When we close down our awareness which comes through our physical senses, we shut ourselves off from our essence. –Dr. Stanley H. Block, Seattle University School of Law
Last week, I cleared my calendar for two days because of a nasty cold. I don’t often do that. I don’t like to cancel commitments or have to play catch-up.
And frankly, I like to work.
Taking it easy doesn’t really seem to make sense. It’s not like my work is physical. I need to sit at my computer, think, and do coaching calls. But being off my game physically meant my body was using available energy to fight illness, and the energy drain left me mentally off.
I’ve written about bodies before, but I think there’s something I’ve been missing. Maybe you have too.
Because of the pandemic, we’re talking more about mental and emotional wellness, thankfully, but it feels like this conversation is disembodied. When we’re sick, our bodies pull us down mentally/emotionally. Doesn’t that mean they can also bring us up if they’re well, helping us heal emotionally?
Many of us spend a lot of time not liking our bodies. Too fat, too thin, too…whatever. SOMETHING is wrong with our bodies. A British study concluded that 90% of women have body image anxiety into their 80s. Tragic, right?
Because there is so much right with our bodies, we should occasionally give it thanks instead of criticism. Thank you for managing without enough sleep, without adequate nourishing food, too much wrong food, little exercise, and frequent stress-related cortisol. It’s our faithful servant, showing up for us even when we don’t show up for it.
Our bodies facilitate speech, and sound waves have a physical property that allows us to bring ideas into being and live the truth we feel. Our bodies allow for a song. When we sing together–especially in unison–as we listen to and get in tune with each other, our heart rates slow down and ultimately beat in unison. We can feel connected to people around us.
Smell is the physical sense most likely to evoke strong emotions and memories because odor-creating molecules make direct contact with our brains. Sight, sound, and touch are more circuitous. When I was eight, on vacation at my aunt’s in Fullerton, California, I persuaded my mom to take me to Bullock’s department store and get my ears pierced. For the next few weeks, Mom swabbed my ears twice a day with rubbing alcohol. Even now, this smell evokes happy memories of my mom nurturing me and making me feel grown up.
Children who grow up deprived of physical touch have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than children who don’t. This is partly why pandemic distancing was a problem – people were not connecting physically.
Our bodies bring our ideas into being; they evoke memories and make us feel connected to people around us.
We owe an immense debt to our magnificent bodies. We don’t grow without them.
Our podcast guest is Davis Smith, CEO and founder of Cotopaxi, whose mission is to make durable outdoor gear in the most ethically sustainable way possible and to use their influence to develop and uplift communities. Davis is an amazing human being. You are going to love this interview.
As always, thanks for being here.
P.S. You might revisit our podcast episode with Shawn Stevenson talking about food as the building block of our brains. And check out The Cure for the Common Company by Rich Safeer, the Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-being at Johns Hopkins, about the importance of physical health.
P.P.S. As part of our quest to help you grow, we’re looking for up c. 20 people to provide a 30-minute interview over Zoom to share their insight and experience about the first steps into something new –– what I’ve called the ‘Launch’ phase. If you’d like to be interviewed (or are willing to!), please reply and say I’m willing, and our team will follow up to schedule an interview! Thank you!