Writing gives me an opportunity to spend time thinking, and most of what I think about is myself - or at least myself in relation to my family, my home, the world around me, and the things I love to do. Because I’m introspective by nature, I spend a lot of time dwelling on and writing about my inner thoughts and feelings, and during this year I’ve been paying special attention to those things that help me live the life I desire. I chose the word “Devotion” as my touchstone for the year: I aimed for it to remind me to practice devotion toward the things I deemed important, to treat them with tender loving care. Reflecting on the past 10 months, I can see many ways in which I’ve achieved that goal. I’ve been more careful with my schedule, giving me more time to spend with my family and at home where I’m happiest. I’ve worked to shift my perspective toward an attitude of gratitude, to slow down and appreciate the ordinary sparkling moments that fill each day. I finished my book, Life In General, and it will soon be ready to send to print.
This morning I spent some time with my journal, and I found myself called to write about something that rarely comes up in those pages.
I’m 58 years old. I’m beginning to notice that parts of my body, this healthy organism that I’ve been taking for granted all these years, doesn’t feel like it once did. My knees ache when I walk too much, especially when I do my beloved Leslie Sansone Walk at Home exercise tapes. My feet hurt every day and I have to wear ugly flat shoes all the time. My hair feels dry and sandy when I touch it. There are bags under my eyes large enough to hold a wardrobe for a European vacation.
I feel as if I’m drying up from the inside out.
It occurred to me this morning that the one thing I’m not very devoted to is this very important part of me: the flesh and bones that house all the activities, thoughts, and feelings I’m so interested in exploring with my writing. I expect a lot from it every day, and I expect it to fulfill those expectations without trouble. Thankfully, for most all of my 58 years, it has done so without complaint. But now, like an exhausted toddler after a long day, it’s beginning to whine for a little attention.
I’ve never been one to pamper myself with things like spa treatments, oils and perfumes, or designer outfits. They always seemed like unnecessary extravagance. And with age, my interest in those things has diminished even further.
I’ve treated my body with respect but not with tender loving care.
Not with devotion.
I’d like to change that. I want to explore the sensual part of me, to take time to care my physical body. Tend to it. Love it. Smooth fragrant lotion over its dry skin. Keep it warm with soft sweaters and scarves that look as good as they feel against my skin. Feed it fresh, simple food I’ve prepared myself. Move it freely and happily, letting music inspire shoulders, hips, and feet to move in their own way.
I want to notice it, caress it, give it the love and devotion it deserves after so many years of solid service. Lavish it with love and attention.
Devote myself to feeling good, from the outside in.