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An exercise in gratitude: giving thanks for this most imperfect miraculous body


Body Worlds Exhibition, Singapore (AP Photo: Wong Maye-E)

Our bodies seem to be ready targets for self-criticism and objects of never-ending DIY improvement projects. They typically weigh too much and boast hips too big. They come complete with various aches and infirmities; eyes that need correction; and skin that, after transcending acne, ultimately wrinkles and can no longer defy the pull of gravity. Without incredible diligence—and sometimes even with it—the body becomes hard and soft in all the wrong places. With so much to disparage, it seems that most people are at war with their bodies in whole or in part.

During this time of Thanksgiving, call a truce and give this, your personal edifice to being human, your gratitude for the many kindnesses and services it provides.

Give thanks for this marvel that carries the spirit of you around every day, on feet that each smoothly coordinates 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, 107 ligaments, and hundreds of sensory receptors. Be grateful for the arms that faithfully allow you to hug those you love, the ears that bring you the sounds of music, and the eyes that view the brilliant and varied colors of nature.

As you take in the breath that gives you life, extend appreciation to the amazing and complex system that makes it possible. You walk, you talk. Wiggle your fingers and think about the miracle taking place in your brain and spinal column to result in picking up a quarter from the counter. If only for today, express gratitude for the phenomenon and wonder that you and your body are—and remember to treat yourself accordingly.


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  • whiteshoulder 5 years ago

    This is the time of year that most people tend to give thanks for one thing or another. But why save it for the holidays? We should be thankful for every day of our being and grateful that we can get through each day the best way we know how and if need be with the help from a friend or family member. If we don't care for ourselves ...who will?

  • nath 5 years ago

    An oh-so-good reminder. Thanks Liz.

  • Nyra Jordan, Madison Fitness Examiner 5 years ago

    This is a great article. Thanks for the reminder.

  • gputscher 5 years ago

    I got to see the Body Works exhibit. I was blown away. Your article is very interesting and true to fact. I guess we should give thanks for what we have and be thankful things work the way they should.

  • Katrina, Atlanta Alternative Spirituality Examiner 5 years ago

    What a wonderful reminder you have given us. Thank you :)

  • Roberta Baxter Eugene, OR. Dogs Examiner 5 years ago

    I did the self criticism far too long and now am thankful for me. I so enjoyed your post.