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*Title borrowed from Ingrid Michaelson, and one of the best songs ever.

Today I am learning to take my body as it is. I am so accustomed to my body working in the ways it always has (healthy, strong, vibrant) that to be burdened with health issues is as emotionally challenging as it is painful.

I am unable to hold a yoga pose for more than a few seconds. I can’t breathe all the way into my stomach. It takes me longer to ride my bike places because I lose my breath and become dizzy if I ride too fast. I can’t sit for too long due to strange back pain, and due to a fully bloated and bulging stomach. And I can’t eat too much, or too little, because both cause searing pain in the abdomen.

(Don’t worry, all of these things are being investigated by a physician.)

Oddly enough, I am recognizing now that it is only since my body has started “failing” me that I am taking the time to REALLY slow down and appreciate every movement my body does make, every breath I am able to make, each moment I am in less pain than the one before. It’s not easy. I am completely unfamiliar with this kind of awareness. I, who felt SO aware and connected. Ha!

So, as much as things hurt, and as frustrated as I sometimes get, I am trying to take myself as I am, loving my body exactly where it is, and savoring these moments of slowness. I am inspired to go back to making body products in my kitchen, bath bombs and toothpaste and hair rinses from everyday ingredients. Making lotion is one of my FAVORITE things to do! (And friends whose addresses I have, you may be “asked” to try out some yummy new products!) These simple acts of self-care are so nourishing, and they really are helping me to reconnect with my skin, my heart, my core.

Also, I had forgotten how much fun it is to make mix tapes! I remember creating theme tapes as a kid, and I do some “mixing” when creating my radio show, but sitting down with my music collection and making a mix cd (or two) for good friends and sending them along with a love note make my deliriously happy. I didn’t know this until I was spending several hours a day NOT running in highest gear and needed a soundtrack for each occasion. Some of my current (and usual) favorites are Ingrid Michaelson (who I’m hoping to see live in October!), Carolina Chocolate Drops, Kate Bush, and Marina and the Diamonds. And anything I can waltz to.

I believe that some are having a difficult time adjusting to my changing physical abilities. It’s hard to adapt when someone who has always been a workhorse cannot lift a 25-pound box. But I am hoping with time and understanding, both the changes in my body will be accepted AND my body will begin the slow journey to recovering strength and, with it, greater wisdom.

For now I am loving my skin with homemade creams, loving my body with nourishing food and strong tea, and nourishing my heart with good books (including Elizabeth Lesser’s Broken Open and Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry) and my trusty moleskine journal. With mugs of warm water and lots of soothing music, I am feeling blessed and blissed by this time of retreat and re-examination of my body, my heart, my spirit.

How are you reconnecting with your body and spirit these days? What are your favorite soul-nourishing activities?