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Mind and Body, War and Peace

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I'm in the cutting room -- having a minor surgery. Minor, yes, with a resulting one and a half inch scar and a directive to avoid walking and exercise for the next three weeks. The doctor tells me risk of infection is high and there's not much I can do about that. I am told not to travel for a month.

I'm given Vicodan. I hold the bottle in my hands, then set it down on the counter. Drained from the pain, yet I prefer it to the foggy head and constipation of Vicodan. I will hold the bottle, then place it back on the counter and just breathe. Slowly. Deeply. Inhale. Exhale.

My imperfect body, once a source of frustration and brutal self-criticism, is now my love. I love this body that has so generously served my ambitions, my passions, and my steely persistent will.

This body that takes me for walks along the glistening lake, in the crisp air, breeze on my face, arms swinging freely, nourished by the trees and the water.

This body that is always willing to dance, to sing, to cook a meal for friends. This body that experiences the pleasure of a tender touch and the trembling ecstasy of intimacy.

I have grown weary of this American dialog, a dialog of mind at war with body. Mind always right, of course. Mind, the dictator. Mind, the jailer. Body, the servant. Body, the victim, of mind, the bully.

Will declaring war on our bodies bring us into the fullness of health? How's that working out? Maybe, a momentary victory here or there; but an enduring peace -- not so much.

My friend, Amanda, taught me that the imperfect Barbie dolls, the ones missing patches of hair, the ones with an odd pigmentation here and there, are the most collected, most rare and most valuable. They are perfect.

I have come to see my imperfect body as my greatest teacher. My mind is finally learning it's not the only game in town. Empowered, my wise body knows whom to trust, knows what to do, and brings sensing and feeling to my world of doing. My perfectly imperfect body teaches me that war has no winners. Love conquers all.

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