The Body and My Relationship with it

All through life I have had this body that I have been carting around. An amazing body that I have not really ever stopped to appreciate deeply. This body is my vehicle, my means of getting around from point A to point B, a very useful and practical thing indeed. But have I ever stopped to feel that there is so much more to appreciating this body and all that it can really be, and more importantly, all that it can be a vehicle for?

Well, let’s find out…

For most of my life I have seen my body as just a ‘thing,’ as mentioned before, “something to cart around and get around in.” And most of the time I find myself getting frustrated with my body – why can I not move faster, be less clumsy, get more things done; why do I have to stop to feed, care for and sleep this ‘thing’? Why can I not eat and drink certain foods without the body reacting or getting sick?

This has been my approach for a long time – a resentment of my body for not fitting a picture that I have had of how I should be – an approach that sees the body as a vehicle to be used and quite frankly, abused, in many ways. And I’m not talking here about having a history of drug or alcohol or physical abuse to share. In fact I was not one to drink much at all – I had a few sips (literally, as that was all I could handle and wanted to have, just to fit in a little) out of a glass of beer or champagne on the odd occasion with some friends in my mid 20’s and then stopped the few sips completely in my 30’s, so alcohol was not my way of abusing my body. And though some of my friends in my mid 20’s were into smoking pot and other drugs that were around, this was not something I was drawn to being involved in, so drugs were not my way of abusing my body.

But I still abused my body, in a different way – I did indulge in sports and in studies. Now you might say “Is this not good?,” and it is not that sports or studies per se are abusive to the body, but the type of sports and the way I went around it was abusive. Perhaps not in an obvious way but in a way that was subtle with insidious effects that are far more long lasting, as well as laced with the reasons why I got into these pursuits.

I got into sports (tennis and running) when I was young as a means to get attention from my dad and essentially have a ‘buddy buddy’ relationship with him.

I also felt safer playing the role of being a tom-boy at school as my body was developing and I began to turn into a woman, which I was certainly not comfortable about.

So I got into sports and was especially drawn to tennis and competition tennis, which meant training many hours per week and travelling for comps. There was the hard, physical training I did, the pressure I put upon myself, and then there was the anxiety and nerves of the competitions and the gruelling flogging of myself that I was not good enough, that I had to keep pushing myself to the next level, to keep proving who I was.

From tennis I moved on to martial arts training in Jiu Jitsu, with the excuse that it was good for me to learn self-defence as a woman. I did this for a few years and then moved on to Yoga and running, pressuring myself to run a certain number of kilometres per week and to also train for many hours of Ashtanga yoga, pushing hard even though my body felt tired, run down or I had my period etc., all so that I could say I was fit and healthy.

At the same time, I also turned to studies and University Education. One degree followed another and I nailed them, with each one working hard till the early hours in the morning, sometimes only sleeping a few hours per night to ensure I passed. My first University degree was in a foreign language so I had the added pressure of deciphering the language, in addition to understanding the complex biochemistry I was studying. The rules at the time at the public university were harsh in that a pass mark was around 75% – and if you failed one subject you would have to re-sit all of them.

I also had the added pressure of knowing that if I did not pass then I would have to leave the country we were residing in and hence no longer live with my family and friends. I never once reached out to discuss this with anyone as I felt everyone had enough pressures they were working through themselves and I did not want to be an added burden. I made my life hard and worked hard, never once considering that there was a different way to do this – a way that would actually consider and respect deeply the body I was so-called ‘carting around.’

I got sick a lot, with chest infections (bronchitis), a severe case of glandular fever that knocked me out for 9 months, chronic knee pains and later on chronic fatigue. These were all the messages from my body that the way I was going about life was not working.

Finally, in my mid 30’s, I met Serge Benhayon, and though I did not make any changes initially in the way I was living, it was the beginning of being open to a different way of being. As I began to seek out the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom and had some Esoteric healing sessions, I began to build a different relationship with my body.

I began to understand how I was putting huge amounts of pressure upon myself, how hard I was on myself and how many demands I placed upon myself and my body! I was never one to eat poorly or to drink alcohol, nor to abuse myself in all the other obvious ways that we see and know in society as being abuse, but as I began to develop this relationship with myself, I came to realise that there are a multitude of other ways to abuse the body whilst making it look like you are doing the ‘right’ thing.

