Friday, February 1, 2013

Appreciating the Body for Carrying Me Through Life

It was an ordinary Tuesday in my life with things to do, people to see, places to go.  My annual mammogram was on the books so I headed off to my 1:30 appointment.   With my driver’s license and insurance card in hand, I checked in with the receptionist,   breezed through the stack of forms and returned them with a smile.  My name was promptly called by a gentle woman who escorted me into the back room where I changed into the mauve mini hospital gown.
After the quick-change, I was led into the mammography room.  No sweat.  I had no problem with the stretching and pulling required to coax my small breasts into the machine in order to get the best view.  This wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew what to expect as she instructed me with the precision of a drill sergeant on a mission:  Do this.  Don’t do that.  Done. 
Once again, I was placed in a waiting area.  The women sitting with me were funny, using comic relief to ease nerves.  There were cookies, chocolates and treats sitting on a table.  We jovially discussed the psychology of these treats like a kid getting a sucker after a shot.  One woman grabbed a pack of cookies confessing she wasn’t even hungry but eating gave her something to do.  The banter continued until one by one the women were dismissed.
To my surprise, the doctor requested additional images.  “What the F---?” was my muted reaction as the technician explained that it is her job to prove this is nothing.  I began to repeat silently, “This is nothing…”  I was informed an ultrasound was necessary.  Then, sheer terror engulfed me as I lay there completely vulnerable.  I began to give thanks starting with the fact that the ultrasound gel was warm but gratitude couldn’t stop the tears from coming.  As the hot tears poured down my face, they landed in my ears and I was grateful for this release of emotions.
The doctor came in and thoroughly explained the images on the screen, assuring me all was well, but she needed to see me again in 6 months for a follow-up.
Arriving home, I was done with the day ready to retreat from the world so I ran a bath at 5:00 and climbed in, soaking, breathing, closing my eyes, praying and finally, cupping my breasts and appreciating them as they are.  At 44, my breasts are not perky, the skin doesn’t quite fit – they fall to the side when I lie on my back and dip forward when I stand.  They are two different sizes – the right barely an A cup and the left almost a B.  None of this mattered.  All that mattered was my breasts were healthy.
Rubbing lotion on my naked body, I thanked every inch of it, as I knew in a more profound way that it is far more than a size or weight – my body is the sacred vessel that carries me through this life.
Meditation:  What keeps you from loving your body as it is?
Action:  Let go of any judgment about your body and take time to appreciate it every day.

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