Deeper Meaning Behind Being Kind to Your Body

Many people find it unusually difficult to actually remember to be kind to their bodies twice a day––once in the morning and once before they go to bed.  Has this been the case for you?

Since receiving this invitation how many times each day have you had an opportunity to be kind to your body – zero, one, two, five, ten, twenty – how many times?  Why is it so easy to forget to be kind to our body?  There are many reasons of course but some of those reasons fall under the rubric of images that we see of body types that are supposed to be ideal; movie actors, athletes, models, you name it.

If you’ll step back however, ask yourself the question, “What have these individuals done to their bodies in order for them to take the particular shape that we see?”  Many models starve themselves with anorexia and risk death.  Many athletes take steroids and they also tend to have early deaths because they have abused their bodies so horribly.  Many actors have facelifts which are painful which impose significant trauma to a body.  These are the ideal body types I ask you?  I don’t think so.

What criticisms do you have of your own body?  Face up to it.  Of course you’re only talking to yourself; you’re only making a confession that you can hear now.  What criticisms do you have?

Are your legs too short? 
Is your belly too fat? 
Are your breasts too small or large? 
Is your hair too wiry or too gray? 
Do you have too many wrinkles? 
Do you have flab under chin? 
Are you muscles like spaghetti? 

What are your criticisms?  Have I landed on any that resonate with you?  You see, all of these are only judgments that we have, judgments of a body that actually is performing miracles for us day in and day out.

The key idea here is that our bodies cannot thrive or heal under such bombardment.  Nothing can thrive under unrelenting criticisms that damage the cells and tissues of our precious bodies.  Children can’t survive these types of insults and attacks.  Pets certainly cannot survive them and by the way, potted plants can’t either!

When we offer workshops we’ll typically bring two potted plants.  One of them, we invite people to be kind to and the other we invite people to ignore.  At the end of just two days, guess which plant is withering away?

As it turns out the mindfulness task of being kind to your body is worth far more than any medicine, surgery or therapy or any origin. Some people believe being kind to your body is a selfish act.  Let me clue you in. If you can’t honestly and genuinely be totally and thoroughly loving to your body, it won’t be possible for you to do the same to others.  If you wish is to be of service to others, the best way to learn how to offer meaningful service to others is to be kind to this precious vehicle that you occupy––this vehicle of your body – day in and day out – even when it does not seem to be functioning quite the way you would prefer.

Honor your body,
Treasure your body,
Thank your body day in and day out for all that it does for you. 

And be patient. Your body will show its appreciation in return for your kindnesses.

Robert

© Parkinsons Recovery

Be Kind to Your Body

The mindfulness challenge this week shifts from the silly and the funny and the specific to a more somber and quite profound assignment.  The invitation is to be kind to your body.  Before I explain how I suggest that you accomplish this task, let me explain the idea behind being kind to our body.

When symptoms flare we can very easily get very angry and upset at our body, even to the point of wanting to occupy another body. These low-vibration thoughts are certainly not in our best and highest good and certainly not in our body’s best and highest good.  Let me explain the dynamic that is involved.  First a story.

When I was ten years old my father, mother and my two brothers took a brief two-week vacation to Daytona Beach, Florida.  I have quite vivid memories of this trip because driving down to Florida from Atlanta my father was in a particularly ornery and mean mood.  Talking to my mother and ignoring the fact that the three children were in back seat of the car, he ranted and raved about how he wished he had never had children. They were too much trouble. They were a huge expense. They were a pain in the ass.  This went on and on throughout our entire trip from Atlanta, Georgia to Daytona, Florida.  Of course my brothers and I felt absolutely awful.

Using this experience as a template we will simply make a short transformation.  Think about the possibility that instead of my whole self being present in the car, only my body occupies the back seat of the car. The words from my father inn the front seat are actually words I am saying to my body which occupies the back seat of the car. In effect, I am saying cruel things to my own body.

Can you imagine how my body actually feels?  Absolutely horrible.  That certainly is not conducive to health, wellness and balance.

One more example – it’s important that you get the gist of what I’m talking about.  Imagine that your body is your loved pet, whether a dog, a cat, a horse, a parakeet or a hamster – a loved pet that was near and dear to you as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult or even now.  Imagine how that pet would feel if you begin to rant negative thoughts at them. Let me reiterate so you just get an idea of how horrible all of this really can be.  Just imagine you’ve got your loved pet on a leash and you have the following  conversation with them:

“You’re just not working very well.  I’m really very disappointed in you.  It seems day in and day out you have these awful problems.  I’m tired of dealing with this problem and quite frankly, I’d like to have another pet.  I’m just sick of it and I want this to be over with.  I want you to get well and I want you to do it quickly. I’m sick and tired of having look at you.”

Now, put yourself in the position of the pet.  The pet obviously is going to feel pretty horrible.  Most pets really do understand what we say. But even if they do not understand the cognitive meaning of these words they will most  certainly feel the energetic surge of negativity.

Well, our bodies are our only bodies. We may be able to get another pet but the body we occupy is all we get. There is no body exchange store. We can’t exchange our body for another one. If we insist on treating it with just these types of accusations and this horrible negativity, our body is not going to respond very well at all.

