Do I look fat in this?

2nd May 2008

Hello lovely people

Botox.  Plastic surgery. Diet. Aerobic exercise. Sunbed. Manicure. Pedicure. Highlights.  Lowlights. Wax.

Ask anyone what they dislike about their bodies, and you get an answer in five seconds.  Ask anyone what they like about their bodies, and you get silence, or a counter-question:  are we supposed to like our bodies?

There is an entire industry that relies on our rejection of our ageing bodies.  And does it make any difference?  To our budgets, yes.  To our egos, yes.  To our appearance, yes.  But the difference only lasts for a short while.  If we want to look better – or at least different – for a short while, we need to sustain the outer changes.  If we want to look different permanently, we have to go for more drastic measures such as plastic surgery.

Regardless of the measures we take, our bodies grow old.  We become more aware of every single part of our body, not always because we love these different parts, but often because they become painful or more obvious as we grow older.

We often forget to listen to our bodies.  All physical ailments are a reflection of a part of our spirits that are crying out for attention.  What do we do?  We either live with the ailment, or we suffer from it.  In some cases we become aware of this link between the body and the spirit.  We become aware that our bodies reflect a spiritual dis-ease that we need to address.

Then the question arises:  how do we address the dis-ease?  Often we only get this awareness when parts of our bodies stop functioning, for example when our hearts or kidneys fail.  Or the dis-ease grows in specific parts of our bodies, like a cancer. Then people feel it is too late to do anything about it, and they simply give up living, and the slow process of bodily decay start.

It never needs to be like that.  I had a dear friend who developed cancer.  She had an agonizing time of anger towards herself (for being ill) and those around her (for being healthy when she was ill) and hatred of everyone and everything that reminded her of what she could have been.  I saw her physical, emotional and mental health deteriorate rapidly over a period of less than two years, and there was nothing anyone could do to remove this black cloud over her.  She did not want to have it removed.

During that time I read much about cancer and how people dealt with it.  I read about a man that was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given three months to live.  He decided to refuse all medical treatment and withdraw from the world.  He went to live in a cabin in the mountains.  His diet consisted of anything that he could find from the plants around him, and fresh spring water.  He found peace and prepared to die.

After three months he was still alive, and started a small vegetable garden.  He felt better in himself, and his body was far less stressed.  That man died peacefully of old age more than forty years later in that same cabin. 

My friend did not find the same peace.  She changed her diet and angrily shook the vegetable smoothies.  She danced like a maniac to get the right energy in her body, until she was exhausted.  She devoured books about cures for cancer, and tried each cure with a vengeance.  She refused to give up, and focused her entire being on not wanting to give up life.  And guess what? She got what she focused on.  She gave up life, being such an angry soul.  She refused contact with her friends and drove her children to despair with her fight against the cancer, and then left her body.  She gave strict instructions that she did not want a funeral or even a memorial service.  She was too angry even after she had passed on. 

Our bodies do not suddenly explode with such clues that something is wrong spiritually.  Most of the time we get more subtle clues, such as tension in our shoulders or headaches.  We gain weight when our bodies lose the fight against the quantity and quality of food that we consume.  We develop aches and pains from muscles and joints that do not get regular exercise.

Our bodies are temples of God.  That means our bodies are used as a visible expression of the soul that dwells within the body.  The Architect did a perfect design of our bodies. We build that design every day – not so perfect. 

I have seen people being totally self-destructive.  How do you explain the reasoning of a man that sees his dear friend slowly dying of emphysema, because he had been a heavy smoker all his life?  How do you explain them chatting in a sunny spot, one sucking on the oxygen mask, the other sucking on a cigarette?  Before you judge them, how does your own self-destructive streak manifest?  What do you do to sabotage yourself every day?

And we forget that all our physical ailments and our appearance are a reflection of the God that dwells inside of us.  On the one hand my body is a perfect expression of that God and does not need a diet or botox or highlights. On the other hand God gave me a body to look after and to take care of for as long as I want to use it.  These two arguments are equally strong.  We need to love our bodies as they are, and we also need to take care of our bodies.

Whenever I see my dad walking with difficulty because he gets no exercise, I remind myself that I do not want to grow old like that.  I will get around to walking a reasonable distance every day, and I will eat smaller portions.  I promise.  I only have about ten kilograms to lose – that is far less than other people have to lose, so I am OK.  I will go on a diet before I gain more weight.

As from today, I will turn a new leave.  I will walk more and eat less.  I will look in the mirror and see the perfection of God’s creation.  I will also see where I have messed up that creation and find something natural to do about it.  I will believe you saying this if you believe me writing it.  Why do we always wait for a health crisis before we really notice how our bodies reflect the status of our souls?

Read an extract from The Young, a short story that illustrates how our bodies talk to us

I will be working at a psychic fayre in Bracknell, UK, on 11 May 2008.

I will also be leading a workshop titled Conquiring the Spiritual Mid-Life Crisis in Scottburgh, South africa, on 25 May 2008, and in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 30 May 2008.

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Love and Light

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