Essentially, I got to realise that I was living through my mind only at the expense of my body and not really embracing this body as Me, or even a part of me! Thanks to the Esoteric work and Ageless Wisdom Teachings, which come from a Livingness in the body and not from the knowledge of someone’s mind or head, over time I have come to realise that the body is a tool, but a very precious one… one not to be abused, but instead used ever so lovingly to express that which lies deep within us all, our essence.

How I live my life now is vastly different to how I lived it prior to encountering the Ageless Wisdom. I am far more caring and nurturing of my body than I have ever been, taking the time to go to the toilet and brush my teeth without rushing; making sure my posture is supported at work, in the car and at home; eating foods that feed me/support me back (yes, this actually works!); working and staying active to support myself and my family.

There are many things that I still do today that may not appear different from the outside, but there is a difference in the quality that I am doing them in – in terms of being so much more caring of my body, this amazing vehicle that I have the honour of taking with me everywhere I go.

I say honour, because I have come to realise that it is the body (and not the mind) that is our means of connecting to our Soul, and this is the blessing: to care deeply for the bridge that allows the Truth to be accessed and then lived.

But I am also realising more and more how there is a constant deepening of my understanding of the body. And so, very often I will find myself feeling like I am back to square one – abusing my body again but in this I am realising the more insidious ways that I have placed pressure upon myself, or demands on myself etc. So as I grow, my relationship with my body changes and deepens. Wow – what is next?

By Henrietta Chang, BNat, BBio, MApplSciEcol, EPA, ATMS, ANTA

725 thoughts on “The Body and My Relationship with it

  1. The beauty of all is that there’s nothing to develop, no aim to achieve as the aliveness and communication from the body is a constant invitation to surrender to it. From our body we know how precious and sacred we are already and we innately know how to cherish and care ourselves.

  2. The beholding love within ourselves is always there. It never imposes or punish us because our hardness and denying of it, just is there, reflecting us what it’s and what’s not. It’s from the body that expresses so having a deeper relationship supports us to feel the effect of every choice we daily make. As we are human, never perfect, there’s always a new opportunity to address what no longer feels loving. In this way the journey this life makes sense, feels more purposeful and fullfilling than ever, because everything is lived from the richness we carry within.

  3. I have come to know that my body is very precious, it is to be honoured, cherished and loved deeply; I have let go of the old paradigm that it is fine to disregard my body, ‘I got to realise that I was living through my mind only at the expense of my body and not really embracing this body as Me, or even a part of me!’

  4. There is some resemblance of this blog to how I used to live, although I can add, excessive drinking, social smoking and late nights to top the abuse I placed upon my body. And all along my body struggled like you, having regular infections of some kind that would wipe me out, but I did not take heed of what the body was signalling.

    That abuse continued for years and all along I thought I was fit, yet I was totally the opposite.

    It has taken me years to actually understand or form a true developing relationship with my body and like yourself, only since meeting Serge Benhayon. No one forced me to do anything, but the more I heard his presentations the more life made sense. Ever since then my life has been different and I have never looked back but forward.

    I find that it is never too late to implement changes as the body will always respond and love the changes you make especially when it is of the truest form. So starting somewhere is better then no start at all, after all no one else is going to do it for you…

  5. “it was the beginning of being open to a different way of being.” When we connect to the truth of the Ageless Wisdom we know there is a true way to live.

  6. We do place so many pressures on ourselves and not ever think to reach out for support. Stress has become such a norm. I remember exams at high school, I was so run down that I didn’t realise I had tonsillitis, I just remember not being able to achieve the study I has set myself and not knowing why. If school can introduce those kinds of pressures no wonder as adults we shoulder so much and may feel we are expected to cope with it all on our own.

    1. Melinda study is something I am working through at the moment, it was the one thing that stressed me to the max, always in drive, fear of failing and struggling with the text. This all placed by the education system and yet we all possess such wisdom that this is never marked or accepted.

      I’ve been given the opportunity to restudy so it will be interesting to see where and how I take this now and to allow the body to express from its wisdom instead of the mind and intellect. What a wonderful opportunity I have been given to undo something I grew up with.

      1. Thanks Shushila, I can relate. I still see patterns of drive, panic, raciness, etc, come in quite quickly when I sit down to work at my computer, I have felt how these deep grooves of behaviour were established in the education system and the stress of meeting the demands of assignments and exams, without any focus on self care. Like yourself I am in the process of undoing this, but it will be necessary at some point to change the systems that promote such stress in education because it’s so harmful for our health, wellbeing, and for our self worth.

