She curls up in a ball, in the dark, after another child is taken from her dreams to her nightmares. The world tells her it's no big deal, and she watches as if from a great distance as another friend gives birth to another baby....
Every part of her wants to run far away from the doctor's office: the place where her biggest fear is realised, and she hears the word she dreaded most. Maybe the word is cancer. Or stroke. Or diabetes. Or infertile. Or terminal...
A woman stands alone in front of the mirror, looking with a sense of disbelief and horror at what her condition and time have ravaged across her body. She wants to hide from the one who loves her, and she fears what has happened to her may be stronger than that love...
Another woman is filled with revulsion when she is forced to be confronted by the most taboo parts of her body. She is scared to be too far from a bathroom, and feels embarrassed and ashamed. It's easier to be alone than to go out and meet her friends, and she is hurt by how quickly they begin to move on...
Can you relate to any of these women? Have you been let down by your body in a massive way? One of the hardest things about it can be that the very experience sets us apart from the world, and even apart from our own body. These women have different paths that led them to this point, and may have different regrets, fears and struggles. But one thought bound to cross their minds - as it has mine - is "How can my body do this to me?"
Feeling let down by our body can leave us fractured through our very soul. We battle daily with the enemy we must carry around wherever we go. We feel betrayed. And the more our body has let us down, the more we are told we must take care of it. There's a disconnect and pain that others don't understand.
Nothing I say here on this page today can change the health of our bodies - yours or mine. And I can't speak for your journey or your truth in getting through these challenges. But in love I offer you one thing that has helped me - the paradigm shift of truly connecting to your body.
At one point in recent years, shortly after I made the choice in my own heart to build resilience and learn to get up again after Life had knocked me over, I decided to have a conversation with my body. I could not bear to continue carrying around this burden any longer of having a lack of peace with it. The conversation would be about me attempting to forgive it for what it had put me through. Or so I thought.
Sidebar... I'd recently started studying naturopathy (natural medicine) and re-learning about the physiology of the body. There is one law that each of our bodies always obeys to the best of its ability: The Law of Homeostasis. This is the absolute scientific law of returning our health to balance, of continual correction. Your body is doing this now. Mine is too. You see, disease is not something the body does to us. All our body does to us is devote all of its energy and capacity into coping with invasion, disruption and disease, to create the best outcome for us that it possibly can. Our body would keep us alive and in perfect health for eternity if it possibly could. Our body forgives us when we fill it with rubbish, and tries to right itself. Our body compensates when we don't sleep. Our bodies give everything to combating that problem, just as we do.
So when I was lying awake one night, prepared to offer my body a forgiveness I didn't yet feel... it suddenly occurred to me. Our bodies never let us down at all. There is nothing to forgive it for.
These words might give rise to a mixture of emotions from relief to resistance. But through all that, I'd like you to consider this: if the child you love most in the world had this illness that you have had, would you feel anger at that child's body? Or would you gather that little body into your arms and whisper, "I'm so sorry this has happened to you. You are doing your best. I will love and support you no matter what. Have courage. Keep going".
And that is how my conversation ended up. When I truly connected my heart to my body with a genuine desire to communicate, I realised my body was not the enemy I carried at all. It was the beloved who always takes the journey with me.
If you don't yet have words of your own to get you through, trust that they will come, and allow yourself the connection to your body where it can happen. And if you too find yourself lying awake one night, overwhelmed with the same sense of betrayal, place your hands on your heart and join my whisper,
"I'm so sorry this has happened. You are doing your best. I love and support you no matter what. Have courage. Keep going".
If you'd like to develop a healthier relationship with your body, join The Body Love Challenge below. And I'd love to hear from you - what will you be doing to create peace with your body?