Still on the Zen Thing

September 7th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Since you were born, what has your body done for you? Since you were born, what have you done for your body?  –Zen proverb

Last week I wrote a bit about what my body has done for me.  Today I want to talk about what each of us has done for our bodies.

Granted, those of us living with diabetes are at what some may consider a disadvantage because our bodies don’t function as they were designed to function.  But I don’t consider that a stopping point—I consider that a STARTING point.

It would be easy to say I’m too tired from swings in my blood sugars, too scared of going low, too busy managing my disease to take care of my body.  But as one of my bootcampers said once: “it’s not about easy.”  (Nor did anyone ever claim it would or even could be.)

I’m in this for life.

I certainly haven’t always felt this way; I know I spent time being afraid of my life with diabetes.  Growing up and before I was diagnosed, I was not encouraged to go out and run around—a scuffed knee was a big deal in my house.  But now, I see that scuffed knees heal and I want to get out and encounter the world, interact with it and experience life.

I need my body to help me do that.

So, I take care of my body now in ways I never had to as a kid and didn’t when I was a teen with type one diabetes.  I drink a lot of water to keep myself hydrated.  I try to minimize the chemicals I ingest.  I try to fill up on veggies and fruits before moving to quick carbs or fat-loaded proteins.  I try to fuel my body with quality sources of energy.

Above all, I try to exercise my body so that it knows I care about it. 

I lift weights to keep my bones strong and my muscles challenged.  I run to keep my heart healthy and my joints moving.  I stretch to reward my tired body with relaxation and increased blood flow with the nutrients my body needs.

And I don’t stop. 

Of course I take rest days when I or my body needs them.  But I don’t think exercise is only for a period of time or only until I reach a certain poundage or clothing size.

I was surprised by what happened when I started to exercise my body and get it to a weight it wanted to be.  I felt better.  My confidence rose.  My knowledge that I am a participant rather than a spectator in my life led me to new experiences, new goals, and new achievements.  What amazing benefits.

See, I don’t think any of us are supposed to ever reach the horizon—I think that’s the point.  We need it to be visible yet just out of reach so that we have someplace to dream about, someplace to reach for, and someplace to go. 

Thanks to the way I care for my body, I know I will be dreaming, reaching, and travelling for quite some time. 

Right on.

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