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An Open Letter from My Body

I am your body and I have a few things I want to say now that I have your attention, which frankly, I mostly only get when you feel our pain.

First, I want you to know that I have always been for you, on your side, helping us succeed in things we aspire toward. I've helped us climb a couple mountains, swim in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, birth babies, given you dreams at night (although you've generally not known what to do with them), healed us from colds and flus, et cetera. I am the necessary and willing enabler when we tend gardens, chickens, dogs, and goats. I am the skin that lets you feel Mark's skin when you hold hands while expressing gratitude before breakfast and supper. I am the bones and muscles that allowed us to hold and hug and feed our children and grandchildren.

When our belly contracts and pushes out laughter, sobs, song, shouts... that's me, too, participating in the joys and trials and whatnot of our life. Remember, those moments of excess seepage from our eyes is me expressing body grief, helping you feel and hold and release sorrows. Joy gets squeezed out through those two amazing orifices, too, and I remember the day you discovered that with some surprise. That was a lot of years ago. A lot of what we've shared together happened a lot of years ago now. I am the holder of all those years of memories.

And speaking of holding, I'm also right there holding you over the toilet when I need to expunge us of poisons you ingested. It's a process neither of us enjoys at all, but is necessary for our on-going well-being. I appreciate that you do not eat every mushroom that looks appealing in the forest.

Speaking of eating--what I do appreciate is how many fruits and vegetables and other Good Food that you send our way. You sprinkle in herbs and spices and use oils and vinegars that bring joy to our tastebuds. Tastebuds--another of my gifts to us.

I can't possibly name all my gifts and all the ways I help us out. I've only scratched the surface.

Second (prepare for a bit of fulminating)--I don't feel adequately appreciated.

Where would you be without me?


I have felt, at times, criticized for not being enough of this or that or having too much here or there. I often feel taken-for-granted, disregarded, unseen, except for in the most superficial of ways. I resent when it feels like you are annoyed at me when we are collectively experiencing the consequences of choices you made. Like when you fill our stomach to the point of discomfort, or chose "bad sleep hygiene" when you know we need to work toward better sleep quality. Or when you do something downright stupid like pick up a 50-pound bag of rolled barley from the garage floor to pour into a bin. Sure, I could do that 10 years ago, but I'm not a 50-year-old body anymore. That bears repeating: I am not a 50-year-old body anymore. Speaking of aging--can you try thinking of our wrinkles and those untoward spots on our skin, and loosening skin in general, as evidence of a life lived fully and well and long enough to attain such markers?

The alternative, after all, is to stop living.

But rant aside, here is my one humble and specific request: I long for more water. I'm thirsty A Lot. Tap water is fine. Nothing fancy, no additives, no ice, just water, the amazing wonderful stuff that accounts for most of our being and which we cannot live without. (Yes, we need air, too, but I've got that covered.) We would appreciate you focussing on getting us more water.

Mostly I want you to know that I'm with you to the end and thankful for the opportunity to be in this body/mind/soul space with you (I can't not sound dualistic when I talk this way, but I don't experience us as dualistically as you do, which is kind of a key point here). Yes, I'll struggle more to do what I used to do 30 or 20 or even 10 years ago--so give me some grace there--but there is so much we can still do--just this spring we learned to milk goats.

I've loved being along this life journey with you. Mostly, it's been grand. I look forward to continued strolls up that lovely country road, planting and tending, hiking and hammocking, listening and deeper listening.

P.S. Thank you for the massages. Pure goodness and love, those.


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