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Our body is our best friend

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Our body is our best friend. Let us listen to it. Be kind to it. Take care of it.

Whatever our age, and whatever our circumstances, our bodies are always doing their best, and they are doing their best now in these challenging times.

I’ve been home for two months now following surgery for colon cancer, and there’s no doubt – how could I not notice – that my physical form is showing its age. I used to take it for granted, but not anymore.

And yet while my body is diminishing, and becoming more vulnerable in various ways, something else is increasing – the gratitude I feel for this physical form that makes it possible for me to move, and act, and express myself in this world.

As I say, my body is my best friend. What adventures we have shared together and continue to share. How steadfast it has been. How loyal, and faithful.  It’s true that it can’t do some of the things it used to do, and new challenges seem to arise with each passing year.

But let me not blame my body for any of this.  It is as steadfast and loyal as it has ever been.

Moreover, although my body is winding down, new frontiers and opportunities continue to emerge because of this physical form, and I am grateful. So grateful.

I am becoming more conscious, for example, of an inner peace that does not change, and is always present, even when troubled feelings arise.

I appreciate friends – old and new — more deeply. I appreciate life’s simple moments more deeply..

My love for my wife grows with each passing day.  And though I cannot walk as fast as once was the case, and my right foot is troubling me at the moment, the joy I experience when I go for a walk is undiminished.

I have never seen a more beautiful sight than the large hawk that alighted on a branch of a cottonwood while I was out for a walk this morning.

Life can be challenging, of course. But let me not blame my body for any misfortunes that may arise. As I say, it is doing its best – just as your body is doing its best.

I send love and best wishes. If you have any thoughts you would like to share please write.

Picture credit: Noncommercial Some rights reserved by millerm217

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Timaree February 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Glad to hear from you again. I agree our bodies do good by us. Sometimes I don’t let mine do it’s best though. I’ve been sitting in front of the computer too much and decided it was time to get back to doing a bit of exercise. I could barely do 4 modified pushups! I need to get more active or it will be me giving out on my body! Your reminder of what our bodies do for us came at the right time!

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Christopher Foster February 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

It’s always a joy to hear from you, Timaree. Funny, JoAnn was just saying to me earlier this morning I haven’t been spending so much time at the computer and she thinks this is a good thing. I must admit I haven’t tried my hand at a push-up recently but I’m off to the gym in a few minutes. Best wishes.

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Sally February 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Chris, I always find your words so comforting and soothing to my soul. As I’ve talked about before, I broke my left hip in August of 2011 and ended up having a hemiarthroplasty. I never healed from it and had debilitating pain. After hobbling around until the doctor determined that the component had loosened, I had yet another surgery in March of 2013, this time a total hip replacement.

To date, I have failed to heal from this last surgery also and I’ve been hobbling around with the use of a walker or a cane. The pain has been hard to ignore and it has been accompanied by consequent daily depression and frustration that I am now somewhat dependent on others.

I was always fiercely independent and moved with a swiftness which has all but disappeared. I’m 64 now and feeling my age for the first time. My body does not behave the way it once did. I must say though, through all of this I appreciate each day and all the many blessings it brings. In short, like yourself, I find I am grateful for each day and all the happy moments therein.

I am looking at yet another surgery because of the intense pain when ambulating. The doctor now suspects a stress fracture. I’m going for an MRI and CT scan next week for diagnostics. I must say that I’ve been feeling quite sorry for myself which also aggravates me! Your last posts have helped me gain insight into what’s happening to me. Thank you so very much for being willing to share your own experience, strength, and hope.

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Christopher Foster February 21, 2014 at 11:50 am

Bless you and thank you for your comment Sally. My goodness, you’ve had a lot going on. Don’t feel badly if you feel a bit sorry for yourself at times. Feelings come and go but fortunately the truth doesn’t come and go, or we’d really be in trouble. Love to you Sally and keep the faith, as they say.

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Beth Wilson February 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Chris, your optimism and delight with life always elicits a grin from me after I read one of your posts! Your outlook is definitely one to emulate. Thank you for your wisdom!

Much love,
Beth
Beth Wilson recently posted..How Do You Find Balance?

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Christopher Foster February 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

Back at you Beth, I get a grin when I get a line from you. So thankful to be sharing this incredible journey with you.

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Elizabeth Nunn February 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Oh I love my body. It is one third of what I call my “Ground Crew”…mind, feelings, body. Just like with friends, I have to apologize occasionally. But every day I give thanks for having this great body to live in for as long as possible.

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Christopher Foster February 21, 2014 at 11:57 am

Elizabeth, what a cool way to look at life. Yes. Our body is part of our “ground crew.” You’re a light to your world and I’m thankful to share this adventure with you.

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Dr. Ken Harris February 21, 2014 at 2:31 am

I always remind patients of this truth when they complain that their stomach is killing them, that the stomach did not choose the food it was given .The patient is the one who selected what to eat.The poor stomach is doing the best it can with what it was given.

Our bodies are our friend not our enemy as most people think. The capacity to heal is under-estimated by most people. All symptoms are the attempt on the part of the body to restore itself back into balance (homeostasis)from the ravages and poor choices of our living an unnatural lifestyle.Take care of this earthsuit (body) and it will last you a lifetime, I guarantee it!

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Christopher Foster February 21, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Thank you for your comments Ken. I appreciate very much your emphasis on our body’s capacity (and desire) to heal itself and bring itself back into balance. Your words are both helpful and inspiring.

