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Please Meditate: Gratitude for Your Body (VIDEO)

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As summer approaches, often so does the quest for the perfect summer body. But in your searching, do not forget to find the deeper body perfection: happiness, peace, and a harmonious relationship to your body, no matter its shape, size, color, or texture.

Our very use of language reveals that we are not just our bodies, but much more. Why else would we say "my body"? Who is this "my" that "has" a "body"? The nature of language reveals more to human beings than just a body: a brain? A soul? A spirit? You can choose your own terms, but one truth is certain: Our bodies are "ours" to care for.

One of my favorite ways of considering "my" body is as my animal companion aspect: It is as dear as a puppy, kitten, or other pet. It is my charge to care for, love, and keep safe. Would you be so tough with an animal companion to constantly force it to diet, criticize its shape endlessly, and measure it against other animals with harsh, unrealistic standards? I doubt it. An animal so harshly treated would likely rebel or show behavior problems, like chewing a hole in the sofa or even itself.

Tighten and tenderize your relationship with your body by suspending criticism and judgement for just a few minutes (at least!), shifting your focus to gratitude with me in this guided meditation. A gratitude practice has many scientifically-documented benefits, including greater likelihood of regular exercise, fewer physical maladies, less pain, effortless optimism, and a higher incidence of goal attainment. Furthermore, gratitude practice leads to a greater experience of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and energy. Better sleep quality and longer sleep have also been noted.

For more, explore Olivia's interactive meditation book, Please Meditate: It's Good for You, a 10-week experience, workbook, and journal.

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