It really is a temple

A month and half ago I ran in the Chicago Ragnar, which means I, along with 11 other tough women, ran from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois in leg increments. The race itself was grueling; it was hot, my legs barely had time to recover between increments, and we got little to no sleep; however, it was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done in my life. I had so much fun with the women in my van, and I was able to push my body to new limits. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity, and I am still so proud of myself and the other women on my team.

I came home from the race determined to sign up for a couple half marathons before the end of the year, but after a few days of light running post-race, I realized something was wrong with my hip. It hurt to walk, stand up straight, sit, and run. I couldn't do it without wincing. I gave myself a few weeks to rest, hoping time would heal it, but it didn't. I tried stretching, but that didn't really help either. Two days before I left for a family vacation to California, I called a nearby chiropractor (after some serious convincing from my mom), and I have started doing to some therapy on my hip and leg. It is slowly starting to feel better, and I am adding miles daily.

What this experience has taught me--as with other experiences in my life--is that the body is an amazing gift. I have always felt incredibly blessed to have such a healthy body that allows me to run, hike, walk, and exercise whenever I choose because I realize this is not the case for everyone. Whenever I have pain or cannot exercise for a time, I am reminded how fragile the body is and the responsibility we have to care for it.

Yesterday while cleaning the house, I listened to a podcast about trauma from Michael Stone, who recently passed away. In the podcast, Stone said something that really resonated with my healing body. He talked about how the body is a temple, which I absolutely believe, and he said that if a person doesn't actually believe their body is a temple, then of course it wouldn't matter to them what type of food they put into it, and it wouldn't matter if they exercised, and it would matter if they let themselves heal. I've thought about this a lot in the last 24 hours. I thought about all the healing that happens within the walls of temples, and I realized I really need to do all I can to heal the broken parts of my body--physically, emotionally and spiritually. And that's what I plan to do.

Thinking about the idea that our bodies are temples, I've also been pondering something else. So many people comment about my "thinness." I get comments like this: "You're just skinny." "You've never had to worry about your weight." And so on and so on. The truth of the matter is I work really hard on my body. I may have been thin in high school and college because of luck, genes and good metabolism, but that is not the case now. I have had 5 babies. My body has shifted in ways I never anticipated. It is weak in areas and strong in other areas. I have diastasis recti. My stomach will never look the way it did before kids no matter how many ab workouts I do. But more than having abs and muscles, I really believe my body is a temple, and I choose to treat it as such. I am careful about the substances I put into it, and I am mindful of when and how to push it to new limits. The definition of a temple is "a building devoted to worship, or regarded as the dwelling place of god or gods or other objects of religious reverence." So no matter the religion, if one believes the body can be a dwelling place for God, then perhaps how we treat our bodies should reflect this thought.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley