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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learning to See

"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see." Henry David Thoreau
Catch the Sun by Artsy Aubs
Catch the Sun, originally uploaded by Artsy Aubs  (As found here)

"The faith you might think you're lacking is functioning perfectly in your own body. Yes, your own body – the body you might belittle, battle and even mildly detest – your belly, your butt, your wrinkles, your gray! Your body is the body of wisdom. While we are busy rejecting and undermining ourselves, our bodies perform marvelous and supernatural feats twenty-four hours a day. 
Don't believe me? Scratch your nose. Feel your heart beat. Inhale and then exhale. Let your pancreas excrete, your blood flow. Allow the spleen to do whatever the spleen does. Wave your hand; wiggle your toes. Lift your foot and stomp the earth. 
Our bodies are inconceivably intelligent and miraculously reliable. Our bodies are the gateway to the limitless power and potential that we already are."  
*    *    *
Wow.  I just stumbled upon these words written by Karen Maezen Miller from a piece of writing she wrote entitled Body of Wisdom.  If you want to read more go here.  She conveys so eloquently what I have been feeling about the body lately.  My body.  That it's a marvel, a miracle, that's it's "inconceivably intelligent."  No matter how much I've abused and misused my body over the years, no matter how much I've put it down, taken it for granted or wished it different (smaller, taller, more toned, less flabby, etc...) it has continued to beat and see and taste and walk and talk and think and digest and breathe and perform countless other amazing functions I can't even name.  It's mind-blowing when you really start to tune in to this marvel of a thing you walk around in every moment of every day.
Today is day 14 of Learning to Love this Body of Mine.  For 14 days I've been tuning in and asking my body what it wants/needs/prefers.  Before I get out of bed each day I thank it for all the moment-to-moment miracles it performs. Before I eat and while I eat I tune in to how my body feels and listen to what it's telling me. I've been running. I've been doing yoga. I've been drinking a ton of water and smoothies and tea, eating lots of fresh salads.  I've been eating small portions because I'm noticing how much better I feel when I eat lightly.  I stopped drinking coffee, not because I thought I should, but because I had a nudge to.  
I even looked in the mirror the other day (sans clothes) and had a genuine, love-filled exchange.  Truthfully, over the last two years or so, since I've gained many pounds, I've been cringing a little when I look in the mirror.  So this loving exchange felt big and new.
I'm learning that when I tune in to this body of mine that it offers infinite wisdom and that it's not what I'm looking at that matters, but what I see.  
I look forward to much more seeing over the next several weeks.  And to sharing it all with you.  And if you're along on this ride with me, please feel free to share in the comment section-it's so much better with company.
With love,


  1. You are a gift. Thank you for your words, and for sharing Karen's too.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post Julia, our bodies are so beautiful and filled with wisdom. I've been practicing listening to my body more too and I feel a new sense of peace and flow. Even when I don't know, my body does!

  3. Julia,
    Thank you for the beautiful reminder. Whenever I stop to think about it, I too marvel at the miracle that my body is and all of the incredible things it does. Your post got me thinking - since the connection between the mind and body is so strong, I wouldn't be surprised if all of those negative thoughts we have about our bodies do have some sort of impact on how they function. I wouldn't be surprised if, like the emotional portion of ourselves, our bodies function so much better when they are given love... hmm...
    Anyway, I'm so happy to hear about the progress you are making! It's funny because just five minutes before I got on the computer and read this post, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, stopped and looked at myself. Sure I saw my stomach sticking out a bit and my thighs slightly larger than I'd love them to be, but I saw a beautiful person and a beautiful body carrying that person. It was a great feeling : ) I'm still working to really listen to my body, though. I haven't been exercising much lately, but to be fair, I've been tending to some of the nagging voices in my mind that just wanted to know where I am heading with my life. A big cause of my emotional eating lately has been this fear of the unknown. Anyway, today I decided to enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! I couldn't be more excited!

    Well, I've gotten of track a bit : ) I'm so happy for you and I wish you all the best in these next days to come on our journey!
    Much love,

  4. Oh Julia... and Grace...

    This just articulates it all perfectly! What miracles we are! We are always these miracles, it's just that half the time (half?! That's generous!) - okay, most of the time, I'm not conscious of the miraculous, almost unbelievable processes that are happening inside of me, through me and around me. Every breath is a miracle.

    I have a 5rhythms teacher called Chloe who specializes in classes just for women. She always reassures us, "the body knows, the body knows, the body knows". She's all about getting out of little mind and back into the body. I'm a little bit further along than I used to be, but really there is no destination, only a journey to be journeyed.

    Oh, I realize I've got too much to say and had better go write a blog post! Thank you! Love you!

  5. Brooke, Dyan, Grace & Elloa, thank you for leaving your words here.


    What you said about our emotions impacting out bodies is absolutely true--it's all totally, completely interconnected. Everything functions better with love and compassion and appreciation. It all just comes down to love...I'm sure of it!

    Congratulations on enrolling in the nutrition program--how exciting!

    Sending love to each of you,


  6. Hi Julia,

    Thank you for posting on my blog; it's true that I hadn't seen your response (it's too bad we don't get notifications!)

    Yes, love, I am learning, seems to be the answer to everything. As you have said, our purest essence is love, and I've come to realize that when anyone is acting anything less that compassionate, kind, and loving, they themselves are coming from a place of hurt, fear, etc. And the same holds true for me.

    So far today I have listened to my body well : ) I just got back from yoga and now I'm taking my time deciding what to have for lunch. I feel that I am at a very important point in my life, I feel poised for wonderful growth. Thank you for being here and supporting me during this time when I need it the most!

    I hope this message finds you (and anyone else reading it) healthy, joyful, and full of love.

  7. Julia, what a heartfelt and honest post. I can relate to you on so many levels- not surprising. I too have gone through some changes. I am not doing the Listening to my body thing you are (although I am super inspired by you) but I have been working out again, drinking green juice and smoothies every day, gave up is not a diet, it is a shift for me and this kindness to myself is reflected in my life- I feel better. I love that you said you "feel poised for wonderful growth." SO true. I am so happy for you and I am praying for you and sending love your way. Always!


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia