Last night was my yoga night. My younger daughter had asked me to skip yoga Tuesday night since we were celebrating her birthday, so I was really in need of last night’s stretching and strengthening. The yoga master invited us to think of a mantra, not something I’d come across in practice before. While the suggested mantras were self-affirming – “I am strong,” “I am powerful,” and so forth – I found myself thanking God for making me strong. Eventually, as the practice wore on, I thanked God that I am “wonderfully made.”
It doesn’t sound like I’m owning the hard work I’ve been doing on my body or affirming myself for who I am. But I know myself. If I were to say, “I’m so strong,” a part of my mind would ask, “But why aren’t you stronger?” If I gave myself strokes for my increasing flexibility, inevitably I’d also come down hard on myself in that practice where my body is stiff and my mind is struggling to center itself in my flow.
I don’t often talk about my faith in my business content. Not all my customers share my faith, and I don’t want to put walls up between them and me. Last night was significant, though. As I was in pigeon pose, I thanked God for making me strong and for making me so wonderfully. You see, if God made me to be strong and knit me together wonderfully, then I must be put together pretty awesomely. That means I can take satisfaction and find contentment in how I am, even with that patellar ligament that could be looser and that pose I don’t quite have the flexibility to pull off. It means I can give myself the very necessary grace to carry that little roll around my middle and to still be working towards the stretching and flexibility I desire to have.
So, my mantra for last night’s practice was, “Thank you, God, for making me
Then yesterday afternoon… Yet another powerful reminder of how well we’re made and how much we really need to take care of our bodies. On the recommendation of a friend, I watched this documentary on Netflix that shows exactly what sort of damage obesity does to the human body. I’m not going to go into all the details, but let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty (or for the weak of stomach). All the organs in the human body are crafted to fit together in blocks, like they’re part of a 3D puzzle. Obesity severely compromises how they rest in the body and how those individual organs perform. We think of obesity simply as being fat and possibly we recognize that it can lead to type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also lead to severe organ failure, any one of which is fatal.
Then how cool was it to hear the verse in Psalms during one of yesterday’s readings that reminds us, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (some versions say, “complexly”). That tells me I need to pay significant attention to that verse, to sit with it for a bit, to remember that I am marvelously made, but that I also must respect my body by taking care of it.
Time for your part. Why not set a mantra for the week? Make it affirming; you certainly deserve it. Care to share? Drop yours in the comments below.