Dear Body

Dear Physical body,

It’s not that dislike you, it’s just that I don’t care to think about you very much.

Which is odd because one would think you’d be one of the most Undeniably Real and Present Things in my life. I can see you, touch you, hear you and (thank you very much) smell you. You are my closest partner in life. I have a voice and a face and a presence on Earth because of you.

God, thank you.

In most ways I Am you, and yet most of the time I feel behind you. Or alongside you. And pretty different from you. Is that why I don’t like to think about you very much? Do I think we’re at odds? Do I owe you money? Is there something we need to talk about?

Why is it I so often neglect to even think about what you’re like, what you want, or that you even exist? Am I fantasizing about the possibility of a disembodied life, like an angel with amnesia? My friends who subscribe to reincarnation say we’ve all had dozens of lifetimes with all kinds of bodies. Have I gotten snagged somewhere?

If I think about it, most of my adult life I have been taught conflicting beliefs about you. I’ve heard it’s bad to be self-centered, so in some seasons I’ve tried to ignore you, your desires, your drives and appetites. I feel sorry about that and what we’ve missed out on together. I’ve also heard that a body is one of our only assets in this life, so in other seasons, you’ve been in my thoughts with deadly serious disciplines of eating and exercise. Those days I’ve had “should” notes on the fridge, lists on my dresser, and guilt in my gut.

Thinking back through 44 years as a man, though, I’m not sure if you have cared much either way how I’ve thought about you. I think you’ve only wanted me to enjoy my life and to be kind.

You know I like to think of myself as a fairly enlightened person. It’s humbling to be confronted with blind spots. As strange as it seems to me that I’ve either thought way too much about you or deny you completely– kind of like insurance– it Does makes sense for only one reason I can think of:

I think I’m a little afraid of you.

Shut the front door. Is that possible? What’s that about?

Maybe you seem so powerful sometimes that I am scared of embracing you fully. Or rejecting you fully, for that matter. [Deep breath] What would happen if I gave myself to you all the way? What would it look like for me to be All In for this lifetime. With This body. Just as it is now, and as it will change. (That’s a question.)

There’s something here that’s important. Maybe you have a word for me about this. I will be listening.

To close, I thank you for 44 years of faithfulness in this marriage of mind+body+spirit+whatever. I am grateful for you being with me through so many years and seasons. You are my most wise teacher and partner in this life. [A deep bow.] Thank you for all you’ve led me into and followed me into.

Loving you,
Richard

  • Thanks to Kristin Noelle’s invitation to this practice via Trust Tending.
  • Listen to Trish’s song, Bodies.

About Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Life is full and comes in seasons. View all posts by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

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