I was at my weekly chiropractor appointment this morning doing a regularly scheduled scan of my body. The last scan they do is one where you calmly place your hand on a scanner and just sit quietly for 3 minutes looking at a beautiful photo of a mountain similar to the one above. I’m not so good at the meditation part of my life. The part of quieting my mind – of just being in the present. During this scan I try to focus on breathing to keep my mind as quiet as possible. But today I was struck by the photo. It is the same photo I’ve stared at numerous times before. But today I had a new perspective. It looked to me to be very similar to the view I had up on that mountain top in Arizona a few weeks ago. My whole body warmed to the sensation of courage and love that I felt at that mountaintop moment – which reverberated to my experience today.
I then got into a conversation with my chiropractor about different personalities and how they each have their own perspective on similar situations. I have been diving into the Enneagram as you are all aware. Through this study it has given me “new eyes” to be more compassionate and kinder to others because each of us has a story in our heads in response to our world and circumstances. Then we discussed Maslow’s pyramid. Where the bottom is literally “survival” where you are most concerned with your physiological needs and you move your way to the top which is Self-Actualization where you are working towards achieving your full potential. That any given situation can knock you down the pyramid, but if you are trying to get to the top, you won’t stay knocked down for long. That it takes lots of hard work and study, but it is possible to work up the pyramid. I’m trying super hard for that. To live most of my days at the top of the pyramid. Through all the hard work I’ve done so far, I am beginning to see things now with “new eyes”. I am realizing that everyone is broken in some way. Everyone has a story behind the mask or reality of their lives. Everyone deserves grace, kindness, and compassion.
As I’ve gone about my day today I really got to thinking about perspective and viewing things differently. I began to see areas in my life where I’ve recently made a conscious decision to see things with a new perspective. I’ve been making strides to look at my parenting with a new and controlled perspective. I’ve been making strides to look at my marriage with a new and vibrant perspective. I’ve been making strides to look at my inner self with a new and and graceful perspective. I’ve been focusing on being patient and deliberate in my daily life.
I’m in a small group at my church where we are reading and discussing the book “The Sacred Enneagram Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth” by Christopher L. Hertz. It was our second session working on Chapters 2 and 3 and the leader asked us the following question: When have you moved from the basic knowledge of a subject to principled understanding to even embodied integration? Wait one second! That question completely caught me off guard. But as people began to share their stories….DRASTICALLY different and unique stories I was able to think clearly. So this is my story.
I have never loved my physical body. I’ve never been happy with it. It’s always just been that thing I hid whenever possible. I’ve been teased for the way I matured in middle-school, gained LOTS of weight during pregnancies, been told I’m too thin….literally I’ve run the gamut. I’ve worked out off and on but usually only to “lose baby weight”. Even when I’ve hit the smallest number on the scale I haven’t been happy with my body.
A year ago I was getting ready to close the doors of the daycare I was running out of my home. I was frantically trying to refinish cabinets all over our house in preparation for selling. I was packing and preparing for a move. I was basically living in flight or fight mode every second of the day. Thanks to my fitbit, I saw that my resting heart rate never seemed to fall below 70. I usually spent 5-7 hours a day in fat burning mode. Friends I NEVER stepped foot in a gym. This wasn’t a healthy way to live. I had a BASIC KNOWLEDGE that this couldn’t go on forever. I thought once the move happened, my job was done, and things quieted down, then everything would go back to normal.
I was wrong. My heart rate was still higher, my fat burning heart rate decreased but was still there (still no gym), and now I’ve gained weight! Literally, I realized I was still living in fight or flight mode. That my body was still under stress. And now I hated my body even more because I couldn’t fit into my regular clothes anymore.
I became obsessed with the things I put into my body, worked out 6-7 days a week, and always weighed myself on the scale. I became obsessed with that stupid number because it NEVER changed. It stayed the same no matter how much I worked, how much I ate, or how much I didn’t eat. Luckily my frustration didn’t turn into quitting. Instead I checked my fitbit. I saw that my resting heart rate was now between 60-63. In fact during sleep, it sometimes actually falls to 58. I looked at some before and after photos of me and realized my body was changing. I was getting stronger. This is the moment I moved into PRINCIPLED UNDERSTANDING, because I knew I had made drastic changes in my behavior and it was doing good things for me. My body had clearly adapted to handling stress better. My body had clearly moved into the fit stage. I was not only physically stronger but mentally stronger. Now my heart beats in the fat burning zone only during my workouts. This was worth getting excited for. This was worth may be loving myself for.
I have yet to move fully into EMBODIED INTEGRATION but I’m definitely on my way. I’m learning for the first time in my life that God gave me my body as a vessel to do his good works. I should care for it as such, but I should love it as such because God loves me inside and out. Some days are harder than others but that’s okay because that’s life. Once a day I try to look at myself in the mirror and say something positive instead of think only about the negative. I’m still working my way to the top of the pyramid my friends. I’ve been filling my eyes and ears with good, positive messages, and vulnerable conversations. I’m starting to look at myself with a new perspective.
Just this morning I was listening to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast “For the Love”. Her guest was Osheta Moore. Osheta made a profound statement that made an imprint on my heart:
“Your body is holy good. God didn’t make a mistake….”
You know she’s right. God did NOT make a mistake when he made me. He poured so much love into me when I was created because He wanted great things from me. He wants me to love every part of me too.
I’m not sure where you are on your way up the pyramid. But you were made for great things. God created you for things only you can accomplish in this life on earth. May be you love your body but are struggling with something else. That’s okay. When you are ready, dig down deep and set your mind to working it out. Set your mind to working yourself to the top of the pyramid. You are worth viewing life with a new perspective.