  7. “the body is a tool, but a very precious one… one not to be abused, but instead used ever so lovingly to express that which lies deep within us all, our essence.” Thanks Henrietta, you have a way of expressing things that support me to get it so clearly from the angle you share it from. The quote I have taken from your blog about the body is so deeply touching, I really felt the preciousness of what the body can support us to be when we lovingly care for it.

  8. Our body is made of particles, and these particles belong to divinity – to abuse the body is then to say that we do not belong to where we have come from, and it is us denying our own powers.

  9. I just had a hilarious experience – I had totally forgotten that I had written this blog, and so I went to read it and then discovered I had written it! Interestingly whilst reading it, it felt so familiar and I was finding I could relate to the whole blog, and I can also feel how much deeper I have gone since writing the blog in terms of looking after the body that much more. These days the detail of care that I give myself is so much more than indepth than ever before, and yet I know that in a few months or years time, I will be ready to take it yet deeper again.

    1. That is so cute Henrietta and very funny, I would have liked to have seen your face when you saw the authors name.

    2. Ha ha that is funny Henrietta. I can relate with much that you have shared, treating my body as if it was an object; abusing myself with study and exercise, getting glandular fever further down the line, and my body struggling with exhaustion for the last 20 plus years.

  10. ‘The gruelling flogging of myself that I was not good enough, that I had to keep pushing myself to the next level, to keep proving who I was’, that’s the thing about sport, it tends to mean that those involved are constantly trying to get better at it, which means that there is a constant striving which in itself means that there is never settlement. Even when we win, any feelings of achievement are very fleeting, very fleeting indeed.

  11. We are not taught from young that actually our bodies are sacred because they carry the divinity of God which is the universe within. Quite the opposite in fact we are encouraged/taught from young to discount what we feel and instead use our mind to reason or find a logical explanation to what is happening in our surroundings and so we miss out on the magic that is happening all around us because we have become dumb and sorry to say stupid. We must be stupid to over ride what our bodies are attempting to communicate which is that we come from a universal intelligence that far exceeds what our minds can think.

    1. We are not taught from young that our bodies are sacred. I was taught to disregard my body, ‘I began to understand how I was putting huge amounts of pressure upon myself, how hard I was on myself and how many demands I placed upon myself and my body! ‘

  12. I can relate to aspects of what you share of an addiction to study. I spent years pursuing studies instead of studying life from within. The first gave me qualifications, the second a life renewed and true sense of self.

    1. Kehinde, this is absolutely GOLD what you have said here – pursuing studies from the head perceives us to develops things from the outside but never asks us to study our life and essence within. Of course the qualifications are needed to function and get a job in our current world, but this should never be at the expense of one’s connection with self and the harmony that one naturally holds within.

  13. “to care deeply for the bridge that allows the Truth to be accessed and then lived” This is beautiful Henrietta and brings purpose to our relationship with our bodies.

  14. This trajectory of abusing the body is instilled in children from a young age in the family home and school. Participating in sports begins early, as do other forms of physical activity, for example, ballet. But we’re not taught to have a relationship with our bodies and no reference made of its divine qualities. The main concern is to use the body through regular physical activity for recognition and reward.

  15. I have come to an understanding that we treat our bodies like a dustbin we put all sorts of food and drink into it without discerning if it is something that our body needs. We take drugs without fully appreciating the effects it will have on our bodies and can become addicted to them without considering why we would want to take such drugs in the first place and complain because we feel our bodies have let us down. What Universal Medicine has supported me and many others is to understand that our bodies are deeply sensitive and all-knowing and if we treat them with disrespect then we have to bear the consequences of those choices.

  16. Henrietta thank you for writing so honestly so that we all have an opportunity from your words to really feel the impact that running and tennis had on your body and why you chose recognition and acceptance over what your body was showing you. I felt tired just reading what your body went through. Many of us do just see our bodies as something we drag round to get us from A to B and this blog gives us all an opportunity, a stop moment, to reconsider our relationship to our bodies which really means to ourselves.

  17. The greatest sadness is to live in a body and not appreciate what it offers and instead ignore, neglect, abuse or blame it. To have deep reverence for our body is to respect it as the precious vessel it is, loving and nurturing it as part of our everyday.

