What kind of boss are you?

Are you a good employer? How are your body’s work conditions?

One time many years ago I overworked my body and was really depleted energetically. I had been holding space during a disaster recovery project and I had no idea I was overdoing it. My body got so out of whack I could hardly keep water down, let alone any food. When I returned from that trip a friend of mine who is a Qigong Master  said to me “ Sandra, I don’t understand you. I see you are such a good tenant when it comes to your apartment, you look after it as if it were your own place. The Universe rented you this body to live it, why are you such a bad tenant?” Looking back I can see why, I had spent most of my childhood floating above my body, living mostly in other realms, connecting to Earth only when necessary. I was not at all athletic and loathed sports of any kid. I had pretty much disconnected from my human body and if you had met me then, you would have called me a clumsy child. I grew up feeling like a body was a necessary inconvenience.

As a teen and young adult, I still disliked sports and I found one activity I did like and that was dancing. I could move to the music and not care if my performance was ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The mind-body connection improved over the years and gradually I got to be my body’s best friend. I still am not a fan of exercise, get me on a beach however and I will walk for miles. I also learned to sense what my body was feeling and my ultimate connection came when I was about to eat a cookie as I was sipping a tea at 10 pm and I heard this inner voice say “ do you have to put that in me right now?”

Having made a promise to myself to be kinder to my body, I set the cookie down, somewhat reluctantly. That was years ago and these days there is no reluctance. I do my best to provide what my body needs. Some days my best is better than other days. I am still work in progress, and know there are days when my body would be better served if I went to bed earlier. This past (pandemic) year has seen me at my least active, no opportunities to weight train carrying suitcases ( I could  lift my 25 kg suitcases easily, haven’t checked this recently)  and I haven’t had my usual exercise of navigating around subway stations in Hong Kong where sometimes the exit is a 15 minute walk! I am not making excuses as there was nothing stopping me from taking long walks here on my farm other than my own reluctance. I handled my first whole winter in Canada in eighteen years well by essentially hibernating!  Spring is now here, this bear has emerged from her cave and you will find me outdoors more often.

To rectify my overworked body post Tsunami in 2004 I was advised to eat nothing other than rice porridge three times a day for two whole weeks. I couldn’t understand why a starchy carbohydrate would help. Later on I discovered from a friend who was a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine that white rice porridge is a harmonizer. When the spleen is harmonized the rest of the body follows suit. I ate my rice porridge and over the days I grew to look forward to the bowl of almost tasteless mush as I felt good after eating it. And after two weeks I was able to introduce other foods without upsetting my digestion. I learned my lesson and I take much better care of myself these days. It’s not about having better discipline, it’s about priorities.

Do you burn the candle at both ends too often?  Do you ignore your dietary needs? Do you take on too many stressful activities? Do you spend your days saying “next year will be different?” You are the boss of your body. It has been working to keep you alive and well since birth. Are you providing it the best work conditions? If not, why not? This lifetime you only have this one body. In my opinion it deserves the best employer. I’d love to hear your stories on this topic, feel free to email me or post your comments below.