My word for 2014 is Body. I love having a word for the year, as it’s not a resolution I can break. It’s not all over if I don’t meet goals or self-improve. It just helps me pay attention to something, and how I’m doing with it.
Last year my word was Home, and it continues to simmer away. I am slowly growing in gratitude and care for my home and becoming a bit more honest with myself about my place and privilege in the world.
Anyway: Body. So far this year what I have been paying attention to is my lack of will-power and shocking lack of interest , at times, in caring for my body.
I breastfed my babies for over a year, I whipped up Annabel Karmel storms in the kitchen… but my sense of care and responsibility rarely extends to myself.
Now I’m ready to dig a bit deeper, to explore what’s really going on with my attitude and habits, and to bring some other voices into the conversation with some guest posts over the next few months.
You may have heard the comic recounting of the 4 day detox Chris and I attempted a few weeks ago. The short story is that Chris’s skin is glowing, his pee is clear, his body recharged. He went for a run on the final evening. As for me, I quit, and I will never ever in all of my days attempt such a thing again. I am not dismissing their value for specific reasons, but not for me. There are so many small things that I can, and should, be doing to improve my health and the plate in front of me. Truthfully, I reached for what I thought was the fast-pass with the big results. 4 days to radiance and vitality! Now I’m nursing my morning cup of tea, which no green drink is going to replace again, thinking of the small, daily things that I’m going to choose instead.
I asked Anne Lamott, whom I consider to be the Patron Saint of Self-Care and Sane Body-Perspective, if she would share some of her wisdom here:
The ultimate reason our bodies matter so profoundly is because of our souls–the truth of our spiritual identity. And we can tend to our souls, which is a way of serving God, by tending to our bodies.
We are told by every great spiritual teacher to get glasses of water for the thirsty, which we love to do, unless it’s us.
We know when people are lonely, ill or distressed, that we can rub healing delicious lotions onto their skin. This is a a form of laying on of hands–and it is so amazing when we can express care and tenderness for ourselves that way, instead of with the constant picking.
It’s a radical action. We can change the world.
When we get into this I/Thou with ourselves, it makes is more likely that we will feed ourselves food that fills us with health, instead of shoveling in garbage.
I tell people to prepare meals for themselves as they would for their pastor or fiancee’s favorite aunt–you wouldn’t hand them a jar of Pringles. You’d make a platter of food that was colorful, pretty, delicious, so the person would feel delight and appreciate.
So this is how to proceed with ourselves.
Anne Lamott is a writer, mom, nana and activist. She is author of New York Times bestsellers such as Some Assembly required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; and Traveling Mercies, as well as novels including Imperfect Birds and Blue Shoe. She is beloved by Oprah Winfrey and Wee Frizz. She is appearing at Greenbelt next week so if there was ever a year to go this would be it! Twitter:@ANNELAMOTT
(Read rest of series so far here)