  I respect my body more. When I was younger, I took it for granted. Now I treasure it more.

Contemplations:

  1. How has your body been a friend to you throughout your life?
  2. How has your body felt less than a friend? Has it betrayed you?
  3. How do you talk to your body? Do you appreciate it?

Thank your body for all the ways it serves you every day. Marvel at all its functions and its beauty. Take a moment to remember that all the systems of your body continue to function 24/7, without you consciously thinking about them. Finally, take three deep breaths and give thanks for being able to breathe.