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

763 thoughts on “The Body and My Relationship with it

  1. “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.

  2. 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.

  3. “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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. ‘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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. “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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. “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.

  22. 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.

  23. “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….

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. “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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. ‘…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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. It is interesting how we adopt behaviours that drive and push our body out of its natural equilibrium and harmony when we disconnect from ourselves so that we are able to continue what we want to achieve with our mind to not have to feel our body’s distress and unsettlement or the true impact we are accepting with our body working in contra to our true nature and rhythm.

  38. 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!).

  39. I have held onto a huge amount of resentment towards myself which is so insidious and deeply hidden it has taken many years to come to the surface where it can be looked at in the light of day and be discussed. This resentment was so strong I did not want to be in or with my body. I feel very fortunate that I have the excellent practitioners of the Universal Medicine modalities to support me in coming back into my body and out of my mind. It’s a great pity that these modalities are not a normal part of our health industry, I feel certain that one day they will.

    1. And one day the world will be structured such that that departure from our bodies you talk about Mary will not be the normal; that we will Iive in a way that supports our staying connected with the wisdom of our bodies, our whole body intelligence.

  40. Henrietta thank you for this insightful article on abuse, I feel I’m just starting to unpick the level of abuse I have allowed in my life and I have to say it has been mostly self-inflicted. Like most women I can feel the lack of self-worth or self-appreciation and so I have allowed myself to be used like a doormat as I was totally disconnected to me. It is in the building of the reconnection to me that I can feel the damage I have done. I have tried very hard to annihilate me and to be honest I think this propensity is within the majority of us. I know this to be true because when I look outside to the world we are all doing the same thing which is being very self-abusive towards ourselves and others.

  41. We can drive our bodies to function beyond its natural limits, overriding the messages it is communicating and being disappointed when it does not perform to our expectations.

  42. We can misunderstand so easily that when we make some changes, they may feel correct and better, but actually aren’t really any different. So for example, like going from disregard not looking after ourselves to pushing ourselves with sport is still a disregard as far as the body is concerned. We need to listen deeply to the messages from the body to know its truth.

  43. The way many of us are with our bodies, can be quite the vicious cycle. We abuse it, it hurts/reacts, we resent that fact so often we disconnect from it//abandon it as we don’t want to hear/connect to the truth, and then we abuse it some more. Well done on breaking that cycle and returning to the preciousness that our bodies truly are.

  44. “this amazing vehicle that I have the honour of taking with me everywhere I go.” The more we appreciate and care for our amazing vehicle the more space within for the Divine energy to flow through us.

  45. Every day I have a deeper appreciation of this sentence “to care deeply for the bridge that allows the Truth to be accessed and then lived.” My body is that bridge to the Truth of the Love I am made from and my body never forgets that fact, regardless of what my mind tells it.

    1. A great new revelation in caring more deeply as the depth of truth needs to be supported with the depth of care.

  46. It can feel sometimes like we go around in circles, and return to patterns we thought had long passed. But we are given many opportunities to re-learn something and the body is always there to support the learning so simply with our thoughts and our movements that can bring us back to connection.

    1. Returning to those old patterns we thought were long gone can be quite a surprise until we realise the extent of the tendrils those patterns spread throughout our being and our life while we were living them. These days I appreciate the opportunity to take another look at any that return and yes, there is always something else to learn from their reappearance, sometimes not just once but several times.

  47. Everyone has different markers of what is self-abusing and what is not. The key for me is to ask questions of myself of be inspired by the lifestyles of others.

  48. Self-care in its true application provides honour to the body in a way I did not understand before listening to the teachings of Serge Benhayon.

  49. Getting to know, through respect and decency and then a growing appreciation, our body we realise that our body is the bridge to getting to know the much deeper aspect of ourselves, the true part of ourselves. So much so that what may start as a part then becomes the whole of who we are. Slowly and steadily.

  50. The feeling of being back to square 1 is a familiar one yet is such a good example of the need to be able to tick a box and be done with this getting it right way of thinking and living. The more understanding we have about our relationship with our body and with life, the more clear it is that this is a constant unfolding, and we will only ever be aware of the next level when we are ready for it. A forever deepening of the relationship with ourselves.

  51. Henrietta, reading this I feel how we can take our bodies for granted and often dislike our bodies, rather than appreciate, love and deeply care for them; ‘An amazing body that I have not really ever stopped to appreciate deeply’.

  52. Reading this brings it home how abusive we can be with our bodies and how hard we can be on ourselves. So, it’s no wonder that if this is the relationship we have with our bodies, then our thoughts about ourselves are not going to be very loving or even kind.

  53. When we realise the magnitude of stillness and love within our body, anything that is abrasive in the way we are or handle our body stands out like a sore thumb.

  54. Our body is not just some thing we cart around, and the sooner we come to realise this, then the sooner our lives will turn around. Our body is this amazing delicate vehicle, to be cared for and used with love and respect. Like having a fancy, fast and expensive car – you would drive it with care and enjoy its power, park it in the garage at night to keep it protected from rain and hail, wash it regularly to keep it shiny and fuel it with the right fuel. When we look at it like this, it seems obvious that we carry this amazing vehicle around and it is an honour to be able to care and respect it/us!

  55. Our propensity to take our body for granted, use and abuse it is massive. Yet, it is the very thing we walk with every day, the thing that takes us around to live life with and we ignore all its signals and communications constantly. Why do we do that?

  56. Most people have no relationship with their body at all. All they have is an expectation and when it does not deliver they feel that it has let them down.

      1. Yes, I agree Annelies and Kathleen, Since attending to Universal Medicine courses and particularly Esoteric Yoga, the surrender into the body has shown me that there is so much more, it exposes how we have just a functional, 3D relationship with the body when in fact, it is the doorway into your Soul, into Love – which everyone has access to – its Universal – living WITH and IN awareness of your innermost Love, you understand intimately how living with this is Medicine.

Leave a Reply to gillrandall Cancel reply