Judith Campbell
Published on: April 2012
I have to confess to a strange habit - I talk to my body. For example, when I'm going out for a run, I'll say something like, "OK, everybody, we're going out to run 5 miles. Legs - you'd better get ready; heart - prepare to start pumping!" After the run, I heartily congratulate all the parts that suffered most, especially the feet, and thank them for their cooperation. I like running at night and once when I arrived back at my building, I slapped my thigh and said, "Well done everybody!" At that moment, a neighbour out walking his dog appeared from the shadows. He looked to see who I was talking to and I actually turned and gave a wave, as though saying goodbye to a group of friends. What was I going to say to the neighbour - "Oh, don't worry, I was only talking to my legs?" Talking to your body can be embarrassing.
body meant,habbit
One of my favourite things is to personalise my body and imagine all the various parts chatting among themselves. The left leg might complain to the right, "Have you heard? Bad news - we're going skiing tomorrow. That's a killer. I hope at least she gives us an early night". After skiing, the legs will be very grumpy and say to the arms, "We're absolutely exhausted - it's all right for you, you didn't have to do anything!!" The arms will answer, "Yeah, but tomorrow's Sunday, which means we're going to have to lift weights. Now that's painful". I imagine my teeth chattering with nerves when I tell them they're going to the dentist and I had my entire body prepped prior to a foot operation - each part knew exactly what to expect.

This ongoing conversation with my body and its various parts started off as a joke, but then I thought - why shouldn't we treat our bodies as though they're our best friend? Our body is our closest companion. Through it, we experience the world. Our mouths taste the food that nourishes us. Our eyes show us rainbows and the faces of the people we love. Thanks to our ears, we can hear music and birdsong. The skin of a lover trembles under the caress of our fingers. If we didn't have noses, the scent of jasmine and babies would be lost to us.

In a lifetime, our feet and legs can carry us 115,000 miles - that's like walking four times around the world - while our stomachs digest around 132 metric tons of food.

Our hearts pump about 1,900 gallons of blood every day - that's 720 laps of the body. Our hands hold things for us; they do up our shirt buttons, wash our hair, open bottles and books for us. Our arms open wide for our children to run into. Our skin protects us - it's waterproof after all! And as for the brain, well, it goes beyond words.

Forget the iPhone, the human body is the world's most exceptional creation.
It has taken me a while, but at last I appreciate my body. I used to dwell constantly on its imperfections and I have done my fair share of abusing it over the years. My body used to tell me - sometimes scream at me - that it didn't like smoking, needed more sleep, wanted better and healthier food, needed to slow down. I was young and didn't listen, yet it has never let me down. It's the most loyal of friends, one that sticks by me through thick and thin, one that is always eager to help: What can I do for you today? Where can I take you? What can I carry for you? It asks for nothing in return, but now I give it the respect it deserves.

Recently, I had to go for a scan - an ultra-sound. The doctor flicked a switch and suddenly, I heard the sound of my own body. I had never "heard" my body before. It sounded whooshy and echoey, a bit like being underwater. I found it unexpectedly moving.

Now, please excuse me. I have to inform my legs that tomorrow they're going running before breakfast. They're not going to like it.
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