    1. I have to put both hands and feet in the air and say I did not appreciate my body or myself at all. And so to learn how to do this lovingly has been a huge wake up call. I’m so blessed that I have the support in my life of family and friends that have helped me live in a different far more nourishing way.

    2. Our body is indeed precious, very delicate and amazing, ‘There are many things that I still do today that may not appear different from the outside, but there is a difference in the quality that I am doing them in – in terms of being so much more caring of my body, this amazing vehicle that I have the honour of taking with me everywhere I go.’

  18. I also discovered too that over-exercising and pushing one’s body hard with exercise and sport is abusive in no different a way to alcohol and drugs. In fact for some period in my life exercise and sport was my drug of choice to help me cope with life and my body still bears the scars today of this excess and abuse.

    1. I can say that for a period of my life I was addicted to exercise, I really pushed my body, but never really listened to my body and what it was saying to me.

  19. There are people who come into our lives who offer reflections of things we can be reminded of. From experience I would say that every reflection I have received from every person in my life has offered me something. However, there are some that we value more than others and we therefore assign importance to them. What is clear is that we know Truth – yes a capital T – and it is when we see, feel and hear the reflection of that Truth that we sit up and listen. Serge Benhayon walks Truth and Love in a way that has no interest in being liked or accepted by others and does not cause any harm to another. Very inspiring.

  20. We treat our body in such a horrible way at times – we over eat, we slouch on the couch in front of the telly, go into relationships and engage in sexual interactions which are clearly abusive, many of us women dress in a way that is disrespectful to the innate beauty that shines through our heart just because we want a bit of recognition, a bit of attention to make us feel good about ourselves. All of these behaviours are disrespectful to the body and makes us feel horrible about ourselves. When we look in the mirror it is not the body that we don’t like, but the reflection of all of these choices because the body does not lie, it shows us very clearly how we have abused it and when we’re faced with that, instead of taking responsibility and accepting what we’ve done – we go into self-bashing mode and cement these behaviours further – a vicious cycle.

  21. Having started back at the gym again after awhile I am noticing how common it is for us to push ourselves to achieve the next level rather than really enjoying where we are at, how our body feels and letting the body , not our mind, guide us to what is needed.

  22. I have very much considered my body to be inconsequential – but the realisation is that without it I cannot bring through what there is to be expressed. The arrogant part of me is getting a taste of humble pie. As my relationship with my body develops (starting with accepting I have to start somewhere), I can see that a possibility of having a relationship with my body that is harmonious exists; because currently there is a wayward part of me that can have a hissy fit at having to be obedient to the universal, multidimensional laws that govern physicality.

  23. We can be very hard on ourselves, it can be extremes of competitive sport and it can also be how we get dressed, brush our hair and walk…it is no wonder we feel bad about ourselves when we treat ourselves rough, without love.

  24. When we have a loving and caring relationship with ourselves through our bodies in how we treat them, life feels full and we feel quite amazing too.

  25. “The Body and My Relationship with it” – The relationship with my body helps me to understand the relationship I’m having with myself and who I am as a woman.

  26. We have these wonderful vehicles, our bodies and they are our pathway back to living connected to our soul, and the question is how are we with them? I can relate very much to what is shared here, how I’ve viewed my body almost as a ‘carcass’ there to do my bidding but not to be listened to, and as I’m learning to listen, I’m learning to more deeply honour my body and understand it is forever showing me the truth.

    1. When we consider that our body is made up of particles, and these particles are energetically communicating all the time without our input or control, that is a reflection of the divine order of our Universe that communicates and functions without our input either. We really are part of a magnificent whole and it is about time we stepped up to being a contributing member of that whole rather than a pesky rebel delaying evolution.

  27. “For most of my life I have seen my body as just a ‘thing,’ as mentioned before, “something to cart around and get around in.” ” I imagine this is the case for the majority of humanity, and the feeling of inconvenience when we get sick or suffer with pain or discomfort is seen as just that with little or no regard for the part we played in the body getting sick in the first place. How life changing it would be to see the body as holding such deep wisdom and love that it actually has the power to heal itself of many many ailments, given the right condtions and true support.

    1. I was very detached from my body and also used to drag it around and treat it with disregard. Since turning this around my life, my health, my wellbeing have also made beautiful turn around….no surprises perhaps, but why then are so many of us avoiding this simple fact of life, increasing disease on the planet says we are avoiding the obvious….

