How To Friend Your Body To Optimal Health
I have shifted into a whole new world of health and possibility, a world that is eager for all of us to enter. It happened a while back, I was feeling so good about the densely nutritious green smoothies I’d recently added to my diet that I found myself doing these momentary exercises of joyful communication with my body; I would imagine the cells of my body feeling vibrant and alive and celebrating their good fortune. During time of meditation and contemplation I would talk to my body and acknowledge its enthusiasm over the nutrition I was giving it, I also expressed how I loved providing it with all that allows it to thrive, and I voiced my deep appreciation for all that it provides me in return. These were the beginnings from where I would develop a deeper wisdom concerning the quality of my relationship to my body and its corresponding relationship to my health and well being. My attempts to sincerely participate in a joyful, inquisitive, appreciation based communication with my body really did transport me into a whole new world of possibility, purpose, and health!
In this new world I am not alone and I find myself fully supported by those with whom I share it. In fact, the health I enjoy is made possible because of those I share this space with. Who are they that I speak of? I am referring to the microbiome. We are made up mostly of microbes, over 100 trillion of them, the majority living in the gut. Microbes actually outnumber human cells 10 to 1 and microbial genes outnumber human genes 100 to 1. This means our bodies, the physical aspect of what we consider to be ourselves, are actually shared communities. It has occurred to me that every aspect of my body, be it my cells, or my organs, bones and muscles constructed of those cells, or the bacteria, viruses, and everything else that my comprises my microbiome, they may all have their own consciousness just as I have my own consciousness. I have begun to perceive my form as more than just physical and I now relate to my body as the interconnected community of consciousness that it really is. My new way of relating is a recognition that forming a living, loving relationship with my inner community is foundational to my health and to how well I, as a whole, function in the world. This has made tending to this all important relationship one of the primary and life long purposes of my Being.
I am fascinated with the idea that I may only be one of many consciousnesses utilizing this, my body. In light of this, I’ve had to contemplate the mind blowing idea that I may not even be the main consciousness running the show. I was led to this idea when I learned more about the workings of the microbiome. By suppressing or increasing our cravings, the microbiome dictates to the brain what foods they most desire. While you believe yourself to be the sole decision maker in what and when you eat, it is more often the microbiome within your gut that is deciding, signalling to your brain their cravings. If your gut has an imbalance of “bad” bacteria your cravings may be acute, being especially directed towards sugar and fats. If your gut has a nice balance of flora you will desire foods containing the nutrients that your whole body can thrive upon. Your microbiome can even create within you cravings towards food that contain nutrients you may be missing, such as a craving for potatoes may indicate your body’s need for more tryptophan or chromium. I was aided by having this knowledge during a time when I was taking a break from sugar. When I would get intense cravings I would merely acknowledge that it wasn’t me but my microbiome craving the sugar, this made it easier for me not to give into the temptation to indulge. Understanding the distinction between my consciousness and that of my microbiome allowed me to discern between them, making all the difference in terms of my success.
This got me to thinking about what part I, (my specific consciousness), had to play within my inner community. I thought that my main contribution must be to set the tone. We are energetic, vibrational beings, so our own individual consciousness and the community of consciousness that we share our inner bodily world with, as well as all other humans, animals, and plants that we interact with in the outer world, they are all effected by the quality of our vibration. The energy of our thoughts, our outlooks, our perceptions weight heavy or light, strengthen or weaken, lift or bring down all whom we encounter. But alas, my reasoning circles me back again to the microbiome. The microbiome in our gut create more of our good feeling chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, than even our brain; the chemicals they create more, or less, of deeply influences, if not drives, our quality of thought and emotion, making it feel natural or arduous for us to create patterns of thought, outlooks, or perceptions that are life giving to our psyches, our bodies, and to others in the environment around us. This fact has enabled me to realize that within my own community of consciousness, it is not a question of who’s calling the shots or running the show, but rather, its a question of the quality of communication within my community. I’m not the only one responsible for setting the tone, it is always a community effort. This is why we must all learn to work with our inner communities to achieve balance and to create a tone in which our inner and out communities thrive. When all is in balance and harmony, there may not be any one dominant consciousness, but a whole community of consciousness working in unison to maintain “its” body and well being.
Working in unison with my community is tantamount to having a loving communication with my body. I deepen this communication when I convey to my body my intention of friendship. In that vein, I have stopped viewing my body as something that needs fixing; I have completely let go of that toxic attitude that burdens my body so. Over time, this has moved me away from a somewhat trepidatious relationship to my body, (one influenced by my western culture with its model of medicine that is based in fear and suspicions of the body). No longer perceiving myself to be in peril if something goes “wrong,” I reinterpret such an event as an expression of something my body is trying to communicate to me, a request for something it needs of me. Neither being threatened by thoughts of how my health can go awry, I have stopped viewing my body as a volatile foe and, instead, move forward with it in friendship. Like in any growing friendship, I nurture it with the basic building blocks needed for it to thrive: I patiently allow my trust to grow and deepen, I feel enthusiasm and respect for my body’s many wonders, and I am developing a fervent curiosity and interest in its experience and ways of expressing.
Befriending my body includes educating myself on the foods, as well as the physical, energy, and breathing exercises that are the best and most natural for it. Concerning the foods that I choose for myself, I’ve learnt to be more sensitive to my body’s responses so that I can know which foods it agrees or disagrees to. For example, over time I’ve been able to connect the ache that I get in the bones in my hands and my knee joints to when I consume coconut. When it comes to exercise, I’ve learnt to choose forms of exercise that respect my body rather than punish and drain it. In developing a friendship with my body I am now more willing to honour its responses and communications rather than imposing upon it what I think is best, best usually being determined by information I’ve received from outside sources rather than my inner one. As I listen to my body and give to it what it asks, I then trust and allow it the time it needs in order to find its way to the balance and the optimal health it naturally strives towards.
To further support my budding friendship with my body, I carve out time to communicate with it – my community – regularly. As a part of my meditation practice, I make sure to thank the wide array of consciousness that utilize my/this body for everything they do for me, themselves, and for each other. More and more, I create quiet spaces within my life and mind in order to attune to my body’s wants, needs, and communications. Like in all good relationships, the one that I am forging with my body/my community will inevitably keep growing and changing and I am totally up for it; I am loving the ride and I enjoy the health, the balance, and the well being that have already shown up to accompany me on this joyous adventure!
I invite you to jump into your own adventure and take the ride into a new world of optimal health and possibility; here, you will find yourself surrounded by a glorious community of interconnected consciousnesses eager to support you. Join as one with your community and set a new and vibrant tone for your body, your life, your whole Being. Become a friend to your body, view it in a new and light manner; give to it your trust, your respect, and your interest and watch how it wondrously finds its way to balance. I guarantee you that if you embark upon this most joyful, inquisitive, appreciation based friendship with your body, you will be swept into a life long adventure that will take you to a world of possibility, purpose, and optimal health!
This is a fantastic way of looking at the interconnectedness of our body. I absolutely loved reading this. Becoming friends with all aspects of yourself, what a great concept. Wonderfully written Jet.
Best to you, Steve