Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

Author: Rebekah Mardis, RD, CD

Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date.

Life is precious and fragile. Through the senses of your body, you have a unique experience of life. As a child you lived in the moment, you honored your body by doing what comes naturally. You ate when hungry, scratched when you had an itch, and yelled and laughed when you felt like it. As you aged you may have become more “civilized” by doing what is expected and by not making waves.

You may live without ever knowing what it is like to be alive. You may be constantly analyzing, reviewing, and planning — not paying attention to what is going on in your body at a given moment in time — as my mother says, “One foot in the future and the other foot in the past, while pissing on the present.”

Your senses provide you a tool to cue into the moment. As an example: You may be experiencing anger, have a twitch in your left eye lid, smell bread baking, hear a bird chirping, feel your lungs filling your body with life giving oxygen, taste the remnants of an onion eaten earlier, and see someone you love intensely, all in one second of your life.

If you are used to living without sensing being alive, you may only cue into anger and shut out the rest of the sensations. But if you were to die right after that experience what would have really mattered? I doubt it would be the anger.

When you begin to sense your body, life becomes very sensual. And what is important becomes clear — and that is being alive. Having a near death experience, a life threatening illness, and even recovering from an eating disorder can help bring perspective to life. Quoting the movie, Fight Club: “You are not your job, you are not the clothes you wear, you are not the money in your pocket.” If you are not all of these things, then who are you?

Focus on what it feels like to have a body, your senses, your movement, tastes, smells, etc., and who you are is apparent — you are alive. Listen to what your body is telling you: if you are tired, take a nap — and enjoy it; if you are hungry eat what you crave and savor every bite; if you are sad then cry and feel the joy of having the ability to do so.

If you are full on life, you do not need food or substances to fill the void, you don’t even need others to complete you, and you are someone even if you are not care-taking others. You are complete just being you. You are alive and that is wonderful.

With the recent world events it is clear that life is precious and uncertain. If this is your last second, your last hug, your last meal, your last dance, it should be sensual and wonderful. It should be savored. Give yourself the permission to be alive by listening to your body.