We take our bodies so much for granted and how easy they make it to do the tasks we do each day. It’s sometimes only when something goes wrong, when something stops working in our body, that we realise what we have lost.
I remember when my body fell apart. It was January 2006 and I had recently returned home from the adventure of my lifetime – my #2 on my bucket list – trekking to Everest Base Camp. Back then I was working in corporate finance and I'd returned at the end of October, right into the stress of year end financials. On many more than one occasion I was leaving the office at 3am and returning for 8am. I was pushing my body and mind to the limit and it bit back.
Not long after New Year I started to feel really ill and was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which I prefer to refer to as 'sensitive intestines'. Throughout the years it has been a challenging dis-ease to live with as it has on many an occasion, and still continues to inhibit my ability to fully enjoy and embrace the great outdoors, the place I have always felt most happy, relaxed, content, and at peace in.
When I was first diagnosed and noticed the impact it was having in my life, I cursed my body, I cursed the illness. Why was this happening? Why me?
It took me quite a few years to change my mindset, to open my eyes and actually see, appreciate and learn that the imbalance my body was experiencing was actually a blessing, not a curse.
My dis-ease has taught me so much over the years. For example, it has taught me how to better connect with my body, to understand immediately if I’ve eaten something that isn’t supportive to my body, and it’s told me when it’s feeling stressed even when I haven’t realised it was. My body has taught me so much it’s hard not to appreciate its wisdom and, therefore, it’s hard not to be grateful for the dis-ease I find myself living with.
We don’t always have to fall ill or contract a disease to begin to appreciate our body. Indeed, learn from my experience, don't wait until you do. If you start today to appreciate your body, to re-connect with it, to better tune in to it, and you’re currently healthy, then you’ll faster tune into it when something isn’t quite right and you may be able to turn something around before it becomes permanent.
All too often in life we take things for granted, like our health and body, until something goes wrong. One of the many benefits of establishing a gratitude practice is that you express gratitude for both the small and large miracles and blessings in your life. So, no longer, do you take the things for granted that you previously would have.
It also means that when you establish an attitude to gratitude before something does go wrong, for example like me you fall ill, your mindset won't fall into the victimstate that I experienced for so many years. Whilst it's natural to dip when things go wrong, when you live a grateful life, you'll quickly reframe what may have, at first, seemed like a curse and see it for what it truly is - a blessing.