The challenge this week is to shift our orientation.  Of course our negative thoughts come from an unconscious place and of course they tend to be habitual.  We tend to basically bang up on our bodies because they are not working the way we would prefer them to work.

This week let’s shift that energy to an energy or kindness toward our body.  In the morning when you get up and in the evening before you go to bed, I have an invitation to you.  Say to your body,

May you be free from discomfort. 
May you be at ease. 
May you come into a full balance. 
May you be healthy. 
May you be centered.
May you be balanced. 
May you be calm and at ease. 
Thank you for always being there for me. 
Thank you for all that you do for me. 

Of course what you say to your body will come from your heart and will not necessarily reflect the words that I just used.  It’s probably sufficient when you see yourself in the mirror in the morning and when you see yourself in the mirror in the evening, to simply look and with an open heart say,

“Thank you for all that you do for me.” 

Be kind to your body this week when you get up and when you go to bed and at any other time during the day––send that loving energy to the one that needs it the most right now.

Robert

© Parkinsons Recovery

Deeper Meaning Behind Slowing It Down

Where did my mindfulness challenge of the week to “slow it down” actually originate?  On the Parkinsons Recovery cruise to Alaska in 2010 there was a most delightful woman.  She was in her 80s and showed little evidence of her symptoms whatsoever.  It was clear by her own report that she had experienced Parkinson’s symptoms for 20 or more years.  It was also clear that she had been able to manage her life quite beautifully.

During a time when the entire group was together we were all sharing stories about what therapies and approaches made a difference.  She said that the one thing she learned was most helpful was to plan ahead and give herself plenty of time to do each and every activity.  She said,

“For example, if my husband and I have decided that we’re going to have a dinner party, I don’t wait until the last minute to begin preparing for the party.  I begin preparing the day before.  The day of the party I start quite early in the morning preparing everything that needs to be ready by the time of the party with regard to the food and cleaning up the house. By starting early I mindfully attend to each and every task that needs to be completed before our guests arrive. 

“Twenty years ago”, she reported, “I would have waited until just a few hours before the party started and rushed to get everything ready.  Now, because that creates so much stress and it aggravates my symptoms so desperately, I have learned a different way of living. I mindfully attend to each and every task.  I’m centered. I’m clear. I’m able to focus on the task of the moment rather than worrying about whether everything will actually be done, finished and ready when my guests arrive.”

That is how she approached all tasks in her life; slowly and mindfully, not just tasks involving preparations for parties. Most important of all, she gave herself plenty of time to finish each and every task.

If our day is packed with too many commitments, the difficulty (as it turns out) is that with each activity, we are always watching the clock. We are always thinking,

I must complete the task at hand quickly, because the next task has to start in 15 minutes.” 

Or we think,

I promised my friend that I would be at the coffee shop at ten o’clock.  I must complete this baking task before I actually see her because I promised her that I would bring her my special brownies for her birthday.”

Et cetera. Et cetera.  In other words, we are always focused on the future.  We are always anticipating that we must complete what we are doing now in order to be on time or have enough time to do what we have decided we must complete by the end of the day. We are forever rushing from one task to the next without being mindfully attentive to the task at hand.

Slow it down. Plan. Reduce the number of tasks that you expect to complete in any given day. Marvel at the reduction in stress that your body will experience.

I can assure you that your body will thank you profusely.  I also predict that your symptoms will dissolve like a dirty snowball in the summertime.  May you have a delightful time as you slowly execute each and every task that you undertake this week.

Robert

© Parkinsons Recovery

Slow It Down

The mindfulness challenge this week is to slow everything down.  Yes, this will take more time. I admit this is a consequence of the mindfulness challenge this week.  While this week’s challenge will take more time than is the custom, slowing every task down will have a profound impact on your stress level. Try it. You will like it.

What do I mean when I say, “Slow it down?”  If you are chopping up red peppers for a dinner, when I say slow it down I mean chop up those red peppers slowly and mindfully.  If you are walking from the kitchen to the living room, when I say slow it down I mean to take each step one by one with mindful consciousness, planting one foot after the other using willful intention.

Slow down each and every task that you initiate this week – whatever the task entails – from opening up a car door and getting in, to simply going to the telephone and picking it up to answer a call.

Many individuals who confront neurological challenges have a tendency to push up against any and all tasks. This persistent forcing and pushing fertilizes stress in the body. Because the nature of neurological challenges means that you must some how slow down activities, a war is declared against the enemy of getting tasks done efficiently and effortlessly. If we can’t get it done in a timely fashion, just push through it by God.  This activates stress levels and incites symptoms.

Reverse that tendency.  End that battle now. It is only making the symptoms worse because it feeds your stress level.

Slow down each and every activity.  Enjoy and relish what it means to open up the door to your car, what it means to walk from the kitchen to the living room, what it means to actually cut a red pepper.

To succeed with the challenge to slow tasks down you must plan ahead.  Give yourself at least twice if not three times as much time to accomplish each task. If you are a person who tends to plan out each day, if you are a person who makes a list of activities that must be accomplished, reduce the length of that list in half.  Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish each and every task that you have chosen to engage in.

Notice the profound impact slowing down has on your stress level and be sure to notice what happens to your symptoms. Celebrate the miracle of what it means to be mindful with what you do and how you do it, moment to moment.

Robert

© Parkinsons Recovery