We recently renovated our kitchen after 5 years of spending a good amount of my day in a space that didn't fit my needs or desires. I finally decided it was time to make some changes when I realized that I had outgrown our old kitchen and I wanted my space to more accurately reflect me and who I was becoming.
It was a small kitchen, build in 1966 with all the original handmade cabinetry with mis-matched liners, moldy grout and aged appliances. It was secluded from the rest of the house and the space only allowed for one person (at least that was my husband's excuse was for not being able to help me with cleaning it after dinner).
Every year we've made upgrades to our old house so that it's more energy-efficient, more updated and more "us". Slowly, over the past 5 years we have built a home.
However, a home is not built by fancy new fixtures or appliances alone. A home is created with love and the people who inhabit it. It's created by taking care and maintenance. It's created through an investment of our precious time and money because our home is where we live and like it or not, we are a product of our environment. Our physical space matters.
Our body is our home. Our temple. Like our house it's in constant need of cleaning, maintenance and upgrades. The better we take care of it, the less likely it is that it breaks down on us. And like a house, the more we invest in the foundations, the more energy-efficient it will be and the longer it will last.
But it's how we care for it that make it a place we want to live in. We can eat all the "right" foods, do the "right" exercise and all the "right" things, but if our approach to building a healthy body is one of beating it into submission, then it feels like never-ending house-hold chores, not a loving act of self-respect and self-honoring.
Building a home in your body is not only about healthy habits, it's about being in a co-operative relationship to your body's needs and desires. It's about understanding that at the root, you just want to feel good, be happy and feel free. And if you haven't learned a better way, the only way you know how to do that is with a glass of wine and chocolate.
Building a home in your body is a process of self-discovery done with curiosity and deep listening. It's about carving out time and making an investment in one's self. If we don't do this, wear and tear is inevitable.
I was thinking about this idea of "building a home" when I was giving myself a self-massage with oil (called abhyanga in Sanskrit) – a practice I do almost daily. When I do this it's really an act of self-love. It's a time to connect and pay attention to my body. The same goes when I choose my meal plan for the week – I eat to nourish my body with the best foods possible. My body practices are literally building my home.
Over the years I've refined my practices more and more. Like my house, I'm continuously upgrading and updating them to better reflect who I am becoming.
Something I noticed with having a new and improved kitchen is that I take better care of it. The same goes with our body. The stronger, fitter, and healthier it becomes, the more we want to take care of it and we continue to spiral up in terms of energy, strength and vitality. And on the contrary, the more we neglect it, the faster it deteriorates. And eventually we just don’t want to live there anymore.
So I ask you – do you feel your body accurately reflects who you're becoming? Or are you in need of an upgrade?