There’s a virus running around town. Watch out. Women are no longer the only ones susceptible. Men. Kids. Probably even your pets.
I noticed it while standing in line the other day at Chipotle. This woman came swooping in right behind me, ear glued to the phone and voice WAY too loud. She said, “Yeah, I’m here getting my last meal.” Pause. “Yeah, like, it’s my last meal for a while. I basically can’t eat ANYTHING for a while now, maybe even forever.” Pause. “Yeah, so I’m gonna go for it today and cheat big time. Even rice. And cheese. I’m gonna be so bad.”
I catch wind of this virus every day in the work I do here, honestly. In fact, Barbie and I had just participated in a health fair event over the weekend where quite a few women came up to us and bemoaned their need to “get in control” of their food and their exercise. We just look back at them and wait for their silence and then we ask them about them. What is it that they want to experience? How do they want to feel? Who supports them? Are they hiding? What makes their blood pump? What adventures do they want to go on?
And even though people answer and we often have incredible dialogue, I can tell that they’ve stored away the former conversation for later, for their mind to chew and slobber upon in the dark, gobbling up their creativity and sense of self and leaving holes in the fabric of their presence.
There’s a restlessness about this virus. It is unrelenting and it makes you believe that you need to protect and nurture its cravings for “shoulds” and “fixing.”
But, I’ll tell you what. You actually don’t have to operate this way.
Can you believe me when I tell you that every cell and every part of your body is just working for equilibrium, for survival? Even those with autoimmune conditions or the worst degenerative diseases or obesity. Underneath all of it, the assaults of our environment and health disasters, is a body that actually wants you to survive and will do anything, even things that feel terrible and painful, to keep you ticking.
Let’s use the metaphor of anarchy (not the violent interpretation or political leaning), as taught by a hero of mine, Emma Goldman. The underlying value here is that humankind is mostly good. In fact, humankind is so mostly good that we don’t need external rules or submission in order to keep a happy society. Yes, there’s always gonna be a few bad eggs who want to do terrible things, sure, but since the majority of humanity is inherently good, those few bad eggs will be taken care of in a way that results in continued peace. Thus, anarchy is an idealist notion that we human beings are built to rule ourselves with peace.
Now, let’s get real. These days, anarchy is pretty much impossible. We’re all so accustomed to external rules and regulations and control that A) we’re deathly afraid of not having those containers, and B) those bad eggs in our society have kind of taken over in such a powerful way that we sorta need the containers.
But, fortunately YOU and your body are not modern civilization. You still stand a chance to rule yourself with peace.
First rule is to slap yourself in the face and say, “my body is my friend.”
Second rule is to slap yourself in the face again and say louder, “MY BODY IS MY FRIEND and WANTS GOOD FOR ME.”
Third rule is to take a good look at the orders that go marching through your head every single millisecond of the day, concerning how you ought to subdue and control your body.
Fourth rule is to compare the First rule with the Third rule.
Fifth rule is laugh at how inane these marching orders truly are. Who came up with these? They’re so weird! No this, no that, do this, do that. How come you believe in them so whole heartedly even though there is ZERO consistency in their scientific findings? How come you are willing to hang on to them even though they’ve never once actually worked or done what they promised?
They are wildly ineffectual marching orders.
Sixth rule is to declare anarchy on these orders and agree to some civil disobedience in your thoughts for a bit. Take back this body of yours and give yourself some space.
What would you do with all the mind, heart, soul space once those marching orders were gone? Is it possible that if you let your guard down, that you might really be able to care for yourself while also enjoying the pleasures of being human? How might your body be if you just surrender to that idea? Might it glow and relax and get to work being healthy instead of being obedient?
Declare anarchy people. Doing otherwise is a waste of your time. Get strong to be strong, period. Listen to your needs and respond to your needs, period. Be willing to have no idea what will happen to you physically, but be ok with the fact that the main result is freedom.
You can do it. I’ll handle those few bad eggs until you do.