  28. Many would say that you have been successful and champion your actions Henrietta, but what comes across in your writing is how abusive those actions were on the body. As a humanity, we are a long way from seeing that sports and excessive studying harm us if we use the body instead of consulting with the body.

  29. The expectations we can have of ourselves can have a detrimental effect on our bodies, which means that it is one of the ways we can abuse ourselves. Not obviously abusive, but when you consider the effect on our physicality, our wellbeing and the fact that when we have expectations we are pushing ourselves to be someone other that ourselves.

    1. In some circles it has become commonplace for people to participate in arduous sport and other extreme physical pursuits. Why we choose to punish rather than honour and treat the body with tenderness often relates to the emptiness we feel inside and constant search for recognition. When we align to the body’s true essence, which is love, the search for recognition ends.

  30. Learning to love who we are and our body, no matter what is a very big deal. So often we might mentally give ourselves a hard time because our bodies are sick, exhausted, ageing and no longer able to do what they used to do. Our bodies are master communicators. Clear, Always on point, never misses a beat (not literally). They simply know what to do and how to respond to any circumstance. That’s pretty darn amazing.

  31. Its fascinating to read your story Henrietta – this is literally the travel guide of how to toughen up, and ouch. However, this is also seen as the temporal road to success, and would be championed by many… and that is something to be very aware of.

  32. Even doing the ‘right’ thing is abusive to the body, our beliefs and ideals can keep us in the illusion we are doing great, and we do when we follow what our mind is telling us but when we become honest and feel our body and what it needs it is a whole different story as your blog is showing us.

  33. It’s like our mind will agree to any deal, except admit that it’s not the boss. Nothing it can come up with can ever come close to the beauty of a body lead by our heart.

  34. Yes, Henrietta, it is so beautifully humbling that the way back to soul is in our re-connection with the quality of stillness within our own bodies.

  35. “But I still abused my body, in a different way – I did indulge in sports and in studies. Now you might say “Is this not good?,” and it is not that sports or studies per se are abusive to the body, but the type of sports and the way I went around it was abusive” – yes, the more we love our body, appreciate just how delicate it is and respect that then the more we discover or uncover the abuse we do to it/ourselves. Basically, we are in abuse when we are not holding the body [ourselves] first in the delicacy of love.

  36. This is a perfect example of how much we actually abuse the body with things that are considered healthy or good for us (sport and education)! This is not to say or give us an excuse to sit around and do nothing! But it does highlight the importance of doing something where we are first truly connected, to the best of our ability, with ourselves knowing that if we exercise it is not about pushing the body or any form of drive but instead supporting it; and if we are learning (education) what are we learning, what is the purpose of our learning and not to override the body’s intelligence with our learning. And I love how this has changed for you. Very cool.

  37. And when we do tune into our body, with such depth wisdom and awareness, one of the most amazing miracles of the universe happens, in that we can feel ourselves expand and reconnect with the universe with a deep knowing that there is no separation

  38. ‘…there is a constant deepening of my understanding of the body…’ if I really take on what you have said here, I realise the beautiful and endless invitation we have in life to forever learn and deepen our relationship with our bodies as the great guides and support they are.

  39. Thank you Henrietta for bringing this up. I have also mistreated my body through sport. It is amazing the choices we can make when disconnected from our bodies. I always felt that there was something about my body that I needed to understand. I was also a believer in the mind over matter concept which allowed me to punish my body, striving to realise the pictures that I had created in my mind. It is only in the last 6 years that I have allowed myself to realise that the pictures are false and taking care of, and connecting to, my body is the true way of how I am meant to live. There is no room for pictures when living in connection with my body.

  40. Doing sports is higly valued as doing the ‘right’ thing for our body but the way in which sports are played is not about playing and have fun but about competition and getting the body to be superfit and have muscles as you won’t believe is possible. This to me is pure abuse of our divine, delicate and tender body.

  41. Oh how we take our bodies for granted until something goes wrong such as in an illness, accident or just plain bloating, raciness or exhaustion. Like you Henrietta, I am learning to listen to my body and am beginning to love my body as it is through my body that I can allow my Soul to work through me. So then my body can be of service to others and everyone wins. Part of God’s plan I suppose, to bring all bodies back to the One body (of God!).

    1. Yes absolutely I am learning to respect and cherish my body, ‘I am learning to listen to my body and am beginning to love my body as it is through my body that I can allow my Soul to work through me.’

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