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Bill Perkins February 21, 2014 at 9:50 am

Thank you for your consistently positive attitude. You are a beacon lighting the Way. My wife and I have you in our thoughts and prayers.

Bill Perkins
Nancy McMurtrie
Austin, Texas

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Christopher Foster February 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Thank you Bill. It’s good to hear from you again. Your words are a blessing. My love to you and your wife.

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John Bathurst February 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Hi Chris
Wonderful post! I’m not sure I really believe you are 81! Hearing from you brings up some fine memories.
Age wise I’m a few years behind you, but I can relate to much of what you say. Particularly a certain peace with things despite the turmoil so evident in our world.
John bathurst

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Christopher Foster February 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Thanks John. It’s great to hear from you. I guess our physical age is what it is, I’m just glad our spirit is free and doesn’t really have an “age.” My Dad was still a pretty young guy at 95, with, as he liked to say, “a joke for every occasion.”

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johanna February 21, 2014 at 8:51 pm

It’s so good to hear from you, Christopher! Specially to hear from some-one whose mind, soul and body are in perfect harmony with each other. I believe that it’s out of that harmony that grows the most wonderful colours of gratitude. Singing of birds, waves against rocks, the sight of a sunset with two eagles high-up circling each other, the smell of chocolate cake! The feeling of a baby, of new life, in your arms. The taste of a fresh peach.

Therefore, with a brisk walk on 70 years of age, all my senses on alert, I can still experience complete harmony between my soul, mind and body working together to stir up the most wonderful fulfilling emotions.
So, I believe that a body in total harmony with itself, can always cope with even the biggest waves of disharmony of life storming against it.

My best wishes for a complete recovery and love to your supporting wife,
Johanna from China.

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Christopher Foster February 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

It’s good to hear from you too, Johanna. I don’t know if I’ve ever asked you whereabouts in China you live, or how long you’ve lived there? Your words are so filled with color and life and poetry, I was there with you watching the eagles or sniffing (eating?) the chocolate cake.

It never fails to awe me, how spirit is not bound by geography and love speaks the same language any place. Thank you for your good wishes and we send good wishes right back to you.

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Maggie B. February 22, 2014 at 8:27 am

“I have never seen a more beautiful sight than the large hawk that alighted on a branch of a cottonwood while I was out for a walk this morning.”

I love this! I’m younger, but I’m currently banished to the bleachers as a result of some shin splints that won’t go away. As a result, though, I’ve found myself taking more slow walks, allowing myself to really investigate my surroundings in a way I can’t while running. I’ve started taking my binoculars and camera on my walks and really enjoying my new, slow pace. It’s something I hope I remember to do even as my shins heal themselves and I begin running again.
Maggie B. recently posted..Lifeflow Nirvana

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Christopher Foster February 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Thanks Maggie. Your words are beautiful. Good for you, not moaning with self-pity on a couch but getting out there and opening yourself to a new way of experiencing life and the outdoors. I’m betting you won’t be on the bleachers for long.

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Ingrid February 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and current experience, Chris–timely as ever! The ongoing deepening and peaceful nature of your experience come through and inspire, a guiding light for kindred spirits, senior or not, who are moving along their own paths. Blessings and health, Ingrid

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Christopher Foster February 22, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Blessings and health to you too Ingrid. Thank you for your encouraging words. It’s good to be sharing the journey together.

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Risa February 22, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Dear Christopher,
About the time you were diagnosed, I was also diagnosed with a life altering illness. My physician made the comment to me that he usually deals with patients “blaming their own bodies”, where I am of the opinion that our bodies not only protect us, but keep us informed. I took this information on each of my walks, while blowing bubbles with the children in the classroom, writing music, and re-reading your book.

Each step, of each day, and each encounter with nature and the gifts of the Universe, are what my body allows me to experience. Every smile from another, hug from a child, laughter from a life event, and tears of concern and sorrow are what my body gifts to me.
Thank you, endlessly, for what you gift not only to me through your words, but to all that are touched by, and share, your wisdom.

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Christopher Foster February 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Your words are very touching, Risa. Thank you so much for sharing. I salute the wisdom and quiet courage with which you are meeting your own life changes and challenges. I’m happy if my words are helpful to you, but I do assure you that your words are also a great blessing and inspiration to me, and I’m sure to others.

We are all in this together, aren’t we. And the way we handle what comes is indeed by taking “one step at a time.” Love and blessings to you.

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Trefor March 18, 2014 at 9:22 am

Hi Chris
As I preach to those who listen we’re not here to love any body else other than the body we’re in, which us men tend to neglect somewhat until some unfortunate /fortunate “kick up the arse” occurs till we get the message and hopefully do something about it.
What we think and what we feed ourselves are two of our biggest downfalls.
Your optimism and uplifting spirit speak volumes of our potential in human form and our ability to rise above our predicaments that challenge our time here on Earth.
With gratitude for your sharing.
Trefor

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Christopher Foster March 22, 2014 at 11:17 am

Trefor, I much appreciate your moving, strong words. I think you’re right that sometimes it takes a good hard kick “up the arse” — a kick that really hurts and seems perhaps like total disaster at the time — to get our attention. It has certainly been this way for me. When the community I was in for 36 years suddenly collapsed, and out of the blue I had to come back into the world at 63 and face a very raw and uncertain future I thought the sky had fallen in on me.

Now I see life was actually opening a doorway to freedom. Ah me. Life does keep us on our toes, doesn’t it? Thanks again Trefor.

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