Better Living

The Body Is Your Doorway Into Now

Your body offers you an incredible vehicle to this present moment
BY Nancy Colier TIMEMay 1, 2022 PRINT

It’s May, and that means spring is bursting forth: Flowers are blooming, days are growing longer, and our skin is welcoming the sunlight. For many of us, spring is when we feel lighter, brighter, and more hopeful. It’s a remarkable season to be alive, and birth, rebirth, growth, warmth, and beauty abound. Now is when nature awakens, and we—as part of nature—can also awaken to what’s here and what’s possible.

As spring blossoms, we tuck away our coats, shake off our homebound hibernation, and remember that we have a body made to move. Sometimes we don’t exactly appreciate the body that’s revealed as hoodies give way to T-shirts, but here it is, keeping us alive regardless of the season.

The often underappreciated human body is an amazing gift; it performs nearly infinite complex functions and it breathes, digests, cleanses, balances, grows, and heals you. Just as our part of the Earth knows that it’s time to grow into spring, the body also possesses an inherent wisdom regarding what you need at every moment. This inborn intelligence takes care of you without your input, effort, or opinion. It is the vessel that makes life possible, and it carries you for a lifetime.

As spring grows underfoot and all around, there’s a miracle to celebrate—one that’s usually overlooked: Your body is always and forever offering you, whether you recognize it or not, a doorway into the present moment.

Your body offers a direct flight to Now—no stops or layovers required. And your body offers this journey to being fully present without asking for anything from you other than your willingness to get on board.

Your body exists in the present moment. Unlike the mind, it cannot be elsewhere, distracted by a thousand thoughts, living in the past or future—not if you’re going to survive. Your body contains an extraordinary intelligence that knows if it needs to pump your heart now, extract the nutrients from this meal now, filter out toxins now, generate the needed bone marrow now, attack those invading bacteria now, and an endless list of other right-now concerns. In fact, your body can only exist in the present moment.

This quality can be immensely valuable when your mind seems intent on being anywhere but where you are right now. At any moment, you can unhook from the thoughts in your mind and turn your attention to the sensations in your body. You can tune in to your senses, the practice of which can be as simple as feeling the presence of your own hands, relaxing your jaw, softening your belly, or taking one deep breath through your nose.

And for this small effort, this conscious choice, your body rewards you mightily by immediately bringing you into the present moment, where it is living. And in so doing, it ushers you into your life.

This spring, as you peel off the layers of clothing and uncover the body that’s been hiding underneath, no matter what it looks like or what you currently think about its shape or size, remember to respect its wisdom and, indeed, its brilliance. Honor its ability to sustain your physical life on its own without asking for your help, and its generosity in giving you this vehicle through which to experience life.

When you make the bold choice to, even for a moment, turn away from distracting thoughts and bring your attention to your senses, your body immediately rewards you by delivering you to where your life is actually happening. Remember that your body is both the path and the destination to where the action really is.

When you peer down at your body or at its reflection in the mirror—a body that perhaps has spent a little too much time on the couch these last months, a body that you may judge harshly—don’t forget that this same body offers you the most profound gift imaginable: an unconditional invitation and opportunity to be present in your own life. The body keeps itself alive so that you can stay alive, and then it beckons you to join it and pay attention to it so that you can truly live.

Your life is happening right here, right now. If you’re not here, present in this moment, you’re not in your life. Accept your body’s magnificent offer to bring you into this blooming spring moment.

This article was originally published in Radiant Life Magazine. 

Nancy Colier
Nancy Colier is a psychotherapist, interfaith minister, thought leader, public speaker, and the author of "Can't Stop Thinking: How to Let Go of Anxiety and Free Yourself from Obsessive Rumination,” “The Power of Off,” and the upcoming “The Emotionally Exhausted Woman: Why You’re Depleted and How to Get What You Need” (November, 2022.)
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