It feels like I treat my body in one of two ways – with criticism, or with humility. The first is so, so easy. Like a moth to the flame, I can look in the mirror and find all of the ways to judge myself – picking apart at each piece, hacking away with a bitterness that surprises me. It hit me the other day, that this self-righteousness is exactly the same energy with which I find myself driving in terrible traffic. I can tap into some seriously dark loathing for “all of these people” on the roads. All of them in my way. Awful drivers who dare to hesitate before gassing through the green arrow. It’s quite possible I will never let my kids drive.
The connecting factor between picking at my body and picking at people is that I fail to see the wholeness of parts in both organisms. In the mirror, I fail to see my body as a group of interworking, magical, beautiful parts that allow me to have an incredible human experience on this planet. And on the road, I fail to smile with the knowledge that I am going in the same directionas these members of mycommunity. Truly, I forget that we’re on the same team.
And what is humility then? In our community, humility is the opposite of cold judgment. It is living with open eyes, ears, and an open heart to see the needs within the community and to respond in an authentic way. Authentic to you! If you know yourself well enough, you know which gifts you have. Therefore, your response to needs in your community can come as a natural outpouring of those gifts.
In the body, humility looks no different. With open eyes, ears, and an open heart, we begin to “listen” to what our body is telling us. What does it need? What can we learn about ourselves from the messages our body sends to us? How do my legs respond to a tough workout? What can I learn from my dream last night? Why do I resist a certain exercise? Why are rest days so difficult to take? Et cetera.
For me, yoga, more than any other sport, more than any other exercise, has taught me to listen.To tend to myself. To cultivate a curiosity about the experience of my body, and to begin the process of learning how to work with, rather than against my physical self. And not to rattle on and on but working first with physical humility has opened the doors to the practice of humility within a complicated community.
Wherever you land in your relationship with your body at this moment, take a moment to breathe. Ask yourself, “What does my body need in this moment? Where are the places I can help my body feel loved, strong, and cared for?” Then, take another deep breath to ask, “What does my family/community need in this moment? Where are the places I can help my family/community feel loved, strong, and cared for?” The work is the same, and the impact is vast.
Written by Katy K