Mind & Body Gratitude

Reading about all of the microscopic intricacies of what is going on behind the scenes every second inside of our bodies has given me an entirely new perspective on just how much I have been taking for granted all these years. Our bodies and the trillions of cells that they are made up of are truly our dearest and most valuable friends in this life. It is absolutely staggering the amount of vital functions being performed rhythmically, silently, efficiently, and without thanks within each of us at every moment.

Our bodies are tirelessly defending us even as we sleep, completely unaware of their endless efforts to protect us and keep us healthy. The body must simultaneously perform so many different functions with precision and diligence from directing immune cells, to transporting oxygen through our bloodstream, to identifying good vs. bad bacteria in our gut, to forming new neurons, to storing memory, etc. Many of these necessary tasks are carried out despite us having little to no understanding of how or why the body does them in this way. Even in our dullest moments, there is an entire world of activity going on just beneath our fragile skin.

Really contemplating these facts, it becomes clear to me how ludicrous it is to spend so much time criticizing my body and mind for not being they way I want and expect them to be. Can you even imagine, making a cake from a molecular level, concocting everything yourself down to the very atoms that it consists of, only to have it criticized for being the wrong color or being too round or too flat? That is the rough equivalent of what we do when we judge our bodies and their worth/value to us based solely on appearances. It’s laughable when you think about it.

My body is not just what I see in the mirror. It is a fucking miracle. A perfect and awe inspiring gift from the universe crafted from eons of evolution, built on the backs of all the living organisms that have come before me. It’s an absolute crime to think I have spent most of my life hating this body for what it’s not instead of shouting my praise to the heavens for everything that it IS. And not only this body, but this mind of mine as well.

I am so harsh with my mind, sometimes even more than the rest of my body. I feel sorry for myself for suffering with anxiety and depression, for not being able to control and subdue my emotions. Yet I should know better than a lot of people how well my mind actually works in comparison to others. How many nights I’ve wasted wishing my brain worked differently. I never stopped to consider that it is actually not one I’d likely trade for another if given the chance. My brain may offer me anxiety more than I’d prefer, but it is still amazing in so many ways. For one, I have been gifted with an impeccable intellect that I cherish more than most things about myself. On a simpler and more important level though, my brain consolidates an avalanche of sensory information each second and compiles it into an understandable and accurate portrayal of the world around me. This may seem trivial. After all, that’s what the brain is supposed to do, right?

I’ve seen first hand that many brains are not up to this monumental task. Quite a few of my former clients suffered with severe mental illnesses such a schizophrenia. What a terrifying and disturbing thing it must be to not even be able to trust what your own mind is telling you. We all have slightly skewed perceptions of ourselves and the world, but for the most part, we feel confident that what our brain creates in our field of vision is actually there. What sounds we notice, come from outside of our heads, and are true vibrations being picked up by our ears. These details seem so simple, but we cannot forget that so many people would react with undying gratitude if their brains did the same things that ours do without us even noticing.

So no matter what you may think of yourself, the way you look, or the way you think, take a few moments today to be grateful for being here at all. Understand that even when you don’t love yourself, each one of the trillions of cells in your body do. They are fighting every moment for you. They are protecting you and healing you and giving you information to keep you alive and healthy and hopefully happy. We are all unimaginably complex miracles. Just consider that today, and if you can be grateful for it too.

82,472 Human Cell Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

A Covid Christmas Miracle

This morning I woke up to the most wonderful gift I will receive this Christmas, the news that my coworker got her Covid test results back. She was negative. I am so relieved. I couldn’t be more grateful to know that I will be able to have Christmas with my family again this year. I was expecting to spend the holiday alone for the first time. I’m glad I held out hope and still wrapped all my gifts and prepared just in case. Sometimes we all need a reminder not to take these small moments together for granted. I know I am going to have an extra special Christmas this year now. Each second I spend with my family will be saturated with gratitude. I am so ready so soak it all in.

My grandmother was the main reason I was going to stay away if I had been exposed. I would never put her at risk. Yet, at the same time, I was also extra upset about having to stay away this year because of her. She is about to be 90 years old. Although she is shockingly healthy, I don’t know how many more holidays we will have together. I really didn’t want to miss a single one, even if it was to protect her. I am so glad that now I don’t have to. However, it still breaks me heart that I won’t be able to hug her and hold her tight when I see her this Friday.

My grandma understands that we are keeping our distance more than usual because we don’t want her to get sick, but I think it still hurts her. I’m sure it is hard for all elderly people these days. Loved ones want to keep away so they can live longer, but then we also run the risk of missing their final days, months, years on this earth anyway. I don’t know what I would do if my grandmother died even a natural death in these dark times. I might not be able to bear the knowledge that I wasn’t able to hug her, kiss her, hold her hand in her last days. God forbid she be hospitalized. Forced to spend her final moments making the decision of which single family member she would like to have by her bedside.

I don’t like to think about my grandmother passing away. But that grim reality gets closer every year, and eventually I will have to face it. This year has made that harsh realization clearer than ever. But sometimes fear, impermanence, uncertainty, make moments spent in happiness together all the more poignant. I am not going to take this Friday for granted. In the place of hugs, I am going to pour my heart out in warm words. I am going to write my love into each card I give. I am going to vibrate with an energy so strong, so grateful, so loving that it will touch everyone around me even if I can’t touch them myself.

So have yourself a merry little Christmas. I know I will.

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