Body vs Beast

“I am so sorry I won’t be able to make our date today. Something unexpected came up and I’m against a deadline. Can I please make it up to you tomorrow?” Suddenly, the tightness in my chest released and the tingling in my shoulders dissipated. My body had said, “Ok.”

And I kept that promise. I got up early and wandered down to the hotel gym. The small facility included a recumbent bike, an elliptical machine, two treadmills and a universal gym weight machine. I looked at the bike and my low back said, “no.” I glanced at the elliptical and my knees said, “no.” My eyes landed on the treadmills and my body responded, “Yes!”  I hopped on and found a pace and an incline that felt good.

As I was nearing the end of my workout I felt my arms and upper back ask for attention. So I hopped off the treadmill and began to use the weights. But it didn’t feel right. So I tried different exercises, and those didn’t feel right either. I paused a moment and tuned in. “Push ups? Is that what you want? Ok…” So I dropped to the floor and knocked out a set of push ups. And suddenly I felt great!

My body told me what it wanted – and I listened.

Back in the hotel room, my husband was voicing his displeasure at the television.  The morning program was featuring small, electronic gadgets that are supposed to help you lose weight. These fancy little gizmos do all sorts of things – track your footsteps, heart rate, calories burned and calories consumed. They will give you all the information you need to help you win that battle of the bulge.

All the information you need? From my perspective, these gadgets don’t give you any of the information you need!

Assuming that these gizmos do indeed offer accurate and reliable data – which I don’t – but assuming that this is true, how is this data really going to help you?? How is this data going to give you any more reliable, accurate, insightful and actually useful information than the information coming forth from your own body?

What good is knowing how many steps you took in a day? So you can read the number and determine if you’ve “taken enough” or if you should “try better” tomorrow? How does knowing your heart rate contribute to the relationship between you and your body?

And of course, these weight-loss products are featured during a time of year when according to our cultural consciousness, many of us will “fall victim” to holiday weight-gain. So, in a timely fashion, the marketers use our concerns to help sell these products.

Now I don’t have any issue with any particular product, service or marketer trying to do his or her job. My issue is with the underlying assumptions that reduce our physical being to a balance sheet of calories in and calories out, and with the cultural consciousness that separates us from the innate intelligence of our bodies.

This is all part of “the machine.” We’re taught that our body’s shape and size is simply some combination of our dietary and exercise habits. We’re taught that we need to look to an outside “expert” for information. So an entire industry springs up to “help” us. Some will offer tricks to override the body’s signals so we can eat less and consume fewer calories. Others will help us count our steps or measure our heart rate so we can determine if we are burning enough calories. And to market these products and services marketers play off the concept that we are a balance sheet – which only reinforces that idea in our culture.

But we are not a balance sheet. We are living sentient human beings with Divine Intelligence residing in every cell of our bodies. We are organic and we evolve.

Unfortunately, so does this marketing and cultural belief system cycle. No longer a simple machine – it has become a beast. And it is continually fed. And the more it’s fed, the bigger it grows. And the bigger it grows the harder it becomes to escape it. But we must escape. The beast disconnects us from the wisdom of our bodies. It only creates more chaos, confusion and pain. It offers no real chance of peace, freedom or the physical results we seek.

But rather than voice my concerns to the television, I write.